August 8, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Fantastic 4″” Super-Flops, “The Gift” and “Ricki & The Flash” OK


Word of mouth on FANTASTIC FOUR (20th) is going to be deadly (the exit polls are dismal, and since they survey ticketbuyers enthusiastic enough to show up on the first day of release, lesser fans are likely to consider it even worse), probably sealing its fate as one of the biggest flops of the summer.  Opening day, per preliminary numbers at Deadline, was $11M (including $2.7M from Thursday night), and it may not get past $27M for the weekend.  That would make it one of the lowest-opening superhero movies ever–especially for a premium franchise–with less than half the start of the 2005/2007 Fantastic installments (at $56.1M and $58.1M).  The new Fantastic is unlikely even to hold onto first place for the weekend, if Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation maintains its early signs of a healthy second stanza.  Fantastic looks like it will struggle to reach $75M as a US total, and with roughly $275M in total costs (including worldwide marketing), even a better reception overseas won’t save it.  Director Josh Trank polished off his catastrophic first big-budget studio experience with an opening night tweet disavowing the final cut of the film (later deleted), and he’s going to be in movie jail for a long time after this.

THE GIFT (STX) should get to a decent $10M for the weekend after a $4M Friday (including $600K from Thursday night).  The question will be whether its older-skewing cast and generally solid reviews will give it longer legs in theatres than thrillers usually have.  In any case, newcomer studio STX (partly backed by Chinese financiers) didn’t spend much to produce or market the film, so the stakes are fairly low.

RICKI AND THE FLASH (TriStar/Sony) is in only about 40% as many theatres as Fantastic Four (1603 compared to 3995), so in that context its $2.3M Friday (including a negligible $200K from Thursday night) isn’t as bad as it looks.  It should have a $6-7M weekend, and will attempt to follow the trajectory of Hope Springs, another Meryl Streep August opening, which had a wider and bigger $14.7M start, and ran that into a 4.5x multiple for its total gross.

SHAUN THE SHEEP (Lionsgate) had a lousy Wednesday opening, earning $1.6M in its first two days of release, and its $1.2M Friday won’t change its prospects, which may get it to $4M for the 3-day weekend.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (Skydance/China Film Channel/Alibaba/Paramount) fell 60% from last Friday to $8.5M, but that should stabilize over the course of the weekend to a solid 50% drop, giving it $28M and a running $107M US total.  That would be a bit worse than the 48% Weekend 2 drop for MI3, the only other chapter in the series to have a conventional Friday opening (but in May rather than late July).  It looks to be on track for $160M in the US, which would put it behind 3 of the other 4 Missions, although the shortfall may well be made up overseas.

The other holdovers were well behind.  MINIONS (Illumination/Universal), ANT-MAN (Marvel/Disney) and VACATION (New Line/Warners) all had $2.5M Fridays and should have $8M weekends, which will put Minions over the $300M mark in the US, Ant-Man near $150M, and Vacation around $35M.  TRAINWRECK (Universal) continues to be on the road to a $100M US total after a $1.8M Friday that should give it a $6M weekend.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."