April 15, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Fate of the Furious” Loses Speed But Zooms Past Competition


How big is big enough?  It’s a question that comes up on giant franchise installments, and the latest is THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (Universal), the 8th in its series.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, its opening day earned $45.5M (including $10.4M from Thursday night), a huge number, but down 33% from Furious 7‘s $67.4M.  It should hit $100M for the weekend in Sunday’s studio estimates (whether or not that figure will stand up on Monday), compared to $147.2M for Furious 7.  The result is much closer to the $38.7M/$97.4M for Fast & Furious 6.  The party line is that no one expected Fate to be at Furious 7‘s level because the 2015 entry had the sentimental attraction of dealing with Paul Walker’s death, but this is still a big drop for the franchise, and if the 9th title continues down at the same rate, it would certainly cause some concern.  Of course, these calculations only go to the rate of Universal’s profit, not any question of whether there will be one, because the Furious franchise is massively successful overseas (Furious 7 earned 77% of its total abroad, translating to $1.16B of its $1.52B worldwide gross), and even if Fate tops off at $1B worldwide with $400M in production/marketing costs, there will be hundreds of millions for the studio and profit participants.

No one seriously tried to compete with Fate of the Furious this weekend.  GIFTED (Fox Searchlight) expanded to mid-wide release at 1146 theatres and had a $1M Friday, putting it on track for a $3M weekend that would be blah even without the competition.

Holdovers were led by a trio of family movies, which weren’t badly affected by the more adult behemoth at the multiplex, probably in part because of Good Friday audiences, but which may have subpar numbers on Easter Sunday.  On its 3rd Friday, THE BOSS BABY (DreamWorks Animation/20th) dipped just 5% to $6.6M, and should reach $17M for the weekend, still on track for $150M in the US, about 15% below 2015’s HomeBEAUTY & THE BEAST (Disney) fell 22% on its 5th Friday to $5.3M, for a $14M weekend that will put it above $450M in the US (it’s already over $1B worldwide). SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (Columbia/Sony) dropped 29% to $2.9M on Friday, heading to a $7M weekend that will still leave it grasping to get above $40M in the US.

GOING IN STYLE (Village Roadshow/RatPac/New Line/Warners) sank by 49% from last Friday to $2.1M, a bad result for a title aimed at older audiences, and might reach $7M for the weekend, heading for the rest home with an ultimate $40M in the US.

THE CASE FOR CHRIST (Pure Flix) didn’t have a very strong Good Friday, down 35% week-to-week to $1M.  By way of comparison, last year’s Christian movies featured a 20% Good Friday drop for Miracles From Heaven, and a 7% increase for Risen compared to their previous Fridays.  Case might earn $3M for the weekend and a $15M US total.

GHOST IN THE SHELL (DreamWorks/Reliance/Shanghai/Huahua/Paramount) continued its plunge, down 65% on its 3rd Friday to $800K, for a weekend that won’t be much over $2M and a US total in the neighborhood of $40M.  Its $96.9M overseas total thus far won’t get it out of red ink.

COLOSSAL (Neon) expanded badly to 100 theatres, on its way to a $4K weekend per-theatre average.  THEIR FINEST (STX) widened to 52 and may average $6K for theh weekend.  THE LOST CITY OF Z (Bleecker Street/Amazon) had a mildly promising start at 4 NY/LA theatres and may average $20K.  Despite rave reviews, NORMAN (Sony Classics) was more subdued, and may average $13K for the weekend at 5.


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."