April 22, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Fate” Slows But Outraces “Unforgettable,” “The Promise,” and the Rest


Considering the almost laughably low level of the competition it faced, THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (Universal) didn’t hold up well on its 2d Friday.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline have the day at $11.4M, down 75% from last week’s opening day.  That’s worse than the 72% Friday-to-Friday drop for Furious 7 (which was coming off a much bigger number), and not that far away from the infamous 82% drop for Batman vs. SupermanFate is heading for a 63% weekend fall to $37M, barely above the $35.2M 2d weekend for Fast & Furious 6, and with a $162M 10-day total lower than that one’s $171M (which had the benefit of 4-day Memorial Day opening weekend).  Fate may not get past $225M in the US, far below Furious 7‘s $353M, and even below Fast & Furious 6‘s $238.7M.  Of course, as we saw last week, the Furious saga is now a more successful version of Warcraft, with over 80% of its global total earned outside the US (much of it in China), so even if it drops as sharply overseas as it did here, it’s still likely to end up over $1B worldwide.  This does, however, make one wonder how the studio’s plan to next produce a Vin Diesel-less spinoff installment will fare, especially if that carries the huge $400M production/marketing pricetag of Fate.

The weekend’s openings ranged from dismal to horrific.  Once each year or two, Disney pretends that it isn’t in singleminded pursuit of massive franchise dollars by releasing a “Disneynature” documentary for Earth Day, and this year’s is BORN IN CHINA (Disney).  It had a fairly standard start at $1.65M (2015’s Monkey Kingdom began with $1.55M), and should earn $4.8M for the weekend, finishing with around $18M.  No doubt here, too, the studio hopes for a disproportionate response in China.

The producers of THE PROMISE (Open Road) reportedly pledged that any profits would go to charity, something they’re unlikely to have to worry about.  The large-scale narrative about the Turkish massacre of Armenians during World War I cost something like $90M in production costs alone, and is suffering an opening day of $1.7M, on its way to a $4.5M weekend that won’t put a dent in its losses.

UNFORGETTABLE (Warners) is an unusual low-budget B-movie release by the mothership studio rather than its New Line division, very possibly related to the fact that director Denise Di Novi is a longtime studio producer whose Warners’ films date back to Tim Burton’s Batman Returns in 1992.  Despite a $12M production cost and relatively low-level marketing, it’s going nowhere with a $1.6M opening day and $4.5M weekend.

The “found footage” horror cheapie PHOENIX FORGOTTEN (Cinelou) had tiny production and marketing costs, but will still be a loser with $550K on Friday and a $1.5M weekend.

FREE FIRE (A24) seemed like it might be indie filmmaker Ben Wheatley’s chance to taste some commercial success, with its action-genre riff and a cast including Brie Larson and Armie Hammer, not to mention Wheatley’s usual set of mixed but often enthusiastic reviews.  But it was not to be, as Fire had a terrible $280K opening day and won’t reach $1M for the weekend.

GIFTED (Fox Searchlight) expanded to wide release at 1986 theatres but continued its blah performance with $1.3M on Friday for a $4M weekend, as it hopes to make its way to $20M.

THE LOST CITY OF Z (Bleecker Street/Amazon) shot from 4 theatres to 614, but didn’t show much promise with a $600K Friday and a likely $2M weekend.

All this mediocrity and worse were good for the holdovers.  2d place for the weekend will go to THE BOSS BABY (DreamWorks Animation/20th), which had a sharp 53% Friday-to-Friday drop to $3.1M because of Good Friday last week, but should stabilize to a $11M weekend, on track for a $160M US total.  BEAUTY & THE BEAST (Disney) similarly fell 47% from last Friday to $2.7M, and should have a $9M weekend as it continues toward $490M in the US.  SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (Columbia/Sony) lost 57% from last Friday to $1.1M for a $4M weekend and $40M US total.  GOING IN STYLE (Village Roadshow/RatPac/New Line/Warners) fell a slimmer 36% from last Friday to $1.4M, for a $4.5M weekend and $40M in the US.


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."