March 26, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Holy Pre-Summer Record, Batman! BvS Vanquishes Multiplexes, Reviews (For Now)


The marketing department did its job, and BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (DC/RatPac/Warners) had its massive opening day, currently estimated by Deadline at $81.3M (including $27.7M from Thursday night).  If that number holds till morning, it will be the #5 opening day ever, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – Part II, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World.  But give or take $10M, the spectacular amount of hype and marketing that was put behind BvS all but guaranteed a start like this.  The trick will come on Saturday and Sunday, when the new blockbuster will have to steer past lousy reviews and tepid audience exit polling and avoid a weekend collapse.

Here are the Day 2 declines that followed the Top 10 opening days:  Force Awakens -43%, Deathly Hallows 2 -53%, Ultron -33%, Jurassic -15%, The Avengers -14%,  Dark Knight Rises -41%, Twilight: New Moon -42%, Breaking Dawn 1 -44%, Breaking Dawn 2 -42%, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire -26%.  (Deadpool was recently down just 10% on its second day.  Man of Steel is an odd case, because on its opening Thursday night it didn’t open to the general public until midnight, but earned $12M through Walmart screenings, which it didn’t include in its Friday number.)  So the Saturday for BvS could be anywhere from $70M to $38M.  Assuming with its reviews and polling that it’s going to be toward the low end of that range, say $45M, its weekend could be $156M (barely beating the $152.5M March record of The Hunger Games, which cost one-third as much to produce), and its US total around $325M, which would fall behind Deadpool and only be $34M ahead of Man of Steel.  So despite its giant opening, BvS isn’t out of the woods yet, although it’s certainly taken the first big step.

In a textbook piece of counterprogramming, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (Gold Circle/Universal) went up against the behemoth and did just fine with $7.7M on Friday.  With its older audience that doesn’t run out on opening day, that could mean a $20M+ weekend.  The original Big Fat was a marvel of legginess that ran in theatres for months and ended up at $241.4M 14 years ago.  That’s unlikely to happen again, but even one-third of that total would be quite successful for a title with a $20M production budget and limited marketing costs.

With help from Good Friday and Spring Break school closings, ZOOTOPIA (Disney) showed no damage from the superhero onslaught, actually slightly up from last Friday to $9.8M, with a $30M+ weekend ahead that will put it near $250M in the US and en route to $300M.

ALLEGIANT (Summit/Lionsgate), though, was dead in the path of BvS, and considering its own quality issues, it was due to be pulverized, which it was, down 67% from last Friday to $3.9M and with a weekend ahead that may not hit $10M, on its way to a $65-70M US total.

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (TriStar/Sony) held much better (although the Friday-to-Friday comparison is slightly misleading, because Miracles opened on Wednesday), down 20% for the day to $3.3M and likely to have a $10M Easter weekend and a $50-60M US total.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Paramount) fell a very reasonable 42% from last Friday to $2.1M, and should have a $6M weekend and $70M US total.

DEADPOOL (20th) withstood the new comic book heroes in town quite well, down just 26% from last Friday to $1.7M and heading for a $5M weekend and a US total that could get above $360M.

HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS (Roadside) was another piece of counterprogramming, expanding to a near-wide 488 theatres for around $500K on Friday  It should have a weekend per-theatre average about $3K, a decent number.  EYE IN THE SKY (Bleecker Street) widened more slowly to 123 theatres, and should have a fair weekend average in the $7500 neighborhood.

I SAW THE LIGHT (Sony Classics) opened in 5 arthouses and may average a slim $9K for the weekend.  MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Warners) stayed at 5 and dropped rather heavily by 58% from last Friday, with a weekend average around $16K.


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."