January 30, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Kung Fu Panda 3″” Easily Tops “Finest Hours,” “50 Shades of Black”


As will be noted endlessly by the studio and its mouthpieces all weekend, KUNG FU PANDA 3 (DreamWorks Animation/20th) is the first in the series to open in January, after June and May openings for the previous chapters.  Nevertheless, DWA and 20th didn’t choose that day with the idea of earning less, and the opening day result being reported by Deadline as $11.3M is a big step down from the first Panda‘s $20.3M, and even from Panda 2‘s $13.1M initial Friday, which was actually its 2d day of release after $5.8M on Thursday.  A weekend in the high $30Ms would be around 20% below Panda 2‘s opening, suggesting a $135M US total.  Luckily for the studio, the franchise is far more successful overseas than it is in the US (Panda 2 earned 3/4 of its total internationally), and the surge in China box office should be especially helpful here, very possibly shifting the franchise to an 80/20 split of overseas vs. domestic.

All holdovers may look good this weekend because of last week’s blizzard, and they’re led once again by THE REVENANT (Regency/RatPac/20th), down only about 25% from last Friday and heading for a $11.5M weekend, still on track for $150M+ in the US.

After In the Heart of the Sea and now THE FINEST HOURS (Disney), don’t expect many more big-budget seafaring stories from Hollywood.  Hours is a full-fledged bomb, with $3.5M on Friday and a weekend that will hope to get past $10M, against production/marketing costs that will top $150M.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney) will assuage Mouse House sadness over Finest Hours, down just 20% from last Friday to $2.7M, and on its way to a $10M+ weekend that brings it ever closer to $900M.  That goal should arrive sometime next week.

RIDE ALONG 2 (Universal) stabilized after last week’s free-fall, down about one-third to $2.3M, with a $8M weekend ahead.  It’s still on track for $85M in the US.

THE BOY (Huangyi/STX), THE 5TH WAVE (LStar/Columbia/Sony) and DIRTY GRANDPA (QED/Lionsgate) are all having roughly $2M Fridays, in line for $6.5M weekends and $35M US totals.  As we noted last week, The Boy as the cheapest of the three fares best with these numbers.

50 SHADES OF BLACK (Open Road) was bound and gagged to the tune of $2.2M on Friday and a dismal $6M weekend.  It was cheap to produce, but at those numbers (the worst by far of any Marlon Wayans parody movie), it won’t even earn back its marketing costs.

The beleaguered JANE GOT A GUN (Weinstein) was barely visible.  Even with a reduced 1210-theatre count, it may not get past $750K for the weekend, a horrible result.

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."