November 26, 2016



There don’t appear to be many surprises in the Friday box office numbers, based on preliminary estimates at Deadline.  As usual, ticket sales declined on Thanksgiving itself (particularly for family movies), then surged on Friday, and the results were largely in line with Wednesday’s form.

MOANA (Disney Animation) wasn’t able to keep up its one-on-one with Frozen, declining 37% on Thursday (Frozen had dipped 27%) and then rising 127% on Friday (compared to 143% for Frozen).  The 3-day total is $48M, and it should be at $82M by Sunday, somewhat lower than Frozen‘s $93.6M haul, but still the #2 5-day Thanksgiving opening ever.  After a 53% Weekend 2 drop, Frozen had a phenomenal run in which it didn’t decline more than 32% again until its 18th week of release, ending up at $400.7M, and Moana probably won’t duplicate that feat, but a $250M US total (the not too shabby territory of Despicable Me and The Lego Movie) should be well within reach.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Warners) dropped 13% on Thursday and then rose 97% on Friday to $18.9M, which is better in percentage terms than Deathly Hallows Part 1, the last November Harry Potter opening, which fell 20% on Thanksgiving and climbed 82% the next day.  It should have a $157M US total by Sunday, on its way to around $230M.

The 4th weekend of DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) dropped 16% on Thursday and rose 118% on Friday to $5.4M, and with a running total of $205M by Sunday, it should also be on track for $230M in the US.

ALLIED (GK/Huahua/Paramount) continued to be unexciting, given its $175M or so in production/marketing costs.  After a 14% Thanksgiving dip, it gained 109% on Friday to $4.8M, which suggests a $12M weekend and $17M 5-day total, not nearly enough to provide a clear path to profit.

ARRIVAL (FilmNation/Paramount) actually managed a 5% increase on Thanksgiving, and then rose again by 105% on Friday to $4.5M, which should put it near $65M by Sunday after a $12M weekend, and since it cost considerably less than Allied and will make considerably more, it should end up on the right side of breakeven.

TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) toppled by 54% on Thanksgiving but had a big 244% Friday bump to $4.3M, and despite having to share the family audience with Moana, it’s still on track for $150M+ in the US.

The holiday’s other wide openings were various shades of ugly.  BAD SANTA 2 (Broad Green) at least kept its costs down, but after a 16% Thanksgiving drop, it had the smallest Friday bump at 62% to $2.1M, and with $8M by Sunday, there won’t be a Bad Santa 3.

The true Thanksgiving turkey, though, was Warren Beatty’s RULES DON’T APPLY (Regency/20th), which is only going to be at $2M or so by Sunday despite a 122% Friday bump.  Considering Beatty’s age and the often lengthy gaps between his film projects, this could be a sad note on which to end his illustrious career.

Both of the weekend’s limited releases had modest results.  LION (Weinstein) is headed for a $34K per-theatre average in 4 NY/LA arthouses, and MISS SLOANE (Europa) may average $27K at 3.


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."