March 24, 2018

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Pacific Rim: Uprising” Beats “Black Panther,” Other Openings DOA


PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (Legendary/Universal) was the right film at the right time this weekend, and although the preliminary numbers at Deadline have its opening day at $10.1M ($2.4M of it from Thursday night), just slightly ahead of the $9M for last Friday’s Tomb Raider, that should be enough to bring it to $26M for the weekend and ahead of the finally-aging Black Panther.  There’s not much else for Uprising to feel good about:  that $10.1M opening day was down 30% from the first Pacific Rim‘s start, suggesting its total US take will be around $70M, very low for a spectacle with $250M+ in production/marketing costs.  But Uprising is aimed squarely at overseas audiences, which provided 75% of Pacific Rim‘s total box office, and especially at Asia, so we’ll see on Sunday how well that bet is paying off.

BLACK PANTHER (Marvel/Disney) is indeed finally handing off its crown, but it’s far from done, down 41% from last Friday to $4.4M and heading for a $16M weekend that will push it ahead of The Avengers as the most successful Marvel movie (and for that matter, superhero movie of any brand) in the US, and still aiming to pass Titanic as the #3 movie in US box office history.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE (Roadside) declined 40% from last Friday to $3.7M, but that dip is worse than it looks, because the Christian biography also increased its theatre count by 38%, so the per-theatre average plunged 57%.  Nevertheless, the higher count should give the film a $12M weekend, on track for a healthy $60M that would put it in line with other hits in that genre like Miracles From Heaven, God’s Not Dead and The Shack.

TOMB RAIDER (MGM/Warners) slumped by 58% on its 2nd Friday to $2.8M, for a $10M weekend and a US total that won’t get much past $60M, making it another action movie that will live or die overseas.

SHERLOCK GNOMES (MGM/Paramount) had a dim start with $2.7M, less than half the $5.7M opening day for Peter Rabbit.  It might manage $11M for the weekend, and even if it can get to $50M in the US, that won’t do it much good against $125M in costs.

A WRINKLE IN TIME (Disney) continued to fade, down 55% from last Friday to $2.1M, for a $7M weekend and a US total that may not reach $90M against $200M+ in costs.

LOVE, SIMON (Temple Hill/20th) didn’t have the word of mouth hold it might have liked, down 50% from last Friday to $2.3M, on its way to an $8M weekend.  A $40M US total wouldn’t be more than OK, even with moderate production costs.

The weekend’s other wide openings are varying shades of disastrous, although all kept their production/marketing costs below $45M.  PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST (Affirm/Sony) had its Christian lunch eaten by I Can Only Imagine with a $1.5M opening day that might get it to $5M for the weekend.  MIDNIGHT SUN (Global Road) earned $1.5M on Friday for a $4M weekend.  Steven Soderbergh’s UNSANE (Fingerprint/Bleecker Street) had a $1.3M Friday and also might manage $4M for the weekend.

Wes Anderson’s ISLE OF DOGS (Fox Searchlight) began its limited release at 27 theatres in 6 cities, and could average $50K per theatre for the weekend after starting with $15K on Friday.  Anderson’s last movie to open in more than 5 theatres was his first, 1996’s Bottle Rocket, so comparisons are inexact, but this kind of opening would compare well with the $66K opening weekend average for his previous animated film The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which had that average at only 4 theatres.  (His live-action Moonrise Kingdom averaged $55K when it reached 16 theatres, and ended up at $45.5M 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."