February 18, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “The Great Wall,” “Fist Fight,” “Cure For Wellness” Fall to “LEGO Batman”


A weak slate of newcomers is almost always good news for the holdovers in the market, and that will be the case this holiday weekend.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (Warners Animation) declined a mild 45% from last week’s opening day to $8M, and should take in at least $32M over the 3-day weekend, plus another $8M on Monday, giving it an easy victory and around $105M by Monday.  (The LEGO Movie had an even better Friday-to-Friday drop of just 25%, but that was in part because its 2d Friday fell on Valentine’s Day.)

FIFTY SHADES DARKER (Universal) was never going to fall as steeply in its 2d weekend as Fifty Shades of Grey did for the obvious reason that Grey‘s opening weekend included Valentine’s Day, a particular bonanza for that film.  Darker‘s Friday-to-Friday drop, however, was very similar to Grey‘s, 69% (to $6.6M) compared to 73% (to $8M).  The Saturday-to-Saturday hold will be much better than Grey‘s 76% plunge, and that should give Darker a $20M 3-day weekend, plus $4M on Monday for about $93M by the end of the holiday, roughly 30% below Grey.

That left 3rd place for THE GREAT WALL (Legendary/Universal), which as expected is looking dim in its US debut with a $5.8M opening day (including $970K from Thursday night).  It probably won’t hit $20M over the 4-day weekend, and will struggle to reach $50M in the US.  Great Wall was manufactured to be China’s first worldwide hit, but it’s not working out even in China itself, where its $171M total was merely good, not great, compared for example to Warcraft‘s $220.8M.  (It did benefit from being allowed to retain a reported 40% of local box office revenue, compared to the usual 25% for a Hollywood production.)   With $250M+ in production and worldwide marketing costs and only $54M from other international markets (it opens in 21 more this weekend), Great Wall is likely to be a significant loser.

FIST FIGHT (New Line/Warners) wasn’t nearly as expensive, but with marketing, its costs will still reach $100M if it has a worldwide release.  Opening day was $3.9M, and it might get to $11M by Sunday and $13M by Monday.  Considering that its international appeal is likely to be limited, that puts it on a steep climb to any hope of profit.

There’s zero hope for A CURE FOR WELLNESS (Regency/20th), a lengthy gothic horror spectacle whose fate was probably sealed by last fall’s failure of the somewhat similar Crimson PeakWellness got mostly terrible reviews (38% on Rotten Tomatoes) and has no stars, and it’s making Peak look like a blockbuster with a $1.6M Friday.  It may only match Peak‘s $5.3M opening day over the full 4-day weekend, and its $125M+ in costs are going down an expensive drain.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) is proving itself a smart franchise investment with $4.1M on its 2d Friday, down 63% from last Friday.  That’s better than the original John Wick both in number ($1.8M on the parallel day) and hold (down 67% from its opening), and Chapter 2 should earn $15M by Sunday as as much as $18M by Monday, putting it at $60M, more than double where John Wick was after 11 days.

SPLIT (Blumhouse/Universal) and A DOG’S PURPOSE (Walden/Amblin/Reliance/Universal) both continue to hold well, down respectively 32% (to $1.8M) and 24% (to $1.3M) on a Friday-to-Friday basis.  Split should have a $8M holiday weekend, and still has a chance of reaching $150M in the US, while Dog’s Purpose should earn $7M by Monday, gunning for $65M.

The Best Picture nominees are in their pre-Oscar push this weekend, and they’re still led by HIDDEN FIGURES (20th), down a tiny 17% from last Friday to $1.8M, and aiming at $150M by Oscar night.  LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) dropped 17% Friday-to-Friday to $1.1M, and should be close to $140M by the big night.  Late-running LION (Weinstein) dipped a mere 9% to just under $1M, and should be over $40M by the awards ceremony.


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."