March 12, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Zootopia” Tops “10 Cloverfield Lane,” Crushes “Brothers Grimsby,” “Young Messiah,” “Perfect Match’


Word of mouth was great for ZOOTOPIA (Disney), which according to preliminary numbers at Deadline fell a soft 36% from last week’s opening day to $12.5M, setting up a $50M weekend that will put the smash over $140M by Sunday.  That compares to a 45% drop for the 2d Friday of The Lorax, the previous animated March champion–in fact, it’s the lowest 2d Friday drop for any of March’s Top 10 openings, a list that includes The Hunger Games, Alice In Wonderland, Oz The Great and Powerful, and CinderellaZootopia has the family market to itself for another full month, until Disney’s own The Jungle Book opens in mid-April, and it could climb all the way to $300M in the US before it’s done, which would make it the top animated film ever not to open in summer or for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.

The stealth campaign for 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Bad Robot/Paramount) may have caught up with it a bit.  Although a $9M opening day and likely $23M weekend is fine for a film that cost only about $15M to produce, it doesn’t seem to have fully capitalized on its rave reviews (91% on Rotten Tomatoes).  Audiences didn’t know that it existed until just a few weeks ago, and there’s been a certain amount of confusion about just how it qualifies as a relative of Cloverfield (which opened to $17.2M on its first day and a $40.1M weekend).  Consumer uncertainty isn’t a good thing, although the audiences that did see Lane should be pleased with its expert B-movie thrills, which may keep it buoyant in future weekends.

10 Cloverfield Lane may have slightly disappointed, but it was The Force Awakens compared to the weekend’s other openings.  THE PERFECT MATCH (Lionsgate) had a very mild $1.35M Friday and may struggle to reach $4M for the weekend.  The African-American rom-com had the excuse, at least, of lacking any big names in the cast.  THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY (Columbia/Sony) pretty much marked the end of the Sacha Baron Cohen phenomenon, with a dreadful $1.2M Friday and a weekend that could end up barely topping $3M.  Cohen’s downward trajectory as a star has been swift:  he exploded from cult status with Borat‘s $128.5M US total, and studios fought over who would hand over tens of millions and complete creative control.  That led to Bruno‘s $60.1M and The Dictator‘s $59.7M.  Grimsby was–take your pick–horribly marketed or simply unmarketable, with the main feature of Sony’s campaign being a promo that could only promise footage too shocking for a Jimmy Kimmel Live audience.  That didn’t bring in audiences, and neither did Cohen’s presence.

THE YOUNG MESSIAH (Focus/Universal) was savaged by critics even more than the Christian genre often is, and is appealing only to true believers with a $1.3M Friday and a weekend around $4M.  It will hope for some Easter business next week, but is likely to be tossed aside by the much higher-profile Miracles From Heaven, which arrives in just 5 days and is aimed at the same audience.

LONDON HAS FALLEN (Millenium/Gramercy/Focus/Universal) collapsed with a 60% Friday-to-Friday drop to $3M, and is headed for a $10M weekend and a US total around $60M, which would put it down around 40% from Olympus Has FallenWHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (Paramount) had a smoother ride, down 45% from last Friday, but it started so low that the result was just $1.3M for the day and a likely $4.5M weekend, in line for a very minor $25M US total.

DEADPOOL (20th) isn’t done yet, down 38% on its 5th Friday to $2,9M and headed for a weekend that could hit $11M.  It’s on track to reach $350M in the US, which would tie it with American Sniper as the #2 R-rated release ever in the US, behind only The Passion Of the Christ‘s $370.3M.

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."