January 27, 2018

SHOWBUZZDAILY Early Friday Box Office – 1.26.2018: “Maze Runner” Lopes To Win, “Jumanji” Stays Strong, Oscar Nominees Widen


THE MAZE RUNNER:  DEATH CURE (20th) will win the weekend, although not in particularly impressive fashion.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, its opening day was $8.4M (including $1.5M from Thursday night), down from the $11.3M start for the first Maze Runner, and the $11M for Scorch Trials.  It should have $23.5M by Sunday, on its way to $65M in the US, which would leave it with a fair climb to profitability on roughly $150M in production/marketing costs.

HOSTILES (Entertainment Services) was hoping to capitalize on some Oscar nominations when it scheduled a move into wide release this weekend, but that wasn’t to be.  It still managed an OK $3.6M on Friday, which might bring it to $11M by Sunday, if its older-skewing audience shows up.  After that, it will have to hope that crowd, which doesn’t necessarily flock to theatres on opening weekend, will generate strong word of mouth that can push it past breakeven on a reported $50M production budget, although Entertainment Services should be fine if reports are true that it’s on the hook for only a $4M acquisition cost and US marketing.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Columbia/Sony) didn’t get any nominations and didn’t care:  the blockbuster dropped just 25% on its 6th Friday to $3.6M, for a likely $14M weekend, as it heads to $360M in the US, which would put it in the Top 40 US grossers of all time.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (20th) took only one minor nomination (Best Song), but also had no need for more, as the word-of-mouth champion slipped a remarkable 14% from last Friday to $2.6M, for a $9M weekend, as it incredibly heads to $150M in the US.  It’s still not going to be enormously profitable on $225M+ in total costs, but the fact that there’s any profit at all seemed unlikely just a few weeks ago.

Last weekend’s openings didn’t hold particularly well.  12 STRONG (Warners) fell 58% from last Friday to $2.4M, for an $8M weekend and a US total of perhaps $45M, heading for breakeven at best if it has overseas appeal.  DEN OF THIEVES (STX) dropped 60% from last Friday to $2.2M for a $7.5M weekend and an eventual $40M or so in the US.  FOREVER MY GIRL (Roadside) expanded by 30% and still fell 30% from last Friday to $1M for a $3-3.5M weekend and perhaps $15M in the US.

In its 3rd weekend, PADDINGTON 2 (Studiocanal/Warners) was more solid with a 32% Friday-to-Friday drop, but that still put the day at just $1.2M, and with a $5M weekend, it’s on track for perhaps $45M in the US, down 40% from the first Paddington.

The rest of the market belonged to major Oscar nominees.  THE POST (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/20th) had a soft 29% drop from last Friday to $2.5M, and should have a $8-9M weekend, on its way to topping $75M in the US, which would push it past Bridge of Spies‘ $72.3M, with a chance of topping War Horse‘s $79.9M.  (Still far from Lincoln‘s $182.2M.)

Many of the other nominees expanded to take advantage of their honors.  THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight), which more than doubled its theatre count to 1854, earned $1.5M on Friday for a $5M weekend, and could find its way to $50M in the US by the Oscars.  3 BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (Fox Searchlight) widened its footprint by 53% and had a $1M Friday for a weekend that might reach $4M, as it heads to $45M in the US.  PHANTOM THREAD (Focus/Universal) expanded by 14% for a $900K Friday and $3.5M weekend, still no box office bonanza, but likely to be Paul Thomas Anderson’s most successful film since There Will Be Blood‘s $40.2M.  I, TONYA (Neon), at 20% more theatres, had an $800K Friday for a $3M weekend, on its way to $25M+ in the US.  LADY BIRD (A24) widened by almost 75% for a $500K Friday and $2M weekend, and should get above $45M during the nomination period.

A pair of Best Picture nominees more or less stayed put.  DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) shed 8 theatres and earned $750K on Friday for a $3M weekend, and its on track to get past $50M in the US.  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics) kept its theatre count for a $350K Friday and $1.2M weekend, heading for $15M or so 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."