September 6, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office: “War Room” Conquers “Compton”


Note:  Because of the holiday weekend and consequent strong Sunday, weekend-to-weekend drops will look softer than usual.

OPENINGS:  It was a weak battle of newcomers, with A WALK IN THE WOODS (Broad Green) ahead at $8.4M ($10.5M with Wed-Thurs earnings) vs. THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED (Europa/RED) at $7.1M.  Walk compares well to the $8.5M opening for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (although that was at 25% fewer theatres), which reached $33.1M.  Refueled is the lowest entry in the Transporter franchise (the original started with $9.1M in 2002, and the sequels were higher than that), but Refueled is more of an international play, and it’s stronger in the 27 markets where it’s opened to date with $10M.

HOLDOVERS:  WAR ROOM (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) has held its lead over STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (Legendary/Universal) to take the 3-day weekend with $9.4M vs. $8.9M.  The win is largely on the back of War Room‘s expected strength with post-church audiences on Sunday, although War Room had a narrow lead (less than $100K) on Friday and Saturday too.  War Room, which declined 18% from last weekend, now looks like it could make its way to $50M, well above the $33.5M/34.5M for the Kendrick brothers’ previous Fireproof and Courageous, although below such religious titles as Heaven Is For Real ($91.4M) and God’s Not Dead ($60.8M).  Compton, for its part, fell 33% and should end the weekend at just about $150M in the US.  It also earned $7.9M in just 13 territories overseas, giving it $18.1M to date.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (Skydance/China Film Channel/Alibaba/Paramount) is still holding well, down 12% from last weekend to $7.2M, and now at $180.4M in the US, with a chance to get to $200M.  With its China opening to come on Tuesday, it’s also at $509.1M worldwide.

Last week’s opening NO ESCAPE (Bold/Weinstein) dropped 33% to $5.4M ($18.4M total to date), which made it a champion compared to the abysmal WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS (Alcon/Warners), off a 64% cliff to $640K ($3.2M total).

In one of the more extreme examples of how important foreign releases are to action spectacles, TERMINATOR: GENISYS (Skydance/Paramount) is now at $108M in China, which puts it at $346.3M overseas compared to just $89.6M in the US–a nearly 80/20 split (although perhaps still not enough to push the expensive movie into profit).  JURASSIC WORLD (Legendary/Universal) hit an international milestone, becoming just the 4th movie in history to reach $1B outside the US (the others are Avatar, Titanic and Furious 7).  Not only does that put Jurassic at $1.65B worldwide (#3 behind James Cameron’s pair), but it gives Universal a $6B worldwide total for 2015, the highest in history–and with 4 months still left on the calendar.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The only notable opening in limited release was the animated import UN GALLO CON MUCHOS HUEVOS (Pantelion/Lionsgate), with a solid $3.4M at 395 theatres.  MISTRESS AMERICA (Fox Searchlight) expanded badly to 512 theatres, tripling its count but only increasing its box office by 41% to $595K, a low $1200 per-theatre average.  By comparison, Noah Baumbach’s previous While We’re Young had a $2K average at 713 theatres (and only got to $7.6M).  GRANDMA (Sony Classics) widened more modestly and more successfully, with a $9400 average at 52.  LEARNING TO DRIVE (Broad Green) is also succeeding at a mild level with a $5300 average at 70.  PHOENIX (IFC) had a $1900 average at 185.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The studios are still sluggish as the movie season enters fall, with arrivals of M. Night Shyamalan’s low budget THE VISIT (Universal), THE PERFECT MAN (Screen Gems/Sony) and another faith-related title, 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN (Goldwyn).

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."