Box Office Wrap Up: Another Lump of Coal for New Releases.
Once again, only Disney managed a decent weekend as all four new releases were left out in the cold.
The Christmas weekend plays hell with ticket sales figures. Typically, sales are way down on Christmas Eve and up on Christmas Day, and you have to figure in the extended weekend since most of the new releases opted to premier on Wednesday instead of Friday. Basically, it makes and apples to apples comparison of the actual weekend difficult and misleading. Taking a look at the 5 day totals makes a tad more sense, though this week the trends are apparent even without having to do somersaults: everyone not titled Star Wars had a pretty lousy time.
Box Office Trends
The overall box office was stable. The sales were down compared to last year…but last year The Force Awakens was making so much money that comparisons to it would be silly. Looking at other previous totals, this week was just average. No big swings either way to blame for the performances of the new releases. In fact, the totals from this years 2-10 spot mirror last year almost perfectly, pointing to the change being almost solely due to Episode 7’s out-sized influence.
First place remained firmly in Disney’s hands, as has been the case nearly half of the weekends this year. Rogue One had a modest decline in its second week, losing only 39%. The film is performing just as well overseas as it is at home, and has already crossed the half billion dollar line in just two weeks. It’s not Force Awakens money, but it shaping up to be yet another billion dollar earner for Disney.
Second place went to the animated talent show, Sing. While 35 million is a decent opening (just shy of half of its budget) it is the lowest opening for Illuminations studios. Despicable Me, Minions, and even this years surprise hit The Secret Life of Pets all managed a heartier debut. I wouldn’t say that this project is in trouble, since the holiday break is generally very kind to animated features, but it isn’t the break out success the studio has become accustomed to.
The third spot went to Sony’s sci-fi flick, Passengers. While it may have been expected that this film would not unseat Star Wars, the paltry earnings (14 million 3-day, 22 million 5-day) is alarming. A film that lavishly overspent on it’s production to the tune of 110 million (with a lion’s share going to the two stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt) really needed a stronger start. The press for this film has been lukewarm to negative. There doesn’t seem to be any upside to this film, and it will probably join the ranks of Ben-Hur and God’s of Egypt on the list of worst performing movies of 2016.
Oh, were we just talking about box office bombs? Fourth place went to Why Him? with 11 million dollars. This isn’t horrible, but against a nearly 40 million dollar budget, it is pretty bad. Another movie that banked on the notoriety of its stars instead of, well, being good.
The truly horrible, no good, awful news was reserved for Assassin’s Creed. This movie tanked so hard, it went back in time and mortally wounded Michael Fassbender’s ancestors. A 3-day cume of 10 million, paired with a week-long total of 17 million is very far from making up its 125 million dollar budget. Critics have been generally negative, and positively confused about why this movie exists. At this point, it had better be hoping to pull a Warcraft…but initial foreign figures are not all that great.
In good news, Fences did admirably for its wide release expansion, landing at the 7th spot. La La Land, another Oscar hopeful, managed a solid expansion as well, adding 500 theaters and earning 5 million dollars, good enough for 8th place. This films still have room to grow, and award season should help them immensely.
Top Ten Movies
(In Millions, 3-Day Totals.)
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (64.3)
2. Sing (35.2)
3. Passengers (14.8)
4. Why Him? (11.0)
5. Assassin’s Creed (10.2)
6. Moana (7.4)
7. Fences (6.6)
8. La La Land (5.7)
9. Office Christmas Party (5.1)
10. Collateral Beauty (4.2)