Openers, Snowstorm Jonas Bury Box Office
By John Hamann
January 24, 2016
The ugliness is everywhere at the box office this weekend, and we can’t blame it all on snowstorm Jonas.
With a crop of dubious openers and a major snowstorm hitting the eastern seaboard, we shouldn’t be too surprised that the box office is down, but there really is zero good news this weekend. Star Wars is now six-weekends-old, and 13 wide releases have come out since then. Still, The Force Awakens is still second this weekend, which shows the power of the JJ Abrams film but also shows the weakness of what has come out since then. The sad set of openers this weekend includes Robert De Niro embarrassing himself in Dirty Grandpa, a ridiculous looking horror film in The Boy, and the zillionth dystopian teen film to come out in the last few years, this time in a film called The 5th Wave. Add into it Snowstorm Jonas, and the holdovers got knocked back as well.
Snowstorm Jonas closed all of the AMC theaters in New York City after government officials called for a travel ban on Saturday. Normally, I would say that weather drives people to theatres in some cases, but in this situation, up to 11 million people weren’t able to drive, take the bus or use the subway for all of Saturday afternoon and evening. That doesn’t just affect the city, of course, but the rest of the eastern seaboard and some southern states as well. The Boston Globe said on Saturday that one in seven Americans would see at least a half foot of snow, which pushed the box office down for the frame. I bet VOD had a VERY strong weekend.
Our number one film of the weekend is no longer Ride Along 2, as The Revenant enjoys its first weekend on top, its third weekend in wide release. Unfortunately, its place in the top ten is about the best news The Revenant sees this frame, as it drops 50% compared to last weekend, earning $16 million. That’s a much bigger drop than expected for the odds-on Best Picture winner, but the plunge is the result of a number of factors. First, The Revenant crossed the $100 million mark on Wednesday, its 13th day of wide release, and for a film that is as bleak as The Revenant is, that’s a very strong pace. Second, the snowstorm had a significant impact on the box office, likely trimming the weekend totals by 10-15% or more. Lastly, whenever we are coming off a long weekend, percentage drops are higher, as the previous weekend basically had two Saturdays.
The Revenant has now earned a spectacular $119.2 million domestically for Fox, but has yet to match its $135 million budget with its domestic gross. The good news is that it’s performing admirably overseas, picking up $60 million so far, and is opening in another 17 markets this weekend. I believe The Revenant will still finish with as much as $175 million domestic and get to $200 million or more worldwide. Should it win Best Picture (and I’m not sure what else has a chance at this point), we can likely add another 10% to those totals.