Panda 3 Tops Box Office; Finest Hours Not Seaworthy
By John Hamann
January 31, 2016
Over the current weekend, Kung Fu Panda 3 earned $41 million, a strong but not spectacular start to its run. It opened at 3,955 venues, similar to the second film but less than the first - that one opened on more than 4,100 screens. It had a venue average of $10,367. Kung Fu Panda 3's reviews were in the same ballpark as the first two films. The original was 87% fresh, the sequel 81% fresh, and the newest version currently sits at at 79% fresh. The Cinemascore was an expected A, matching the second film and improving on the original, which earned an A-. That should mean that solid legs are in store for Panda 3, but the first two didn't match the usual trends of Cinemascores and legs. Kung Fu Panda's opening-to-total multiplier was 3.6, and the sequel's was just shy of 3.5, less than the 5.0 earned by How to Train Your Dragon, and 3.6 earned by the dragon sequel. Panda 3 cost $145 million to make, a number it could see domestically, but would need to get to 3.6 plus to make it happen.
Overseas is where Kung Fu Panda 3 will make its money. The original earned $416 million from overseas grosses alone, with only $26 million of that coming from China. The sequel earned $500 million overseas, with China providing $92 million of that total. This time around, the film is being made in two versions for Chinese audiences, the North American version and version made in Mandarin, where the character's mouth movements match the Mandarin language. Chinese audiences could potentially double dip due to this factor, and we've seen that theory in action because it has earned $57.9 million in China already, easily outpacing its North American total. Given the budget, overseas audiences will once again make Po a powerful player at the worldwide box office, and a surefire winner.
Finishing in a distant, but still healthy second spot this weekend is The Revenant, as the Leo DiCaprio starrer recovers from last weekend, where the setting of the film matched the setting on the East Coast. After dropping 50% last weekend to $16 million, The Revenant recovered, earning $12.4 million and declining 23%. That's four frames with a gross over $10 million, and while The Martian had five weekends over $10 million, The Revenant is doing what it needs to keep it at front of the Oscar conversation. So far, The Revenant has earned $138.2 million domestically, and prior to the start of the frame, had picked up $110 million from overseas cinemas. The Revenant cost $145 million to make, so it will need a worldwide gross approaching $425 million to be profitable for Fox.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues its historic run in its seventh weekend in release. This time around, the JJ Abrams film gave up 809 venues, and the result was a gross of $10.8 million and a decline of 23% compared to last weekend. It's going to need another weekend to become the first film ever to cross the $900 million mark domestically, as it has a gross to date of $895.4 million. Overseas, the cumulative total has reached $1.087 billion, so the $2 billion worldwide mark should come down soon as well.