Openers Surprise to the Upside at Weekend Box Office
By John Hamann
July 31, 2016
Jason Bourne may be back in a very big, blockbuster-y way, but it was Bad Moms that really surprised to the upside this weekend (and Nerve to a lesser degree), which means theaters are going to be extremely busy when Suicide Squad opens next weekend.
We’ve been waiting for this weekend for a while, because I can count one hand the movies that have felt like "sure thing" blockbusters this summer (Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Captain America). Matt Damon brings that feeling back to the Bourne franchise, as we have a superstar in what has been one of the most reliable franchises over the last decade. The real surprises come from the smaller films this weekend, with Bad Moms breaking out a little with a debut in the range of We’re the Millers, and we know how the legs turned out on that one. Lastly, Nerve opened on Wednesday, a move that I usually don’t like, but doing so got it out of the way of the huge date night grosses of Jason Bourne and Bad Moms and allowed for strong word-of-mouth to work a bit. Bad Moms and Nerve give success to two studios that really needed some, as STX Entertainment and Lionsgate have struggled lately.
As expected, our number one film this weekend is Jason Bourne, Matt Damon’s first return to the character since 2007 (has it really been that long?). The last time we had the Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass combo was The Bourne Ultimatum, released in August 2007 to an opening day gross of $24.7 million and an opening weekend of $69.3 million, the highest debut so far in the series. Tracking for Jason Bourne was pointing lower at $50 million, so it was needing a $15-17 million Friday with a $3-4 million preview. The previews showed that Bourne 4 was going to be successful, as it managed $4.2 million on Thursday alone. The combined opening day figure came in at an electric $22.7 million, which exceeded tracking expectations but removed any hope that this would peak as the biggest opener of the franchise.
Over the weekend, Jason Bourne shined, pulling in an awesome $60 million from 4,026 theaters, giving the series its second $60 million plus opener, and third $50 million opener (the second film, Supremacy, debuted at $52.5 million). These films have become more expensive to make, as the first film, The Bourne Identity, cost $60 million to make, Supremacy cost $75 million, Ultimatum’s cost jumped to $110 million, and this version was budgeted at a massive $120 million - and all of these costs are before the mass marketing Universal is known for.
The series (forgetting Bourne Legacy) has cost Universal and partners $365 million to make, and with a billion in worldwide sales, Universal will likely continue to make these films. Jason Bourne will need $360 million worldwide to see theatrical profit, and I would be really surprised if it didn’t make that mark. The Martian was huge, earning $400 million plus overseas to go with its $200 million plus stateside gross. If there is still a global superstar out there other than Chris Pratt, it’s Matt Damon. The only concern that Universal might have is that the Bourne films have always earned more at home than they have abroad, but that will likely change this time around.