The 12 Days of Box Office: Day 4

By David Mumpower

December 26, 2016


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Speaking of the other three new releases, let’s pull off the Band-Aid quickly. Passengers is the “winner” by finishing in third place over the holiday. Its three-day estimate of $14.9 million brings its domestic total up to $22.2 million, which may be enough to pay for the salaries of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Sony is ambitiously projected $8.3 million for today, and the rest of the holiday week should boost it enough that its $110 million budget won’t look nightmarish, just bad. Then again, the Rotten Tomatoes score of 32% in combination with the B Cinemascore will keep Sony execs up at night. This one won’t be remembered fondly.

Assassin’s Creed is somehow looking up at Passengers, wishing it were that successful. And that’s sad. The latest videogame adaptation that misfired has grossed a paltry $10.3 million over the holiday weekend with an estimate of $4.7 million today. Assuming all of this holds, it has earned $22.5 million in six days. On a seemingly unrelated note, the head of the corporation that created this videogame franchise once bragged that it would have a budget approaching $200 million.

While Assassin’s Creed does have a better Cinemascore than Passengers, a B+, its Rotten Tomatoes score of 19% speaks volumes about the abject failure of the project. Its opening weekend placement in the top five may be the highlight of its entire domestic run. With only $14.2 million earned overseas thus far, it doesn’t even have international revenue hopes to negate some of the sting of its North American rejection.

Slotting between the two doomed sci-fi action projects is Why Him?, the movie that caused people to retroactively dislike Walter White that much more. The “comedy” that only 30% of Top Critics enjoyed had a slightly different release pattern, debuting on Friday rather than Wednesday. Its weekend total of $11.4 million is good enough for fourth place, and Fox projects another $5.7 million today. With a B+ Cinemascore and a general perception as a misstep for all involved (except for James Franco, who makes weird career choices anyway), Why Him? won’t be a factor for very long in 2017.


Sixth and seventh place this week go to an extended holdover and a soaring platformer. The holdover is Moana, the latest instant classic from Disney. While critics are quick to note that it’s no Frozen, Moana’s $7.4 million weekend brings it running total to $180.4 million with another $3 million estimated for today. It’s actually ahead of the pace of Big Hero Six, which garnered $178.3 million in 33 days (and $403,000 on its 34th day).

Meanwhile, Denzel Washington’s latest awards contender, Fences, successfully expanded from four theaters last weekend into 2,233 by the end of the weekend. It grossed an estimated $6.9 million over three days, and its per-venue average this weekend was truly bizarre. Fences started with $6,500 in four locations then wound up with $2,995 for the entire weekend as it platformed into 1,547 locations Saturday before finishing with 2,233 Sunday. This isn’t the type of thing that happens at any other time of year but Christmas week.

The Academy Awards frontrunner, an average comedy, and an awards season misfire conclude the top ten. Eighth place goes to La La Land, which took a step toward box office relevance by earning $5.7 million from 734 theaters this weekend. Office Christmas Party enjoyed its last three days of timeliness, finishing in ninth place with $5.1 million. And Collateral Beauty, an innately flawed Will Smith film, is already almost done. It earned only $4.3 million in 3,028 venues, bringing its running total up to $15.3 million. The only good news for this horrifically reviewed film is that it only cost $36 million. As for Smith, he at least has Suicide Squad to hang his hat on in 2016.

Next weekend’s box office will be one of the strangest frames you’ll ever see. Due to the quirks of the calendar configuration, no new titles will enter theaters, yet virtually all of the major releases will increase their weekend box office totals. So, everything I said here applies then as well, only the news gets better for everything due to an extra week of extra box office. Films like Passengers and Assassin’s Creed will look better in spite of themselves. It’s the magic of the Twelve Days of Box Office.

Top Ten for Weekend of December 23-25, 2016
Estimated Gross (millions)
Weekly Change
Running Total (millions)
1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Walt Disney 64.4 -59% 286.4
2 Sing Universal 35.3 New 55.9
3 Passengers Sony 14.9 New 22.2
4 Why Him? 20th Century Fox 11.1 New 11.1
5 Assassin's Creed 20th Century Fox 10.3 New 17.8
6 Moana Walt Disney 7.4 -42% 180.4
7 Fences Paramount 6.7 +5,066% 6.9
8 La La Land Lionsgate 5.7 +40% 13.6
9 Office Christmas Party Paramount 5.1 -40% 42.2
10 Collateral Beauty Warner Bros. 4.3 -40% 15.3
11 Manchester by the Sea Roadside Attractions 3.0 -28% 19.8
12 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Warner Bros. 2.9 -42% 214.2

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