The 12 Days of Box Office: Day 10
By David Mumpower
January 1, 2017
Yes, the final weekend of 2016 has ended and the worst year ever memes can mercifully die. Under a slew of social media dirges, consumers still managed to check out a few movies this weekend. And every other day of the week. It was the heart of the 12 Days of Box Office, with a lot of films, deserving and undeserving, performing solidly. In the end, the biggest of the bunch survived a strong challenge to win its second consecutive holiday weekend and third overall.
Yes, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the number one film in North America yet again. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s showing some signs of decline. A third weekend and holiday inflated tally of $49 million suggests a drop of 24%. That sounds good on the surface, but you’ll notice that other films gained over the previous weekend and thereby performed quite a bit better.
How big a deal is this slippage? Rogue One did have more to lose since it was dealing with bigger numbers. Its third weekend total is a sign that it’s going to lose momentum more quickly than I’d projected, though. How much that matters to Disney is up for debate, since Rogue One will still become the number on release of 2016 at some point early in 2017. Even if you’re someone who only counts in-year box office, Disney still winds up with the top three (!) movies of the year, with Finding Dory in first place, Rogue One claiming second place, and Captain America: Civil War taking the bronze. What they just accomplished at the box office is unprecedented.
Disney went ahead and estimated a four-day holiday total for Rogue One, which is $64 million. I’m a bit leery of this total since it’s four days of box office, two of which are estimates. Assuming it’s correct, however, it’ll be at $440 million by the close of business tomorrow. Through January 2nd of last year (i.e. 2016), Star Wars: The Force Awakens was at $720.7 million. The fact that a standalone film without a decade of hype is doing reasonably well by comparison is simply incredible. Rogue One will probably flame out toward the end of January, but it’s an unqualified triumph as well as a brilliant way to throw in an extra Star Wars movie between VII and VIII.
Sing almost pulled an upset this weekend. On Friday, it finished within $1.3 million of Rogue One and seemed well-positioned for the weekend win. Alas, its $41.4 million tally falls well short of the amount needed to finish in first place for the first time. The fact that it’s held down second place every day of its release is the only bad news. Sing was even up 17% weekend over weekend.
Including its Monday estimate of $12.3 million, Sing has grossed a spectacular $177.3 million in only 13 days of release. It leveraged the holiday season perfectly to lock down the family film box office. Universal and Illumination Entertainment already claimed the highest non-Disney performance of the year with The Secret Life of Pets, which earned $368.4 million. Sing is a mortal lock to finish in the top 10 of 2016 releases as well.
Third place is where the box office conversation takes a sharp turn. Passengers, the film starring arguably the most popular male and female leads in the industry right now, continues to disappoint. Its second weekend total of $16.1 million IS an improvement from its $15.1 million take over Christmas. Even if we use its four-day estimate of $20.7 million, however, that lifts its total box office to only $61.4 million. And it’s almost done in theaters. After spending the body of the year as one of the most anticipated films of 2016, Passengers is a bust, pure and simple.
Rounding out the top five this week are the oldest film in the top ten and the newest. Moana gained another $10.5 million over three days, bringing its domestic take to $209.6 million. It also increased 36% from last weekend’s $7.7 million. Fences, which technically went wide last Sunday, earned $10.2 million. It has a current tally of $29.5 million, but we can’t compare its weekends since it was only exhibited in four venues last Friday and Saturday. Its release pattern is one of the weirdest of the 2000s.
As for the rest of the wide releases, many studios didn’t bother with estimates today. They’ll wait until tomorrow. The others that we do know are Assassin’s Creed, which grossed $8 million. That’s actually a fall from last weekend’s $10.3 million, and that says everything about the failure of the project. Why Him? performed better in terms of box office and profit ratio…in that it will have some profit. The Bryan Cranston/James Franco comedy tallied $10 million this weekend, down slightly from last weekend’s $11 million. My suspicion is that it will do better with actuals. Finally, La La Land earned $9.5 million in only 750 venues, and Lionsgate has projected another $2.8 million on Monday. The current favorite for Best Picture has already earned $37 million, presuming the estimates are accurate.
Next weekend will offer some intriguing choices. The formerly solid Underworld franchise tries to redeem itself after a lackluster outing with Underworld: Blood Wars. A second Felicity Jones movie enters the fray with A Monster Calls, based on the well-reviewed novel. Finally, one of the most engaging awards contenders expands when Hidden Figures goes wide.