Weird and Wild MLK Box Office Weekend
By John Hamann
January 15, 2017
Patriot’s Day expands to a disappointing sixth this weekend, as the Mark Wahlberg true life flick hasn’t been in the awards conversation at all over the last month, so is hampered by the same problems as Silence and Live By Night. After a couple of weekends of decent limited release, Patriot’s Day expanded to 3,120 venues this weekend, and it picked up $12 million. The good news here is that the Cinemascore is an A+, so if people talk about it, Patriot’s Day may gain some traction. The fresh rating at 79% will help as well, but somehow it just feels like Patriot’s Day is being left out of the conversation.
Seventh is Monster Trucks, Paramount’s legendary pre-release flop, labeled as such when the studio announced a $100 million plus write-down before it was released. This is one of those films that was shot in 2014 and was supposed to be released in summer 2015, but was so awful that no one knew what to do with it. The result is seen this weekend, as the debut frame came in at a sad $10.5 million, with the budget looming large at $125 million. The other troubling thing is that this was already released overseas in December, and has a gross to date over there of only $14 million. The kids don’t care about the background or the 31% fresh rating. The Cinemascore came in at an A, which might tell us that Paramount took the wrong approach on this one prior to release.
Eighth is the Jamie Foxx film Sleepless, a film that was likely keeping movie executives up at night as well. From Open Road, Sleepless could only manage $8.5 million from a not-much-confidence venue count of 1,803. To be honest, I would never have known this film was even opening (which could be the fault of my PVR), and I should have, considering the lead is former Best Actor winner, Jamie Foxx. Oddly enough, Sleepless earned a B+ Cinemascore, but the 11% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes isn’t making me run to the local multiplex to catch this one. The budget is rumored to be $30 million, which means Open Road will likely take it in the teeth this time around.
Underworld: Blood Wars almost falls completely out of the top ten this frame, after debuting in fourth last weekend with $13.7 million. The bottom falls out on the Screen Gems release as it earned only $5.8 million and fell a nasty 58%. Made for $35 million, Blood Wars has a domestic total of $23.9 million, but has earned $47 million overseas to help keep its head above water.
Hanging on in the top 10 for a final week is the sci-fi flick Passengers, the semi-disappointment from the holiday season. The Sony film can thank time of year for the fact that it managed an almost respectable box office total, though still nowhere near enough considering the amount spent. After earning $5.6 million this weekend, Passengers' running domestic total is $90 million. It also adds almost $150 million from overseas venues. With home video revenue, it might even end up profitable.
Finishing outside the top 10 is Ben Affleck’s Live By Night, which could be his ugliest release since Surviving Christmas in 2004. Live By Night looks like an award-worthy film but with a 32% fresh rating, it is likely not going to see any nominations. The results are reflected at the box office, as this $65 million film earned a terrible $5.4 million from 2,822 screens this weekend. I thought the marketing was awful, and audiences thought the film itself was terrible given the B Cinemascore. Next up for Affleck are the two Justice League films, and then his version of Batman. Whether that’s a good decision for the actor/director remains to be seen.
Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which stars Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, is far outside the top 12. After some solid but not spectacular returns in limited release, Paramount took Silence to 747 venues this weekend, and it earned only $1.9 million. This one cost $40 million to make, and will be lucky to earn $10 million.
Overall, the box office can’t hold a candle to Martin Luther King weekend last year. The top 12 films could only muster $127.6 million this year, compared to a year ago when Ride Along 2, The Revenant and The Force Awakens pushed the top 12 to $151.3 million. Next weekend, things don’t quiet down at all, as four more new releases hit screens. Opening are The Founder with Michael Keaton, Vin Diesel’s xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, M Night Shyamalan’s Split, and something called The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.
||La La Land
||Rogue One: a Star Wars Story
||The Bye Bye Man
||Open Road Films
||Underworld: Blood Wars
||Columbia Pictures (Sony)
||Live By Night
||20th Century Women
||A Monster Calls
||Manchester By the Sea
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations