February 2017 Box Office Recap
By Steven Slater
March 2, 2017
February just doesn’t feel like a big box office month. It’s one of those months like April or September that just do not seem to stand out. However, recent years have seen anomalous films achieve huge returns in just about every month. March seems to be a new tentpole season, and just last year Deadpool smashed the February opening weekend record by a mile. The year before, Fifty Shades of Grey had similarly attained a new February record. And the year before that had The LEGO Movie (that was three years ago!?). Hey, guess which two sequels opened this February?
2017 is not off to a great start. But enough about politics; January was down at the box office compared to recent years. February unfortunately continued that streak, as there was just under $500 million in receipts compared with about $700 million the previous three years. This puts 2017 as a whole over 20 percent behind 2016! The sequels mentioned above opened below their previous entries, so hopes must be riding high for March entries like Logan, Kong and Beauty and the Beast. Consider also that the real best picture winner, Moonlight, is the lowest grossing winner since The Hurt Locker. The academy deserves kudos for choosing a film that is definitely not typical for them, but in terms of box office, there is not much momentum so far this year.
Our number one earner for February was The LEGO Batman Movie, where the Dark Plastic Knight finally flew out from his dour cave and became a comedy sensation. It achieved the largest opening weekend of the month, $53 million, and went on the earn $135.4 million for the whole month. It certainly has a long life ahead where small children endlessly watch it on repeat on DVD or streaming. Although it is trending below the original LEGO Movie by about $50 million, consider how that film outperformed expectations. Everything is awesome for the LEGO movie universe, with yet another entry slated for this year, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie.
Second place is masochism to LEGO’s sadism, or is it the other way around? Fifty Shades Darker banged its way to $105.2 million for the month, with the second largest opening weekend of $46.6 million. This movie series seems inevitably headed for the same fate as Divergent, but until then, these sloppy seconds are still sucking in the big bucks. Fool me twice, I suppose.
Something was in the water the weekend of February 10th, because the top three earners for the month, as well as three of the top four opening weekends, all occurred on that date. Number three is John Wick: Chapter 2, part of the career resurgence that seems to occur for Keanu Reeves once every decade. The very well reviewed action flick opened with $30.4 million, and it was still third at the box office this past weekend, ringing up $76.7 million for the month. This sequel is pacing well ahead of its predecessor, and could wind up making double in both domestic and international markets.