March 2017 Box Office Recap
By Steven Slater
April 5, 2017
Like a sunrise piercing the cold dark winter above the arctic circle, March has shattered the box office doldrums of 2017. First this year told us to Split, then it yelled at us to Get Out. Now, it is singing “Be Our Guest!” as Beast and Wolverine claw up the charts. How many more awful metaphors can I conjure up for this column before it sheds its final rose petal?
The number one movie of the month eviscerated expectations, delivering a performance that is truly beyond belief. Beauty and the Beast has earned just shy of $400 million if you include the first two days of April, and $360.8 million for just the month of March. Beauty is yet another large feather on Disney’s cap, as many of their films in the past year have reached a billion dollars in worldwide grosses, and this film will surely join that group. It will be the 29th film, the 14th Disney film, and the fifth Disney film in the past year to reach that mark (yes, Disney released about half of the movies in the billion-dollar worldwide club). And The Jungle Book was a mere $34 million from that goal post. Let us just say that Disney asked “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, how shall we earn the most money of all?” and got some great answers. The fact that a film that is practically a shot-for-shot remake of an animated classic can reach a billion dollars is mind-blowing. You bet I was one of those butts in a seat opening weekend.
Beauty and the Beast laughed heartily at industry predictions, opening about 50% higher than expected at $174.8 million, which just barely makes it the sixth biggest opener of all time above Iron Man 3, and the biggest for the month of March, beating last year’s Batman v Superman. Consider this; Beauty and the Beast earned about 70% of what Star Wars: The Force Awakens or 85% of what The Avengers earned opening weekend. That’s how huge it was and is. Or think of it this way; before this month, the top 20 domestic films of all time were released during the summer or Thanksgiving-Christmas seasons. Beauty will be the first outside those lucrative periods in the top 20; if its current pace continues, it should become the sixth or seventh highest grossing film of all time in North America, perhaps topping Rogue One. It will easily pass Alice in Wonderland to become the largest worldwide grosser from Disney’s batch of live-action adaptations, and could even become the biggest of their more traditional fare if it exceeds Frozen’s $1.28 billion. Oh, right, it also became Emma Watson’s biggest movie by just about every metric (the final Harry Potter film did earn a massive $1.34 billion globally, but I would bet money on this film beating that).
Shift gears from singing and dancing to blood, guts and riding off into the sunset. The number two earner this March is Logan, the swan song for a character portrayed by Hugh Jackman almost enough years to vote. Although it pales in comparison to the number one film, Logan was no slouch, opening at $88.4 million and earning $207.4 million for the month (again, not including those first two days in April which were part of this past weekend’s totals). It will be the biggest of the three Wolverine movies by far, it should slot somewhere around position three for domestic X-Men films (not including Deadpool), and it will probably be second worldwide, unable to reach the pinnacle of Days of Future Past’s $748 million. This proves definitively that harder edged superhero movies can be very successful if they are done properly *cough* not Zach Snyder *cough*, and it is a fitting send-off for Hugh Jackman to be able to leave this character and franchise on his own terms. Has any actor played the same character for so long and in so many films?