Beauty, Beast, Baby Face Off Again While Audiences Wait for Furious
By John Hamann
April 9, 2017
It's that weekend between one stretch of aging blockbusters, like The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast, and the even bigger upcoming one, as The Fate of the Furious looks to turn in that franchise's second consecutive $100 million plus opening, despite being the eighth time a Fast/Furious film has been released.
We knew we were in for a quieter frame this time around, as openers did not have the cachet of Beauty, the marketing campaign of Boss Baby, or the $185 million budget of something like the Kong: Skull Island. No, openers this weekend included the third film in what appears to be a quickly dying Smurfs franchise, as terrible moviemaking has left a stench on what was once a beautiful, smurfy thing. The only reason Sony put out another one is the foreign sales, as the second film's $275 million overseas gross bailed out the floppish $71 million domestic gross.
Also opening is Going In Style, a good idea for a blockbuster transition film, as this is a comedy about senior citizens, which is an underserved demographic during blockbuster season. Films like this don't have to open strong - Grumpy Old Men put up a $4 million debut and closed with over $70 million in sales, and the more recent Last Vegas had a similar result. The last one up is The Case for Christ, another faith-based flick that cost $5 million to make, will serve the converted, and find a profit for the filmmakers. The only difference this time is that most critics (so far) seem to like this one. No, really.
We knew it was going to be slow at theaters this weekend. We knew that The Boss Baby would likely finish at number one, ahead of Beauty of the Beast, with the new releases showing up further down the list. What I didn't expect was Boss Baby and Beauty almost finishing on top of each other, leading to a photo finish at the box office this weekend How close? On Friday, the two films, aimed at exactly the same demographic, finished within $13,000 of each other despite both earning $6.85 million. That's about 0.2% of each film's Friday total. To guess at a winner, we look at last weekend's results, however the animated film was opening, whereas the Disney musical was in its third frame. Boss Baby increased its daily gross last Saturday by 29%, while Beauty jumped 52%. Before you make your guess at this weekend's winner, don't forget that Boss Baby earned $1.5 million from previews on Thursday, which get rolled into the Friday number, artificially lowering the Friday-to-Saturday increase. Without the preview amount included, the jump from Friday to Saturday is 43%, much closer to Beauty's 52%.
That was then, and this weekend is this weekend. Saturday numbers have been reported at $11.8 million from The Boss Baby (an increase over Friday of 71%), and $10.6 million for Beauty (increase of 55%). Last weekend, The Boss Baby declined less on Sunday than Beauty, and the same thing happened this weekend, making the DreamWorks the de facto winner. In its second weekend, The Boss Baby, DWA's ninth $50 million plus opener in 35 tries, took in $26.3 million in its sophomore frame. That gives it an alarming for animation drop of 48%, but not all that alarming for DreamWorks. In 2015, the studio's Home dropped an identical 48% in weekend two, and all it had for competition was Disney's Cinderella, which was in its fourth weekend, earning only $10.2 million. The Boss Baby not only has to deal with Beauty and the Beast, it also had to face off against the pesky Smurfs movie, which was targeting Boss's demo even more than Beauty.