Friday Box Office Analysis

By Kim Hollis

July 15, 2017

When apes and horses join together, the world comes to an end.

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Yesterday brought yet another franchise film to the forefront. This summer has seen ups and downs in North America for movie series. Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man (along with Wonder Woman if you want to count that as a DCU franchise film) have all performed remarkably well, with the common denominator being that reviews and word-of-mouth were strong. Then, you have movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Cars 3, and Transformers: Last Knight with middling-to-poor domestic box office (along with middling-to-poor reviews).

So, where would War for the Planet of the Apes, the third in the series of well-regarded films fall? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that War for the Planet of the Apes has a certain audience threshold, one that it actually exceeded by a lot with the release of the second film. Whereas Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the second movie in the current iteration of the series, earned $72.6 million in its opening weekend, War will fall back to approximately the same levels that the original film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, saw on its debut weekend ($54.8 million). Again, this isn’t really terrible news, in my opinion. Much like television series that can brag of success with zero growth these days (just hanging onto audience is a win in this fragmented media world), a niche series like Apes keeping its original audience is pretty solid. That’s especially true when you consider the increases it has seen in overseas revenue (Rise made about $300 million; Dawn earned $500 million).

Yesterday, War for the Planet of the Apes got started with $22.1 million, which includes $5 million from Thursday previews. That’s slightly more than Rise of the Planet of the Apes earned on its first day, but it’s probably fair to give them about the same general performance multiplier. That would give war a $61 million weekend, but I think that it’s actually going to come in with about $59 million. The studio will go with $60 million if they can justify it, but my most likely scenario is that the film is overestimated at $59 million.


The good news for War for the Planet of the Apes is that it has received glowing reviews. The problem is, a lot of people see the Apes series as one they can enjoy on home video. I would expect much of the revenue to come once it’s available for rent and purchase. Under any circumstance, War has a $150 million budget, so it’s going to be a challenge for this one to make a profit in theaters.

Last week’s big winner Spider-Man: Homecoming declined 73% down to $13.6 million, a pretty lofty fall that was somewhat to be expected. The well-regarded film will likely straighten out to some degree over the rest of the weekend to rest with a three-day total of $52.7 million – not quite enough to beat out Apes for first place.

The Big Sick expanded from 326 to 2,597 venues this weekend, and the result yesterday is a 121% increase to $2.5 million. The Kumail Nanjiani film continues to be the little buzz film of the summer, and should finish with a weekend total right around $8 million.

Our final new release of the weekend was the Broad Green horror film Wish Upon. Alas, the poorly reviewed flick earned just $2.3 million from its 2,250 venues. $5.8 million is about the best it can hope for, though it won’t be any real disaster given the $12 million budget.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 War for the Planet of the Apes 59.1
2 Spider-Man: Homecoming 52.7
3 Despicable Me 3 21.5
4 Baby Driver 9.1
5 The Big Sick 8.1
6 Wonder Woman 7.2
7 Wish Upon 5.8
8 Cars 3 3.0
9 Transformers: The Last Knight 2.4
10 The House 1.8



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