Weekend Wrap-Up

by Tim Briody

February 18, 2018

Smile. You are huge.

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This one matters. Black Panther exceeds any and all expectations about quality and box office performance, bringing the fifth largest opening weekend of all time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe can do no wrong.

Black Panther, expanding on the character’s first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, is yet another example of Marvel turning their B- and C-level players into box office gold. With a predominantly black cast, starring Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, plus Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, with Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis (you know, the Tolkien white guys), some naysayers claimed this would be a miss for Marvel, but those of us who have followed box office for this long knew better.

Back in December, some way too early tracking data indicated it was on its way to an opening weekend in the $90 million range. An absolutely respectable opening, but through January and the start of February, the number kept creeping up. Even mid-week, it was tracking to do $150-170 million depending on who you believed. Glowing reviews continued to roll in (97% at Rotten Tomatoes, the best any MCU movie has ever done), As Reagen Sulewski said in the weekend forecast, it was Deadpooling. This was a monster, and on a holiday weekend, no less.

Indeed, Black Panther arrived with a Friday-to-Sunday estimate of $192 million. After $25.2 million from Thursday sneaks contributed to a $75.8 million Friday, one of the largest weekends of all time was in play. Surprisingly, if it followed The Avengers’ pattern ($80.5 million Friday, $18.7 million Thursday, $61.8 million Friday actual, $188.7 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.05 multiplier), that would have only amounted to $179.5 million. Civil War also mirrored that performance ($75.2 million Friday, $25 million Thursday, $50.2 million Friday actual, $154.1 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.06 multiplier). What pushed Black Panther over the top ($75.5 million Friday, $25.2 million Thursday, $50.6 Friday actual, $166.8 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.29 multiplier) was the inflated Sunday from Monday being a holiday for many people. The box office boost from that day will also send it to around $210 million in just four days. You cannot understate how impressive this is, nor how much it matters to a large section of the audience of the movie. Representation matters, and this performance proves it.

As to where it goes from here it’s anyone’s guess, but $400 million is probably the floor, and that’s only going to happen if the wheels fly completely off, and I think that’s unlikely. Based on just this weekend alone, I’d say it’ll earn about $500 million, making it Marvel’s #2 movie all time, behind The Avengers' $623 million and ahead of Age of Ultron’s $459 million. An impressive effort from director Ryan Coogler (who by the way, is only 31 and the three films he has directed have earned 94%, 95% and 97% at Rotten Tomatoes) and the solid cast.


Holding in second place from last weekend is Peter Rabbit, also benefiting from the long weekend. It earned $17.2 million, down just 31% from last week. That gives it $48.2 million for two weeks. It's a solid choice for families, with the only other thing being the two month old Jumanji. The reported budget on this one was $50 million, which it’ll pass tomorrow, giving Sony another win as they continue to be drunk with power over the success of Jumanji (more on that one in a bit).

Fifty Shades Freed drops 56% from last weekend to $16.9 million and $76.1 million after two weekends in theaters. The merciful end of the book series, the drop matches the second weekend decline of last year’s Fifty Shades Darker, but that dropped from $46.6 million to $20.2 million and had $88.9 million after the same point. Freed is still on pace to fall short of $100 million if it follows the same path as Darker, which has held true after two weekends.

Time has not yet come for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, holding in fourth place, nor The Greatest Showman, our sixth place film. Both are losing screens, but both still only decline 21% from last weekend. Jumanji adds $7.9 million and now stands at $377.6 million. The Greatest Showman earned $5.1 million and has $154.4 million. Both films have spent nine weeks in the top ten. It is now officially late February. We are not supposed to be talking about movies that opened in wide release at Christmas. I am basically out of things to say at this point. The holiday helped, but I think next weekend is when time finally catches up to these movies.

Sandwiched between two of the leggiest films in modern box office history is Clint Eastwood’s disappointment The 15:17 to Paris, dipping 39% from last weekend to $7.6 million and $25.4 million in two weekends. The stunt casting of the actual men involved in the heroic act will end up being the only thing really remembered about this one.

Early Man, a film from Aardman Studios, places seventh, completely lost in the Black Panther hype. Chicken Run was 18 years ago, and the Wallace & Gromit movie was 13 years ago. The last release from the stop-motion animation team was 2015’s Shaun t he Sheep, which started with $4 million and ended with $19.3 million. Early Man could only earn $3.1 million here and will quickly be a memory. However, since Chicken Run, Aardman’s films have earned $1 billion worldwide and are much more successful overseas than they are here.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure drops to eighth with $2.5 million (down 59%) and $54 million in four weekends. The YA franchise ends with a thud, dropping from $102.4 million for The Maze Runner, to $81.6 million for The Scorch Trials, to the $60 million ending point for this one.

Winchester, still starring Helen Mirren for some reason, adds $2.2 million to its total and has $21.8 million after three weekends in theaters. The good news for CBS Films is it only cost $3.5 million to make.

Pure Flix Entertainment’s Samson ends up in 10th place with $1.9 million. A straight retelling of the biblical story (from the company that brought you God’s Not Dead), it stars not much of anyone and went for a targeted release in 1,249 theaters.

Black Panther alone out-earned last year’s top 12 films on this weekend, which made $135.4 million. Add in the rest of this weekend and they earned $260.4 million. Next weekend is mostly interesting for how well Black Panther holds, but also adds new releases in Game Night and Annihilation.

Top Ten for Weekend of February 16-18, 2018
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Black Panther Walt Disney 192.0 New 192.0
2 Peter Rabbit Sony 17.2 -31% 48.2
3 Fifty Shades Freed Universal 16.9 -56% 76.1
4 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Sony 7.9 -21% 377.6
5 The 15:17 to Paris Warner Bros. 7.6 -39% 25.4
6 The Greatest Showman 20th Century Fox 5.1 -21% 154.4
7 Early Man Lionsgate 3.1 New 3.1
8 Maze Runner: The Death Cure 20th Century Fox 2.5 -59% 54.0
9 Winchester CBS Films 2.2 -57% 21.8
10 Samson Pure Flix Entertainment 1.9 New 1.9
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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