Weekend Box Office (January 13 - 16, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND It was ladies first as the NASA scientists of the runaway hit blockbuster Hidden Figures ruled over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday session holding onto the number one spot for a second straight week. The uplifting Fox drama grossed an estimated $26M over the Friday-to-Monday span lifting the total gross to $60.4M with much more to come. After strong reviews and glowing word of mouth, the studio expanded the film this weekend into 815 additional locations across the country. The four-day average was a sturdy $7,912 from 3,286 locations. The three-day gross of $20.8M dipped only 9% from last weekend while the three-day average dropped just 31%.
Hidden Figures marks the first holdover to rule MLK weekend since Avatar in 2010. Studios routinely use the year's first long holiday weekend to program in big new releases or nationwide expansions for high profile films. That happened again this weekend, but dollars were spread across those numerous movies while audiences clearly chose to see uplifting, feel-good entertainment in the form of Hidden Figures which could be on track to end up with around $125M which would be five times its production cost.
Universal's smash toon hit Sing climbed back up one notch thanks to Monday's school holiday and took in an estimated $19.2M over the four-day span. That boosted the mighty domestic haul to $238.4M while the global tally shot up to $402.7M with plenty more to go.
After sweeping the Golden Globes last weekend taking a record-setting seven trophies including Best Picture - Comedy or Musical, La La Land seized the opportunity by expanding again and seeing its weekend collections rise for the sixth consecutive weekend. The Lionsgate hit took in an estimated $17.5M over the long four-day span and averaged a spectacular $9,470 from 1,848 locations. It was the best average of any film in wide release. Cume to date is $77.1M and the $100M mark should be crossed the weekend after Oscar nominations are announced next week. An additional $54.8M has been grossed overseas led by Korea's $20.9M plus many major markets are still to come including China which opens the film on Valentine's Day.
Three-time box office champ Rogue One fell to fourth place but crashed through the $500M domestic mark in the process. The feisty rebels collected an estimated $17.1M over the long weekend and boosted the cume for Disney up to $502.2M. Rogue One now sits at number seven on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters and has surpassed Finding Dory to become North America's highest grossing film from 2016. The current trajectory still puts Rogue One on course to finish in the area of $530M.
Worldwide, the latest Star Wars saga is less than a week away from breaking the billion dollar mark. A $21.9M international weekend over the Friday-to-Sunday period put the overseas take at $481.1M pushing the global tally to $983.3M. This Friday could be the day it enters ten-digit territory.
The weekend's biggest overachiever was the low-budget horror title The Bye Bye Man which opened to an impressive $15.3M over four days, according to estimates. Produced for under $8M, the PG-13 chiller averaged a solid $6,896 from 2,220 locations for STX. Fright films historically do well in January as the cheery Christmas holidays pass and genre fans return to demanding dark and sinister stories. This month included a Friday the 13th which Bye Bye used to kick off its release, excite audiences, and deliver the best weekend gross among the many new releases opening or expanding nationwide this weekend. And those other films had bigger, if not massively bigger, production budgets and marketing spends.
Studio data showed that young women led the way as 61% of the audience was female and a very high 75% were under 25. Hollywood is offering very little for this demo right now so they rallied behind this new spooky film. Reviews were more on the negative side so ticket buyers responded more to the ads and marketing than to what critics had to say. The CinemaScore grade was a C which is decent for this genre.
Paramount's PG-rated action-comedy Monster Trucks followed close behind playing to kids and families opening to an estimated $15M. Averaging $4,809 from 3,119 sites, the effects-filled pic was met with bad reviews from film critics but earned an A from audiences polled by CinemaScore. Trucks skewed 53% male and 60% under 25 according to studio data.
After three weeks of platform play, Mark Wahlberg's drama Patriots Day expanded nationwide into 3,120 locations and grossed an estimated $13.6M for a $4,359 average. The Boston Marathon bombing pic generated good reviews from critics and earned a rare A+ CinemaScore grade which bodes well for the weeks ahead. Cume is $14.5M for CBS Films and Lionsgate.
The Jamie Foxx action entry Sleepless debuted in eighth place with little fanfare grossing an estimated $9.9M over the long weekend for a decent four-day average of $5,487 from 1,803 locations. The R-rated undercover cop flick earned mostly negative reviews for Open Road and carried little buzz into the marketplace.
Sony rounded out the top ten with a pair of action holdovers. The star-driven sci-fi pic Passengers grossed an estimated $6.8M lifting the total to date to $91.2M and hopes to join the century club. Underworld: Blood Wars fell to an estimated $6.8M as well in its second weekend boosting the cume to $24.9M. The three-day portion fell 58% which is normal for an action/horror sequel like this.
Awards hopefuls expanded this weekend and were met with mixed results over a very crowded frame filled with numerous viable options for adult moviegoers. Ben Affleck failed to attract a crowd to his new film Live By Night which went fully nationwide into 2,822 locations grossing an estimated $6.1M over four days for a lousy $2,162 average over the long weekend for Warner Bros. Martin Scorsese's new Japan-set period piece Silence widened to 747 taking in an estimated $2.3M for a $3,133 average for Paramount. After winning the biggest prize at last week's Golden Globes, Best Picture - Drama, A24's Moonlight went back out into national play with 582 theaters and grossed an estimated $1.4M in its 13th weekend. Cume is $14.9M for the hit indie which is soon expected to earn several Academy Award nominations including Best Picture.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $147.2M over four days which was down 16% from last year when Ride Along 2 opened at number one with $41M; and down 33% from 2015 when American Sniper expanded nationwide into the top spot with a record $107.2M.
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Watch the red-band trailer for Alien: Covenant.
Compared to projections, Hidden Figures came in very close to my $27M forecast while The Bye Bye Man and Monster Trucks debuted above my respective predictions of $7M and $11M. Patriots Day bowed below my $19M projection and Sleepless came in above my $6M forecast.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when xXx: Return of Xander Cage and Split both open nationwide.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: January 16, 2017 at 3:30PM ET
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