Monday, December 26, 2016

Rogue One And Sing Rule Over Holiday Weekend As Passengers And Assassin's Creed Collapse

A large number of movies found coal in their stockings this weekend as a number of major new releases had underwhelming debuts that even the legs that usually come from the holiday break won't be able to rectify. For the top two movies at the box office, things were slightly better. Rogue One was tops at the box office again with $63.9 million, a 59% decline from last weekend. That's a bigger second-weekend drop than The Force Awakens last year, but that one didn't have Christmas Eve impacting its second-weekend grosses, though Disney would certainly have wanted a better second-weekend dip for the project. There is still (a new) hope for the project in the form of it likely holding up better next weekend when it'll get a boost from both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day moviegoing to compensate for this plummet. So far, Rogue One has grossed a solid $285.9 million domestically.

In second place was the only newcomer to really leave a mark, Sing. Grossing $36.2 million in its first 3-day weekend, which is the lowest-grossing opening weekend ever for an Illumination Entertainment title. That would normally be a catastrophic debut except Sing, unlike past Illumination titles, opened on a Wednesday and had Christmas Eve diluting its Saturday grosses. Plus, movies in December typically have smaller bows and then stick around for ages due to the holiday break. It's worth mentioning that Sing dethrones the $24.2 million bow of The Princess And The Frog for highest-grossing opening weekend for a fully animated movie in December, outpacin that 2009 Disney film by a whopping 50%.

Sing has now grossed $56.8 million in five days and if it follows the box office trajectory of The Adventures Of Tintin (the last animated movie to open over a December 23-25 weekend), it would end up with a domestic total of $255 million. That would be a solid sum for the motion picture that may be below the likes of Illumination Entertainment titans like the Despicable Me sequels or The Secret Life Of Pets, but would be right on par with the original Despicable Me and a fantastic cume for an original animated movie, especially one that cost only $75 million.

And now for some poorer news, because, woo boy, did some movies just not match expectations this weekend. Passengers, for one, only grossed $14.5 million this weekend. Its five-day cume now stands at $21.8 million. Interestingly, this one looks like it's playing similalry to Sony's 2011 title The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which opened over this exact same weekend five years ago. That David Fincher movie made about 13% less in its opening 3-day weekend and about 4% less in its first five days of release. That film managed to narrowly cross $100 million domestically and that's not out of the question actually for Passengers if it can hold reasonably well over the next two weeks of holiday breaks. But why didn't a Jennifer Lawrence/Chris Pratt sci-fi romantic drama burst out of the gate with more speed? Well, maybe Sony's marketing could do better next time than the dreadful trailers and especially posters they put out for this title?

Next up was Why Him? which grossed $11 million. That's a decent start for the $36 million-budgeted comedy that lacked the family appeal and built-in audience loyalty between its two leads that Daddy's Home (the movie Why Him? was clearly angling to be) had last Christmas and thus it didn't get to the massive grosses that Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg effort had. But this is still a solid result in its own right that could earn a little over $70 million when all is said and done.

Rounding out the five was Assassin's Creed, which became the newest video game movie to falter at the domestic box office, grossing only $10.2 million over the 3-day weekend. In 5 days, the film has only grossed $17.7 million, a very poor showing for the $125 million film. Whoever it was at 20th Century Fox that thought it was a good idea to just launch a fanboy-geared titles like Assassin's Creed just five days into the run of a Star Wars movie should be fired post-haste, ditto for the people behind the marketing that overloaded the trailers with mythology and lore without explaining why anyone should care about the characters. You've got to get the non-geeks to care about these nerdy properties for them to succeed, that's how Marvel, Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings and Star Trek have endured over the years. Assassin's Creed, by contrast, just seemed to be gunning for a small group of gaming geeks and even they didn't show up in droves over the holiday frame.

Fences bowed this weekend, and while it only got a single day (Christmas Day on Sunday) to perform, it turned in solid results, grossing $6.6 million. Not too much to say about this one only because we have only a single day of box office to go on, but that's a great start and it'll be interesting to see how it performs over the week and into New Year's weekend. For what it's worth, it's about 12% below the opening day of War Horse, the last major drama to open on Sunday Christmas Day.

Also expanding on Christmas Day was La La Land, which came in at eighth place and grossed $5.7 million this weekend putting, $3.9 million of which came from yesterday when it expanded into wide release in 734 theaters. La La Land has now grossed $13.6 million domestically and looks to have plenty of cash to still generate in the weeks to come.

And then there were the holdovers, which mostly dipped over 40% this frame thanks to Christmas eve diluting Saturday grosses. Moana in seventh place (just one space above La La Land) dropped 42% to add $7.3 million to its domestic gross that now stands at $180.3 million. Office Christmas Party went down 40% to gross another $5 million, bringing its domestic gross to $42 million. Roudning out the top ten was Collateral Beauty, which grossed $4.2 million this weekend, a 40% drop from last weekend. So far, Will Smith's latest motion picture has grossed a disastrous $15.2 million in ten days. Next up was Manchester By The Sea, which had the smallest dip in the top twelve by far, going down only 28% to gross another $3 million, bringing its domestic cume to an outstanding $19.7 million.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, went down 42% to add $2.9 million to its domestic cume that now stands at $214.2 million. Jackie expanded into 348 locations and did decent business, grossing $1.23 million for a per-theater average of $3,549. Arrival lost the majority of its theaters this weekend, which resulted in by far its largest weekend-to-weekend dip, plummeting 64% this weekend to gross $1.08 million;. Interestingly, it's per-theater average of $2,368 was better than the per-theater average posed by fellow Paramount Pictures release Office Christmas Party this weekend. Lion expanded its presence into exactly 500 theaters yesterday, resulting in a weekend gross of $897,000, $722,000 of which came from just yesterday. It has now grossed $1.7 million domestically.
Doctor Strange, like Arrival, lost the majority of its theaters this weekend, resulting in a massive 71% plummet that gave it another $634,000 to bring its domestic cume to $228.2 million.

Well, a gaggle of movies debuted in limited release this weekend, which meant a whopping three movies this weekend managed to have $20,000+ per-theater averages, a notable feat! Highest among these newbie arthouse films was Hidden Figures, which only had got to play for one day (yesterday on Christmas Day) this weekend but managed to top all other limited release titles by grossing $515,499 at 25 locations for a per-theater average of $20,620. That's an outstanding debut, especially given that it's playing in about 20 more theaters than usual limited release debuts and the fact that it only had one day to play this weekend. This could bode well for the title when it goes into wide release on January 6th.

Patriot's Day similarly had a strong showing in limited release, bringing in $161,306 in 7 theaters for a per-theater average of $23,044. Displaying lower overall grosses but better stamina in terms of per-theater average performance was Silence, which grossed $131,000 at 4 locations for a per-theater average of $32,750. Julieta bowed with $91,906 in 6 theaters for a per-theater average of $15,318. Displaying more mixed results was Live By Night, which premiered yesterday to the tune of $33,000
in 4 locations for a per-theater average of $8,250. Finally, A Monster Calls outright bombed in limited release, grossing only $30,910 over the entire weekend (it debuted on Friday) at 4 locations for a per-theater average of only $7,728.

The Top 12 movie this weekend grossed $171 million, a 39% decrease from this same weekend last year when Star Wars: The Force Awakens kept on dominating the box office. It was also down from the same weekend in 2014 and 2013, though improved on the same weekends from 2012 and especially 2011. It's worth noting that, as of yesterday, 2016 had grossed $10.751 billion and it's still up in the air whether or not we'll be able to beat 2015's $11.128 billion cume. These next few days will make all the difference on that front.

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