The box office, true to form, was an unpredictable beast this weekend in the United States. Complete with disappointments and surprises, the fascination with what people watch is alive and well down here so let’s get into it!
The Florida Project (4 screens) opens for awards qualification and smashes $152,000 into the kitty for a whopping $38,000 screen average. Sean Baker’s (Tangerine) new independent flick was adored by critics awarding it 97% fresh. This is the buzz title for Oscars and is my hot pick to take out the Independent Spirit Awards in all the major categories. Mark this one on your ballot papers, people!
All that glitters ain’t as much gold as was intended as the mega-budgeted tent pole Blade Runner 2049 (4,058 screens), which boasts a $155m production price tag before marketing & advertising, is slated to come in well under expectation with a $33m-$36m opening weekend on an ballpark $8,200 screen average.That’s not a bad number per se, but it does mean that the best case scenario of the film is a sub $100m finish, well behind where it needs to be to make it profitable for the studios involved.
Going into the frame, pundits had the film pegged at a $50m haul (even that is on the lesser side of what a big budget film should be gunning to open to), but with only a circa $8.6m Friday was telltale signage enough that the film was never going to reach that. So what went against Blade Runner 2049?
The critical reaction to the film has been pretty stellar across the board (we liked it, but didn’t love it as much as many) with an 89% fresh score currently posted for it. Audiences are hovering between an A and A- for the feature but the film needs more of them..
The target audience for the film are now in their 50s. A huge majority of people under the age of about 35-40 aren’t going to remember or even know the original 1982 film Blade Runner which, as deadline rightly points out, was a box office softie ($28m) that found its life as a cult hit. Basically, the major cinema going audience of 2017 are too young to care about Blade Runner 2049 for its sentimentality hook, or are too young to even know the prequel exists.
The run time is a problem. At 160 minutes, 2049 longer than any of the Marvel, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and DC films , and it’s the 2nd nugget of information that gets dealt out in conversation on it. ‘It’s stunning to look at and it’s very long’.
Is it too cerebral? (Well, no, not really) Blade Runner 2049, much like its predecessor some 35 years ago, is rich in its rumination motif. What sets it apart from the other action heavy sci-fi franchises is that the film frames questions around existentialism and more philosophical arguments over out and out action. The trailers are heavy on aesthetics and showcasing the action elements but do little to explain what it is actually about. Did that keep punters away?
Eyes now turn to Asia to lift the film’s prospects as word out of Europe, UK and here is all solid but disappointing. China has yet to announce a release date and this will be utterly crucial to the theatrical success of the film. South Korea releases this week with Japan on the 27th, and if China comes on board it could mean the difference of $200m+ in international ticket sales.
My Little Pony: The Movie (2,528 screens) opens modestly to $10.6m on a $4,193 screen average. That’s a solid result for the low budget independent animated feature (rumoured $12m) that is solely targeted and young girls under 8. Although the critics weren’t kind with a 57% rotten score, given the lack of other product in the foreseeable future and the perennial brand name this should be able to push to a $50m finish.
The Mountain Between Us (3,088 screens) couldn’t overcome the mountain infront of it and bombed with $10m on a $3,238 screen average. Is it just me or did this Idris Elba/Kate Winslet starrer just come out of nowhere? The $35m production didn’t win favour with critics as they slammed it with a 46% rotten score. Based on that deathly screen average this will finish around the $30m mark at the box office.
It (3,605 screens) claims $9.28m in weekend 5 to bring its record breaking haul to $304.5m. Jeepers! With a waning $2,574 screen average, screens will disappear this weekend and, with Happy Death Day set to open this Friday, the box office will start to dry up rapidly from here. What an astonishing achievement for a film that will finish on $320m domestically, near 9.5 times its production cost!
American Made (3,031 screens) drops 52% in weekend 2 for an $8.12m gross on a $2,679 screen average. With $30.5m in the kitty, the $50m production will nudge that figure as its box office finish line in the U.S.. With $97m in the total global kitty thus far, it’s a disappointment for the production but should go on to a robust life in home entertainment.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (3,488 screens) is pulling up hard now as it drops 58% in weekend 3 for an $8m weekend. With $79.9m in the tank, a $95m finish line is most likely here which is 33.3% behind Kingsman: The Secret Service‘s $128.3m domestic take.
The Lego Ninjago Movie (3,611 screens) crosses $43.5m on its way to a $53m domestic finish.
Victoria & Abdul (732 screens) adds another 655 screens and takes $4m for the weekend. That’s a 267% jump in business from last weekend and grants it a healthy $5,464 screen average. Murmurs are circulating that this will hand Judi Dench the Best Actress Oscar 2018.
In Cinemas Friday 13 October, 2017 – Happy Death Day, The Foreigner, Marshall, Breathe
Figures from Deadline
1.)Blade Runner 2049 (ALC/WB/SONY), 4,058 theaters / $12.6M Fri. (includes $4M previews) / 3-day cume: $32.6M / Wk 1
2.)My Little Pony (LG), 2,528 theaters / $2.97M Fri. (includes $290K previews) / 3-day cume: $10.6M / Wk 1
3.)The Mountain Between Us (FOX), 3,088 theaters / $3.5M Fri. (includes $400K previews) / 3-day cume: $10M / Wk 1
4.) It (NL/WB), 3,605 theaters (-312) / $2.68M Fri. / 3-day cume: $9.28M (-45%) / Total: $304.5M / Wk 5
5) American Made (UNI), 3,031 (+7) / $2.34M Fri. (-61%) / 3-day cume: $8.12M (-52%)/Total: $30.5M/ Wk 2
6) Kingsman: The Golden Circle (FOX), 3,488 theaters (-550) / $2.3M Fri. / 3-day cume: $8.04M (-53%) / Total: $79.9M / Wk 3
7.) The Lego Ninjago Movie (WB), 3,611 theaters (-436) / $1.6M Fri. / 3-day cume: $6.4M (-45%) / Total: $43.5M / Wk 3
8.) Victoria & Abdul (FOCUS), 732 theaters (+655) / $1.2K Fri. (+300%) / 3-day cume: $4M (+267%)/Total: $5.9M/ Wk 3
9.) Flatliners (SONY), 2,552 theaters / $1.1M Fri. (-48%)/ 3-day cume: $3.7M (-43%) / Total: $12.2M /Wk 2
10.) Battle of the Sexes (FSL), 1,822 theaters (+609) / $697K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.4M (-29%) / Total: $7.7M / Wk 3
Til Death Do Us Part (IND), 562 theaters (0) / $202K Fri. (-59%)/ 3-day cume: $686K (-55%)/Total: $2.56M/ Wk 2
A Question of Faith (PURE), 608 theaters (-53) / $126K Fri. (-68%) / 3-day cume: $423K (-59%)/Total: $1.76M/ Wk 2
The Florida Project (A24), 4 theaters / $50k Fri. /PTA: $38K/ 3-day cume: $152K / Wk 1