Weekend Box Office (January 27 - 29, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND The suspense thriller Split held onto the number one spot for a second time and beat all newcomers plus Oscar nominees to lead the North American box office once again. Universal's low-cost hit collected an estimated $26.3M slipping only 34% from its incredible opening weekend. Scary movies rarely see drops this low and the strong word-of-mouth is helping at the multiplexes by generating repeat business and luring in new customers.
Split is only the second film ever for director M. Night Shyamalan to spend its first two weeks at number one joining his sleeper smash The Sixth Sense from August 1999. With an impressive $78M to date, the James McAvoy film is already the filmmaker's highest grossing movie in seven years and looks to be on course to finish in the neighborhood of about $140M. That would make it the third best gross of Shyamalan's entire career behind Sense and 2002's Signs. Budgeted at just under $10M, Split stands at $101.7M worldwide and climbing and looks to be one of 2017's more profitable titles.
Universal claimed second place too this weekend with the opening of its family friendly canine story A Dog's Purpose which debuted to an estimated $18.4M from 3,059 locations for a solid $6,010 average. It was a healthy turnout considering the crowded marketplace and the various protests and boycotts that took place because of the film production's treatment of animals. Reviews were lackluster, but the PG-rated film attracted a paying crowd as dog films often do and earned an A grade from CinemaScore which bodes well for the weeks to come.
As a newly minted Best Picture Oscar nominee, the feel-good drama Hidden Figures displayed fantastic durability dipping a mere 11% in its fourth weekend of wide release to gross an estimated $14M holding steady in the number three slot. The Fox hit smashed the $100M mark raising its domestic tally to a robust $104M and counting. With more audiences coming in due to word-of-mouth and awards buzz, breaking the $150M mark is certainly possible.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the last installment in the long-running zombie action franchise, opened in fourth place with an estimated $13.9M from 3,104 theaters for a decent $4,462 average. It was almost identical to the $13.7M debut of Sony's other sequel this month, Underworld: Blood Wars, which opened in the number four slot three weeks ago. Both are made for global audiences and like Blood, the latest Evil generated the lowest U.S. opening ever for the series. Final Chapter carries a pricetag of only $40M and is already sitting at a gross of $78.4M worldwide. The six-film franchise has now broken $1 billion in global box office to date.
Leading all films with 14 Oscar nominations, the musical hit La La Land expanded once again into full national release in 3,136 locations and saw its weekend gross jump up 43% to an estimated $12.1M. The Lionsgate pic was the second Best Picture nominee in the top five to join the century club this weekend. Cume to date is $106.5M and like Hidden Figures, it also hopes to find its way to the $150M level. Global take to date is $223.6M.
Vin Diesel's action sequel xXx: Return of Xander Cage dropped 59% in its second weekend to an estimated $8.3M raising its cume to $33.5M for Paramount. Universal's toon smash Sing followed with an estimated $6.2M, off 31%, for a new total of $257.4M with the global tally now at $463.7M.
2016's biggest domestic blockbuster Rogue One declined by only 29% in its seventh weekend and grossed an estimated $5.1M. Disney has amassed $520.1M in North America and $1.03 billion worldwide which makes it the number two global hit of last year behind only Captain America: Civil War's $1.15 billion. Monster Trucks took in an estimated $4.1M, off 42%, for a $28.1M cume for Paramount. The new Matthew McConaughey film Gold settled for a tenth place bow grossing an estimated $3.5M from 2,166 locations for a soft $1,602 average. Reviews were mixed for the R-rated drama.
Some Academy Award nominees for Best Picture found Oscar gold this weekend as more moviegoers became interested in them. Lion rose 35% to an estimated $2.4M and $19.8M to date for The Weinstein Co. Moonlight doubled its run and shot up 159% to an estimated $1.5M giving A24 $17.8M. The sci-fi drama Arrival went back into nationwide release and collected an estimated $1.5M putting Paramount at $97.3M. The studio's Denzel Washington project Fences climbed up 16% to an estimated $1.4M with $50.8M overall.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $111.7M which was down 6% from last year when Kung Fu Panda 3 opened at number one with $41.3M; but up 40% from 2015 when American Sniper remained in the top spot with $30.7M.
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Compared to projections, A Dog's Purpose opened higher than my $13M forecast while Resident Evil: The Final Chapter came in a little under my $16M prediction. Gold was close to my $5M projection.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Rings and The Space Between Us open.
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 29, 2017 at 1:20PM ET
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