Weekend Box Office (April 28 - 30, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND The month's biggest blockbuster remained the top movie in North America and raced past the $1 billion mark at the global box office as well. Universal's unstoppable smash The Fate of the Furious grossed an estimated $19.4M in its third weekend, dropping an understandable 50% in the process, and lifted its domestic tally to $192.7M.
But overseas is where the magic is for this action franchise. 69 markets delivered an estimated $68.4M this weekend pushing the offshore total to a stunning $867.6M. China leads the way with an incredible $361M which is second best all-time among Hollywood films there behind the $390.5M of Furious 7. But in local currency, F8 surpassed F7 this weekend ranking number one all-time among US films. The global tally now stands at a towering $1.06 billion (82% from international markets) on its way to a possible finish of $1.3 billion which will put it among the top ten worldwide blockbusters of all-time.
The second and third spots at the box office this weekend were taken by new films that surged past expectations and saw sales driven primarily from ethnic groups across America. The Lionsgate comedy How to be a Latin Lover delivered a terrific debut opening to an estimated $12M from 1,118 locations for a sizzling $10,750 average. 89% of the audience was Latino and actor Eugenio Derbez provided the starpower. Reviews were mixed but did not seem to factor much into attendance.
Generating the biggest opening weekend of all-time for an Indian film in North America, the effects-driven adventure sequel Baahubali 2 bowed in third place with an estimated $10.1M from 425 locations for a muscular $23,765 average. Released by Great India Films, the epic saga was the concluding chapter following the 2015 predecessor which was a box office sensation around the world. No Indian film has ever opened this high on the U.S. box office chart before.
The weekend gross for Baahubali 2 includes over $2M from previews which began on Thursday afternoon which were rolled into Friday's figure. As an event film with impressive visuals and a built-in fan base, 45 IMAX screens were booked and contributed $1.8M over the weekend for an amazing average of $40,000 per screen. The Telugu language film also offered versions in other Indian languages such as Tamil and Hindi to appeal to various segments of the overall Indian-American moviegoing crowd. Ticket prices were extra high, often ranging between $25 to $30, though premium seating like IMAX featured some tickets that cost more than $42.
Higher pricing helped, but that does not take away from what a remarkable box office achievement this was. Baahubali 2 is not a Bollywood film, but that genre's biggest opening weekend ever in North America was $3.75M for last December's Dangal from 331 locations across its Thursday-to-Sunday debut period. That film had standard ticket prices and no IMAX option. Overall, foreign-language films from any country almost never reach the $10M neighborhood on opening weekend.
Emma Watson and Tom Hanks saw their new critically panned thriller The Circle debut in fourth place to soft results with an estimated $9.3M. The PG-13 film averaged a mild $2,947 from 3,163 locations and those who did show up hated the film. It earned a rare D+ grade from CinemaScore polls. Studio data from STX indicated that it was more of a Watson crowd with 62% being female and 44% being ages 18 to 34.
Big family blockbusters nicknamed BB followed. The Fox toon The Boss Baby dropped 29% to an estimated $9.1M for a new domestic tally of $148.5M. Global sits at $396.6M. Disney's mammoth hit Beauty and the Beast fell 34% to an estimated $6.4M lifting the cume to $480.1M from North America with the worldwide haul now $1.14 billion.
The comedy Going in Style was down 27% with an estimated $3.6M weekend while Sony's toon Smurfs: The Lost Village collected an estimated $3.3M, off 32%. Totals are now $37.3M and $37.7M, respectively. The Fox Searchlight hit Gifted ranked ninth with an estimated $3.3M, down 28%, for a $15.8M sum. Rounding out the top ten was the Warner Bros. flop Unforgettable which dropped 51% in its second weekend to an estimated $2.3M making for a wimpy $8.9M in ten days.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $78.8M which was down 19% from last year when The Jungle Book stayed at number one with $43.7M; and down 65% from 2015 when Avengers: Age of Ultron kicked off the summer season in the top spot with $191.3M.
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Compared to projections, How to be a Latin Lover surged ahead of my $4M forecast while The Circle was on target with my $9M prediction.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 launches the summer movie season.
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: April 30, 2017 at 2:45PM ET
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