Weekend Box Office (April 21 - 23, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND Pulling in more ticket sales than the next five movies combined, the action sequel The Fate of the Furious easily topped a sluggish box office grossing an estimated $38.7M in its second round. Universal's 61% sophomore decline was almost identical to the 60% fall suffered by the last installment, 2015's Furious 7. Both films launched on Easter weekend.
Fate has amassed $163.6M after ten full days of release which is 35% behind the pace of F7 which was Paul Walker's final film, but only 4% behind Fast & Furious 6 from the summer of 2013. Fate looks on course to end up with around $230M domestically dipping a bit from the $238.7M of FF6. The studio already has scheduled chapters nine and ten in the lucrative series for Easter weekends in 2019 and 2021.
The latest Furious is following a pattern Hollywood has been seeing for a few years now - aging action franchises that do gangbusters in China anchoring sturdy international runs while domestic grosses see some form of erosion. Fate pulled in a stellar $58.5M in China this weekend propelling the total there to $319M after just ten days which already makes it the number two U.S. film in history in that market as it passes the $319M of Transformers: Age of Extinction. It is now trailing only the $390.5M of Furious 7 among Hollywood blockbusters.
Driven by this continued success, Fate pushed its incredible overseas tally to $744.8M and saw the worldwide cume climb to an incredible $908.4M. Vin Diesel and team will crack the billion dollar mark before the end of April on their way to a possible finish of over $1.2 billion. To date, the eight Fast & Furious films have grossed a combined $4.81 billion, or more than $600M a piece on average. The durable franchise has come a long way since the first movie in 2001 which cost only $38M to produce.
Families still came out for the DreamWorks Animation hit The Boss Baby which captured an estimated $12.8M in its fourth frame. Down only 20%, the Fox release has banked $137M to date with the new worldwide total sitting at $358.1M beating the $341M of last November's Trolls with much more to come. Boss should become the top-grossing original toon for DreamWorks in four years.
Disney's global juggernaut Beauty and the Beast held steady in third place in its sixth weekend reaching new milestones in the process. Belle grossed an estimated $10M slipping only 27% and boosted its domestic cume to $471.1M putting it into the top ten at number ten on the all-time list bumping off the original Star Wars. The first Skywalker saga's $469M lifetime tally, however, includes grosses from 40 years ago plus the Special Edition from 20 years ago, all in 2D, with significantly more tickets sold. Beast hopes to become only the eighth film to ever break $500M in North America.
With a strong start in Japan, its final market, Beauty and the Beast saw its international total climb to $629.2M as the worldwide haul broke $1.1 billion on its way to a possible final of around $1.2 billion. The Japanese debut almost doubled Cinderella which bodes well for a long run ahead there. The film's top overseas markets have been the U.K. and China with just under $86M each and Japan is likely to leap to third after its run is completed.
Disney enjoyed a nice start for its nature documentary Born in China which opened to an estimated $5.1M from 1,508 locations for a $3,413 average. The studio usually releases a nature doc each year around Earth Day and this newest offering edged out the last two which both bowed just below the $5M mark with more theaters. The G-rated panda pic has already made $9.4M in China.
Showing great stamina in its third weekend was the comedy Going in Style which dipped only 20% to an estimated $5M for $31.8M to date for Warner Bros. The Sony toon Smurfs: The Lost Village also held up well with an estimated $4.9M, down 28%, and $33.4M so far.
The domestic thriller Unforgettable starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson flopped on opening weekend grossing only $4.8M according to estimates. Warner Bros. averaged just $1,988 from 2,417 locations. Reviews were bad and the few who did buy tickets agreed as the R-rated film earned a dull C grade from CinemaScore. Fox Searchlight's single dad film Gifted expanded from 1,146 to 1,986 locations and saw its weekend take climb 46% to an estimated $4.5M with the cume now at $10.7M.
The big budget Armenian Genocide drama The Promise attracted few ticket buyers debuting in ninth place with an estimated $4.1M from 2,251 theaters for a weak $1,806 average. Reviews were mixed and cast members Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale did not provide much starpower to the PG-13 offering. The Lost City of Z, an Amazon exploration drama from Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street, expanded nationwide and enjoyed a nice jump up into the top ten. The PG-13 film grossed an estimated $2.1M from 614 locations and averaged a good $3,497. Reviews have been solid.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $91.9M which was down 22% from last year when The Jungle Book stayed at number one with $61.5M; but up 15% from 2015 when Furious 7 remained in the top spot with $17.8M.
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Compared to projections, Born in China, Unforgettable, and The Promise all came in close to my respective forecasts of $4M, $6M, and $5M.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Circle, How to be a Latin Lover, and Sleight all 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: April 23, 2017 at 3:10PM ET
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