erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Wednesday January 25, 2017

The Year in Box Office 2016: Cartoons, Superheroes, Crashed Chariots, and Nothing But Star Wars

Box Office losers of 2016

The official box office losers of 2016.

I haven't done a box office post in a while—since Labor Day, actually—so thought I'd do a quick round-up of 2016 now that all (or most) of the numbers are in.

Here we go...

Star Waaars! ... Nothing but Staaar Waaars! “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was the biggest box-office hit of the year, with $513 million domestic and counting. Not much of a surprise there. Every one of the seven “Star Wars” movies but one has been the biggest hit of its respective year. The one that wasn't? Attack of the Clones,“ in 2002, which was beaten at the box office by ”Spider-Man“ and ”Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.“

Badda-Bing: Last year, of course, ”The Force Awakens“ was the biggest hit of the year. In our sequel-hungry culture, that doesn't seem like a big deal but it is. In fact, the last time two movies from the same franchise were No. 1 at the box office two years in a row, we were in the midst of World War II. It was ”Going My Way“ in 1944 and ”Bells of St. Mary's“ in 1945. 

Do that to me one more time: Speaking of sequel-hungry: The top three movies—”Rogue,“ ”Finding Dory,“ and ”Captain America: Civil War“—were all sequels.  

OK, that's enough: At the same time, a whole bunch of sequels underperformed. Here's a chart comparing the box office of the 2016 film with its most immediate predecessor:

Ride Along 2 Uni. $91,221,830 $134,938,200 0.68
X-Men: Apocalypse Fox $155,442,489 $233,921,534 0.66
Zoolander 2 Par. $28,848,693 $45,172,250 0.64
London Has Fallen Focus $62,524,260 $98,925,640 0.63
Bridget Jones's Baby Uni. $24,252,420 $40,226,215 0.60
Now You See Me 2 LG/S $65,075,540 $117,723,989 0.55
The Divergent Series: Allegiant LG/S $66,184,051 $130,179,072 0.51
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows Par. $82,051,601 $191,204,754 0.43
Ice Age: Collision Course Fox $64,063,008 $161,321,843 0.40
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Uni. $55,455,765 $150,157,400 0.37
God's Not Dead 2 PFR $20,774,575 $60,755,732 0.34
Independence Day: Resurgence Fox $103,144,286 $306,169,268 0.34
The Huntsman: Winter's War Uni. $48,390,190 $155,332,381 0.31
Bad Santa 2 BG $17,781,710 $60,060,328 0.30
Inferno Sony $34,343,574 $133,375,846 0.26
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Uni. $59,689,605 $241,438,208 0.25
Alice Through the Looking Glass BV $77,041,381 $334,191,110 0.23

Why do I get the feeling ”White Chicks 2“ is in development? Uncommented upon phenomenon: For some reason, a whole slew of sequels were greenlit to movies from the early 2000s: ”Bridget Jones' Baby,“ ”Bad Santa 2,“ and ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.“ None worked. Fox went even further back, resurrecting ”Independence Day“ for another battle. Got KO'ed. If you adjust for inflation, ”Resurgence“ made 17% of what ”Independence Day“ did in 1996.

It needed the homoerotic subtext: But Fox has nothing on Paramount, which resurrected ”Ben-Hur,“ the biggest box-office hit of 1959, and one of the biggest of all time, for an August 2016 release. If you adjust for inflation, the 1959 version of ”Ben-Hur,“ starring Charlton Heston, grossed $848 million, while the reboot, starring Jack Huston, Rodrigo Santoro and Morgan Freeman, grossed $26 mil—or 3% of the original. 

Laughs, schmaughs: Only three live-acton comedies grossed north of $100 million: ”Ghostbusters“ ($128), ”Central Intelligence“ ($126) and ”Bad Moms“ ($113).

America, we have a problem: So what did we spend our money on? After ”Rogue One,“ the 12 biggest hits of the year were in the following genres: cartoon, superhero, cartoon, cartoon, superhero, cartoon,  superhero, superhero, cartoon, cartoon, superhero. (Via Vinny, here's a link to which is which.) The first movie that one might consider an adult drama, the kind of thing Hollywood used to make and market effortlessly, is Clint Eastwood's ”Sully,“ starring Tom Hanks, which grossed $125 million. It was the 22nd biggest movie of the year. There are six superhero flicks and eight cartoons ahead of it. 

If you distribute it, they won't necessarily come: Here's a chart of the lowest-grossing films that opened in more than 3,000 theaters. Reminder (since I forgot): ”Hardcore Henry“ is that attempt to do a first-person shooter game as a movie. The second and third films on this list are comedies starring Zach Galifianakis. Per ”Spinal Tap,“ I went to 11 films in order to include former box office champs Will Smith (”Collateral Beauty“) and Tom Hanks (”Inferno“):

Hardcore Henry STX $9,252,038 3,015
Keeping Up with the Joneses Fox $14,904,426 3,022
Masterminds (2016) Rela. $17,368,022 3,042
Blair Witch LGF $20,777,061 3,121
Ben-Hur (2016) Par. $26,410,477 3,084
The Finest Hours BV $27,569,558 3,143
Zoolander 2 Par. $28,848,693 3,418
Collateral Beauty WB (NL) $30,621,252 3,028
Gods of Egypt LG/S $31,153,464 3,117
Mother's Day ORF $32,492,859 3,291
Inferno Sony $34,343,574 3,576

Ni hao: The top 10 movies worldwide are all from Hollywood, but both No. 12 (”Mei ren yu“) and No. 21 (”Monster Hunt“) are from China. ”Mei ren yu,“ or ”The Mermaid," is the highest-grossing non-Hollywood film of all time. Ninety-nine percent of its money was made in China. 

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Posted at 08:11 AM on Jan 25, 2017 in category Movies - Box Office
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Saturday September 10, 2016

The History of Clint Eastwood's Box Office

Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks

Harry and Woody make a movie.

The new Clint Eastwood movie, “Sully,” starring Tom Hanks, grossed $12 mil domestically on Friday and is heading for a $34 million opening, according to Box Office Mojo. That would make it the fourth-best open of Tom Hanks' career, unadjusted.

And Eastwood's?

It would be his biggest opening ever. By almost double.

Really? But what about as an actor? A star.

The same. By almost double.

This should've been a trivia question, really. Before “Sully,” the biggest opener of Clint Eastwood's career, as both actor and director, was ... wait for it ... “Space Cowboys,” which grossed $18 mil in 2000. Second as actor is “In the Line of Fire,” with $15.2 in 1993. Second as director (and third as actor) is “Unforgiven,” which opened to $15 mil in 1992.

It's all a little scrimpy and stunning. That's his best? Clint Eastwood? 

But when you step back a bit, it makes sense. 

Eastwood's heyday as a box office star really occurred in the 1970s (and a bit in the early 1990s), when ticket prices were a fraction of what they are now, and opening weekend wasn't the thing it is now. Meanwhile, in the 21st century, he's made more prestige pictures, which open in a handful of theaters in NY and LA and then build and find an audience. Even “Gran Torino,” which grossed a total of $148 mil in 2008, and was, by all accounts, a classic revenge flick (Dirty Harry's “get off my lawn” movie), opened in only six theaters before finally expanding.

So if you look at total gross, I'm sure you'll find some bigger numbers. 

Not really. As an actor, Eastwood's biggest box office hit is that same old “Gran Torino” and its $148 mil. Which is “Kung Fu Panda 3” territory. 

Right. Unadjusted. But if you adjust for inflation, I'm sure it'll be something huge. 

Yes and no. Even when you adjust for inflation, Eastwood's biggest hit as an actor is “Every Which Way But Loose,” his first orangutan movie, which made $85 mil in '78 or $315 today. And $315 is about what “Suicide Squad” will end up making this year. So Eastwood's biggest hit is on par with a very, very lame superhero flick. I thought he was way bigger than that. But I guess he just kept going. And he had a loyal audience. They just kept returning. 

Here are his top 10 highest-grossing movies as an actor, adjusted for inflation: 

Rank Movie Studio Adjusted Gross Unadjusted Gross Release
1 Every Which Way But Loose WB $315,299,800 $85,196,485 12/20/78
2 Any Which Way You Can WB $227,565,900 $70,687,344 12/17/80
3 In the Line of Fire Col. $214,020,900 $102,314,823 7/9/93
4 Unforgiven WB $211,221,800 $101,157,447 8/7/92
5 Magnum Force WB $194,571,100 $39,768,000 12/25/73
6 Dirty Harry WB $188,819,500 $35,976,000 12/22/71
7 The Enforcer WB $187,983,000 $46,236,000 12/22/76
8 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly UA $181,138,300 $25,100,000 12/29/67
9 Sudden Impact WB $180,201,300 $67,642,693 12/9/83
10 Gran Torino WB $172,003,500 $148,095,302 12/12/08

As director, his biggest hit is a little more recent: “American Sniper,” which opened in four theaters in late December 2014 before absolutely killing it at the box office, and suprassing the last “Hunger Games” to become the biggest movie of 2014: $350 million. It's the only movie Eastwood has directed or starred in that was the No. 1 movie of the year.  

That was at age 84. And “Sully” is at age 86. To me, that makes Clint Eastwood more of a hero than anything he ever did as Dirty Harry.

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Posted at 11:24 AM on Sep 10, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday September 04, 2016

Box Office: Laborious Weekend

Morgan movie

Want some alone-time? See “Morgan” this weekend!

I don't get why more people don't go to the movies on Labor Day weekend. How is it different than any other three-day weekend, which can draw big bucks? MLK has “American Sniper”* ($107 mil), President's Day “Deadpool” ($152), Memorial Day “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” ($139). And Labor Day? The 2007, extremely forgetable version of “Halloween” ($30).

(*BTW: Am I the only one who finds it hugely embarrassing that the biggest movie to play on MLK weekend was called “American Sniper”?)

I assume Hollywood doesn't open shit during this time for a reason. They must know we're tapped out or something, but I'm not sure why that is. Why not one last fling before school (traditionally) starts? Weather often cooperates. 

Well, here we are again. Brad Brevet over at Box Office Mojo says the top 12 films this weekend grossed $75 mil, which is 24% less than last weekend, and even 13% less than last year's Labor Day weekend. So this is one of our most laborious Labor Day weekends. It's also the stinkiest box office of the year by about $8 mil.

Last weekend's horror flick “Don't Breathe” won the weekend again with $15.7, followed by the fifth weekend of “Suicide Squad” with $10, and the fourth weekend of “Pete's Dragon” with $6.

Of the openers, the 1920s-era melodrama, “The Light Between Oceans,” did best, finishing in sixth place with $4.9 mil in 1500 theaters, followed by the Mexican comedy “No Manches Frida” ($3.6 mil in 362 thtrs, 12th place), followed by the sci-fi horror film “Morgan” ($1.9 mil in 2,020 thtrs, 17th place). 

Wait. $1.9 in 2,020? That's pretty bad. 

How bad? This bad. It's a chart of the lowest opening grosses for any film that opened in more than 2,000 theaters:

  MOVIE Opening Gross Thtrs  Date
1 Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure $443,901 2,160 8/29/12
2 Delgo $511,920 2,160 12/12/08
3 Saw (10th Anniversary) $650,051 2,063 10/31/14
4 Jem and the Holograms $1,375,320 2,413 10/23/15
5 Rock The Kasbah $1,470,592 2,012 10/23/15
6 We Are Your Friends $1,767,308 2,333 8/28/15
7 Morgan $1,960,000 2,020  9/2/16

Not the company you want to keep. Why? It got negative reviews on RT, but I assume it's something else. I assume people who wanted to watch a sci-fi/horror story about a girl-figure with great powers simply turned to Netflix. 

Patricia and I watched “Stranger Things” during the week, and yesterday went to see “Hell or High Water” at the Cinerama in downtown Seattle. It's currently at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and while it's not 98% good, it's pretty damn good. Particularly given the options. But I don't think much of it will stick with me.  

Next weekend, Clint Eastwood's “Sully” arrives, followed a week later by Oliver Stone's “Snowden.” Too bad they're not going head to head.

Posted at 11:56 AM on Sep 04, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Monday August 22, 2016

Box Office: 'Ben-Hur' Crashes

Ben-Hur 2016

Scream all you want.

Well, that sucks. 

“Suicide Squad” dropped another 52% to $20 mil, which would've been third place two weekends ago and fourth place last weekend, but this weekend it's good enough for first. “Sausage Party,” the raunchy, anthropo-mocking animated film from Seth Rogen and company, came in second with $15 mil. In its second weekend, it dropped 55%.

None of the new big releases did well:

  • “War Dogs”: $14.3 mil, 3rd place
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings”: $12.6, 4th place
  • “Ben-Hur”: $11.3, 5th place*

This last is the shocker. The film got so-so reviews, but I heard the filmmakers heaped on the Christianity to get out the faithful. Didn't work. The movie that was the second-biggest box-office smash of the 1950s (after “Ten Commandments,” $848 million adjusted) couldn't even win its late-August opening weekend in 2016. It finished in fifth place.*  

I've said it before: a religious movie alone doesn't cut it (see: “The Nativity”). To become a hit, it has to become embroiled in the culture wars (“Passion of the Christ”; “God's Not Dead”). Being devout is all well and good, but the faithful want to rub someone's nose in it—Hollywood's, if it can. I suppose they just did. 

Anyway, I'm bummed “Suicide Squad” is still humming along. Two weeks ago I predicted it would top out at $270, but now it's at $262. Where will it stop? $300, more likely. Short of that, if we're lucky. Last week I had dinner with a friend who was a fan. Or at least he saw “Suicide Squad” and liked it enough. I brought up a few of the issues I had with the film, its overwhelming stupidity, that it's just chunks of story placed together without thought for what connects them. I brought up the scene where Deadshot has to prove himself to Flag by firing weapon after weapon at cardboard cutouts. Why does he have to prove himself? Isn't Flag an underling? Isn't Waller the boss? Why does nobody else have to prove himself? And isn't it a little dangerous to be giving all of these weapons to this stone-cold killer—particularly with the sadistic guard he wants to kill right next to him? “Sure,” my friend said. “When you think about this stuff afterwards.” “No,” I said. “I think about it during. That's why it's painful.”

* ADDENDUM: The actuals have come in, and “Ben-Hur” actually finished in sixth place. Same gross but “Pete's Dragon” surpassed it. 

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Posted at 06:49 AM on Aug 22, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday August 14, 2016

Box Office: 'Suicide Squad' Drops But Not Epically

Suicide Squad

This thing still. 

Last week I said I expected “Suicide Squad” to take a big fall, and it did, 67.3%, but it wasn't an epic fall. I wanted it to be record-breaking to break Zack Snyder's stranglehold on Warner Bros. To save us all from more of this.

“Squad” still won the weekend with another $43 mil, bringing its domestic total to $222 and its worldwide to $465. 

These are the biggest drops for movies that opened in > 4,000 theaters:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $169 $47 -72.00% 4,375 $381
The Twilight Saga: New Moon $142 $42 -70.00% 4,042 $296
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 $138 $41 -69.80% 4,066 $281
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 $141 $43 -69.10% 4,070 $292
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $166 $51 -69.10% 4,256 $330
X-Men Origins: Wolverine $85 $26 -69.00% 4,102 $179
Fantastic Four $25 $8 -68.20% 4,004 $56
Suicide Squad $133 $43 -67.30% 4,255 $222

* in millons

Mostly “Twilight” movies and shitty superhero flicks. Not a good crew to be associated with. And I still say it won't break $300 domestic. 

“Sausage Party,” the R-rated animated movie from Seth Rogen, et al., came in second with $33 mil. Trailer here. It's all about taking anthropomorphized kiddie cartoons to their logical end. Anyone see it? Looks good. And 82% on RT. 

“Pete's Dragon,” also well-reviewed (86%), came in third with $21 mil. 

The new August Meryl Streep movie, even better reviewed (87%), came in eighth with $6.5 mil (but in only 1,500 theaters). 

Good options, people chose shit. WOTW.

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Posted at 01:23 PM on Aug 14, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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