erik lundegaard

Sunday March 03, 2019

More Box Office Ho Hum; the Story is Abroad

“Wandering Earth” is the biggest movie worldwide of 2019. 

The second weekend of the third “How to Train Your Dragon” movie, which opened bigger than its predecessors ($55 million vs. $43 and $49), dropped 45% but still won the weekend, grossing another $30 million, to bring its 10-day domestic total to $97. 

In second place, the ninth Tyler Perry Madea movie, “A Madea Family Funeral,” had the fourth-best opening of that series at $27. Most Madea movies make a little more than twice what they did opening weekend, so expect the same. The eight previous grossed between $47 and $90. 

The other big opener, the camp horror film “Greta,” starring Isabelle Hupert and Chloe Moretz, opened with a pittance: $4.5 in 2400 theaters. Eighth place.

The rest of the top 10 were the other non-performers of spring—“Alita,” “LEGO 2,” “Fighting with My Family,” “Isn't It Romantic,” “What Men Want” and “Happy Death Day 2 U”—along with, in fifth place, recent Academy Award winner “Green Book,” which expanded by 1300+ theaters but whose per-theater average was still low: $1.7k.

More ho-hum, in other words.

The real story this spring has been worldwide rather than domestic box office:

  Domestic Total Worldwide Total
1 Glass $109 The Wandering Earth $665
2 The Upside $102 How to Train Your Dragon 3 $375
3 How to Train Your Dragon 3 $97 Alita: Battle Angel $350
4 LEGO Movie 2 $91 Glass $243
5 Alita: Battle Angel $72    

Why is there only four movies under Worldwide? Because Box Office Mojo only lists four 2019 movies among its top 768 all-time.—or any movie that's done better than $200 worldwide. Only four movies in 2019 have done that. 

Which ... isn't exactly true. Or it's only true for movies that have opened in the U.S. Because two other Chinese movies (to go with their big one, “Wandering Earth”) have grossed more than $200 in China alone this year—“Crazy Alien” at $321, and “Pegasus” at $246—but neither has played in the U.S. yet. Not sure why Box Office Moho doesn't list them in worldwide. They‘re part of worldwide, after all. Worldwide shouldn’t mean “As long as they‘ve played in America.” And Box Office Mojo knows their numbers since that’s where I got them. Must be a kind of left hand/right hand thing. They should fix that. 

The Chinese numbers, by the way, are so far ahead of U.S. numbers because one of China's busiest moviegoing periods, Chinese New Year, already happened. Even so, the difference is starker because domestic b.o. is down 26% from last year. One wonders if maybe this isn't the year China passes the U.S. as the world's largest movie market. 

We‘ll see if “Captain Marvel” can come to the rescue. If it’s even a rescue. Maybe it's just a torch passing. 

Posted at 05:28 PM on Sunday March 03, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office  
« Greatest Gatsby   |   Home   |   Movie Review: Great Guy (1936) »

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard