Weekend Report: ‘Star Trek’ Takes Off, ‘Lights Out’ Shatters Expectations


It was a very busy weekend at the box office, and moviegoers decided to spread the wealth, with five different films all making over $20 million this weekend. Among the newcomers, Star Trek Beyond took in a solid if unspectacular $59 million, but the real story was newcomer horror film Lights Out, which was able to make more than fellow newcomer Ice Age: Collision Course, which flopped in fifth place with just $20 million.

Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, and took in an estimated $59.6 million in its opening weekend. Among its predecessors, Star Trek Into Darkness opened about $10 million higher, but it also opened on Thursday instead of Friday. Overall, this wasn’t a great start, but it was enough to avoid being labeled a disappointment. With a steady stream of competition in the next few weeks, look for Star Trek to finish with around $160 million.

In second, The Secret Life of Pets continued to do well, bringing in an additional $29 million. Despite being in its third week of release, that’s $9 million higher than Ice Age did in its opening weekend.

Third and fourth place were too close to tell; literally. Both Ghostbusters and Lights Out were estimated to take in the exact same amount, $21.6 million. This is extremely unusual, but my guess is that Lights Out edges out Ghostbusters by just a hair.

Regardless of which place it came in, Lights Out still did phenomenally well in its opening weekend. Carrying a production budget of just $4.9 million, the film pulled in a whopping $21.6 million, a fantastic start for a PG-13 horror film with no brand recognition or recognizable stars attached. This great start can be attributed to the films fantastic marketing, which did a great job of making the simple yet effective premise known in the first 30 seconds, in which a woman walking around an eerie textile factory sees some sort of figure that can only appear in the dark. Often times the most successful horror films are ones with some sort of simple, easily marketable premise. That isn’t everything, however; the film genuinely looked scary, and an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes likely convinced any skeptics to check it out. Director David Sandberg has already been picked up to helm Annabelle 2, set for release next may.

Continuing in the trend of disappointing sequels, Ice Age: Collision Course bombed with just $20 million all the way down in fifth place. Considering the $105 million production budget and recognizable franchise, this is a terrible start. Even with competition from Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, there’s really no reason as to why any animated film from a major studio should open with less than $30 million. Even The Angry Birds Movie managed to pull in nearly double this, despite being based on a phone game that peaked in popularity years ago. This could wind up being another Warcraft, grossing over $400 million worldwide with only around 10% of which coming from the domestic market.

Several new noteworthy releases came out in the specialty market, including the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, which took in a solid $1.88 million from 313 theaters. Indian film Kabali grossed $4 million from 236 theaters since its excellent start on Wednesday. The only problem is that it was absurdly front loaded, making nearly half of that just from Wednesday alone, when it opened in third place. Hillary’s America expanded into nationwide release, making a solid $3.7 million from over 1,200 theaters. That’s a solid start for a documentary, and was likely aided by the Wikileaks release of over 20,000 DNC emails. That’s just lucky timing, but it will still probably gross over $10 million by the end of its run. Don’t Think Twice opened exclusively in one theater, and pulled in a phenomenal $90K. Given that the film is about a sketch comedy show, and New York is obviously the filming location of Saturday Night Live, the connection makes sense.

Among various holdovers, The Purge: Election Year became the highest grossing film in the series domestically, with an excellent $76 million and counting. Independence Day: Resurgence finally topped $100 million, but that’s really nothing to celebrate given that the first film did that in a matter of about 4 days when adjusted for inflation.


Weekend Report: ‘Ghostbusters’ Fizzles Out, ‘Pets’ Repeats in First

Melissa McCarthy;Kristen Wiig;Kate McKinnon;Leslie Jones

It wasn’t a great start, but thanks to a built in fanbase and plenty of media attention, Ghostbusters avoided being labeled a bomb with a $46 million opening weekend. That wasn’t enough to take first place, however, which instead went to The Secret Life of Pets, which took in $50 million over its second weekend. Meanwhile, Cafe Society got off to a fantastic start in limited release, while The Infiltrator flopped.

Ghostbusters had predictions all over the board in the weeks leading up to its release, with many claiming the film would be dead on arrival with a weekend of under $30 million, while others said that it would pull in over $70 million. Turns out neither of those were right, but the film still wound up on the lower end of those expectations. The controversy and nostalgia likely pushed it to a much higher opening then it would have otherwise, meaning that a potential sequel would have a difficult time recreating this number. A similar result happened with this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which made less than half of its predecessor despite better reviews and a slew of fan favorite characters. While it certainly wasn’t a flop, this will probably result in a drastically scaled back or even cancelled “cinematic universe”.

Director Paul Feig stated in an interview recently that the film would need to take in around $500 million worldwide just to break even, but there is the idea that Sony may be willing to take a small loss on this film if it means they can have a reliable franchise and kickstart their other plans, such as a male-oriented spinoff and several sequels. These plans are further evidenced by the “Ghost Corps” logo on both the poster and in the beginning of the film. However, that plan seems less likely now that the film failed to generate the opening that it really needed.

So where can Ghostbusters go from here? Well, there are some rumors that Sony has artificually inflated the numbers for this opening, and that when the actuals come in it could be notably lower. Take this with a grain of salt, of course, but it wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Between a rush of fans and curious moviegoers wanting to see the film as soon as possible, combined with a mediocre B+ Cinemascore and a slew of competition on the horizon (Star Trek BeyondIce Age: Collision Course, Lights OutJason Bourne and Suicide Squad) it’s looking like Ghostbusters is going to play less like a Paul Feig movie and more like a traditional blockbuster. If the $46 million number holds, it will likely wind up somewhere around $120-$130 million. If it’s lower, then perhaps around $110 million, but only time will tell.

In first place, The Secret Life of Pets was down 52% to $50.5 million. That’s not a great hold, but the film is doing so well that it doesn’t really mean all that much. Illumination Entertainment’s releases tend to be a bit more front loaded than other studios, but it can still likely wind up with over $300 million. In fact, there’s a decent chance that it winds up outgrossing Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which would bump the DC tentpole down to 7th place. With several other contenders that could potentially do the same (Fantastic BeastsSuicide SquadMoana and Rogue One) there is a small but very real chance that Batman V Superman winds up outside of the top 10 for the year.

All the way down in 8th place, Broad Green Pictures’ The Infiltrator bombed with just $6.7 million since Wednesday. This is by far the biggest release yet for the new distributor, whose only other three releases are Knight of CupsThe Dark Horse and The Neon Demon, which bombed in wide release just a few weeks ago. With a budget of $47.5 million and a questionable release in just 1,600 theaters, it doesn’t look like The Infiltrator will be able to top $20 million domestically.

Among other holdovers, The Legend of Tarzan finally crossed the century mark with $11 million in its third weekend. This is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year, and could wind up with more than $120 million domestically. The Purge: Election Year is just days away from crossing the total gross of The Purge: Anarchy to become the highest grossing film in the series. With $6 million this weekend, it looks like the surprise horror hit will wind up close to $80 million, far more than originally expected.

Playing in just five theaters, Cafe Society got off to an excellent $355K, with a per theater average of $71K. That’s much higher than Irrational Man from the same weekend last year, but notably lower than Blue Jasmine from 2013, which took in over $100K average in 6 theaters. Still, this is an excellent start, and the film seems widely appealing enough to get some sort of nationwide expansion over the next few weeks. Elsewhere in the limited release market, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party grossed a solid $82.5K from just 3 theaters. That’s a similar number to 2016: Obama’s America from 2012, which grossed around $33K from 1 theater back in 2012. Hillary’s America is expanding into 1,200 theaters next weekend, but hasn’t gotten anywhere near the amount of media attention that 2016 did. The latter ended up grossing over $33 million domestically, making it the second highest grossing political documentary ever, only behind Fahrenheit 9/11 from 2004.



Weekend Report: ‘Secret Life of Pets’ Roars Into First


Illumination Entertainment officially cemented itself as a major name in animation, with their latest film The Secret Life of Pets taking the highest opening ever for an original animated film. Thanks to its strong marketing campaign and appealing premise, the film opened to a phenomenal $103.1 million. That’s way higher than last years Inside Out and only around $12 million lower than Minions.

It’s really hard to overstate just how impressive this debut is. Even with the marketing, the premise of talking animals is usually not one that can lead to such a monstrous debut. Disney’s Zootopia had zero competition and ended up $28 million lower in its opening weekend. Granted, that was a February release as opposed to July, but it gives an indication of how credible Illumination is as a brand.

In fact, the only ones not celebrating this release are Sony Pictures. Next week, they have the highly controversial Ghostbusters set to open, and with a big chunk of the family audience taken out, it’s looking like Pets will be able to maintain first place next weekend.

Also opening was wedding comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, which took in a solid $16 million. That’s notably above the $10-$12 million expectations going into the weekend, but still isn’t a great start for a film that cost $33 million. For comparisons sake, Dirty Grandpa opened with around $11 million, while Neighbors 2 took in $21 million. Overall, this is a fine start for the R rated comedy, which should be able to pull in over $40 million by the end of its run.

Surprisingly, second place didn’t go to Finding Dory this weekend. Instead, The Legend of Tarzan held surprisingly well after its breakout 4th of July weekend, down just 47% to $20.6 million. That brings it up to $80 million in just two weeks, and should be able to top the $100 million mark without breaking a sweat. At this point, it seems likely that the film winds up with over $110 million, making it one of the biggest surprise hits of the year.

Don’t feel too bad for Finding Dory, however, as the film managed to top fellow Disney release Captain America: Civil War to become the highest grossing 2016 release to date.

The Purge: Election Year took an unsurprisingly sharp fall, down 63% to $11 million. Believe it or not, that’s actualy the best hold yet for any film in the franchise. That’s especially surprising consdering it seemed like the Fourth of July weekend would attract extra attention. The first film fell over 70% in its second weekend, but that was mostly due to the very poor reception and word of mouth. By the third film, however, it became pretty clear what it was going to be, and audiences seemed to respond accordingly. With $58 million in just two weeks, it looks like Election Year will be able to pass the original film, and could even top the $71 million total of Anarchy. Don’t be surprised if a fourth Purge film gets greenlit any day now.

The final release from last weekend was The BFG, which failed to save face in its second week of release. Suffering a 60% drop, the film took in just $7.6 million. That’s less than half of what The Legend of Tarzan has made with the same amount of time in theaters, and about 2/3’s of what The Purge Election Year has made, despite costing fourteen times as much to produce.

In the limited release market, the only noteworthy opening was Captain Fantastic with a so-so $98K from four theaters. Given the strong reviews and appealing premise, it seemed like this really had the potential to break out, but a $24K per theater average for a film like this isn’t anything to write home about. It should be expanding in the next few weeks, but don’t expect it to get into more than 200-300 theaters at the most.

Action comedy Central Intelligence was able to top the century mark this weekend, bringing its new total to $108 million. Considering its still in sixth place, it should be able to wind up with around $120-$130 million by the end of its run. Speaking of which, The Conjuring 2 is just about to hit that same number, with a total of $99.3 million after 5 weeks of release.



Weekend Report: ‘Finding Dory’ Strong, ‘Independence Day’ Stumbles


Despite 20 years of fan buildup and a massive budget, Independence Day Resurgence failed to capture the audience of more successful reboots, and added to the long list of disappointing would-be blockbusters in 2016.

Finding Dory easily retained first place without breaking a sweat, down 46% to $73 million. That’s one of the best second weekends for an animated film ever, and brings its domestic total up to $286 million in just two weeks. Unless The BFG or The Legend of Tarzan really ends up surprising next weekend, it looks like Dory could score a three-peat in first place.

In second place, Independence Day Resurgence opened with just $41 million. That’s lower than the $50 million that Fox claimed they were hoping for, which in reality means they were banking on an opening of $60 million plus. While it was definitely an odd choice to not release the film over the actual holiday weekend, there’s a few reasons why they didn’t; for one, the actual 4th of July happens to land on a Monday, meaning that in a rare turn of events, the films slated for release will actually be released on Friday, rather than the usual Wednesday start. The original Independence Day pulled in $186 million over its five day start back in 1996 (adjusted for inflation, of course) while Resurgence is likely going to just barely break past the century mark. While it should hold up slightly better than average next weekend, a B Cinemascore and 32% on Rotten Tomatoes will keep it from becoming  a long term hit.

In third place, Central Intelligence edged out The Shallows with $18 million. That’s a decent hold for the action comedy, which has amassed $69 million over two weeks. It’s likely that the film will wind up with around $95 million total.

In fourth place, The Shallows surpassed expectations with a strong $16 million opening weekend. Most box office predictions had the film pegged at high single digits (except this one, not to brag) but its solid 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and strong marketing appealed to the teen demographic, who ended up making this a solid win for Sony. The series has had a few small hits such as this and Miracles from Heaven, but an awfully high number of misfires, including Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesThe 5th WaveConcussion, and The Brothers Grimsby. Their upcoming summer slate isn’t terribly promising, either; Ghostbusters is definitely a wild card, but a $154 million budgeted production isn’t exactly something the studio wants to feel iffy on, while Sausage Party is going to have a hard time hitting a mainstream audience.

In fifth place, Free State of Jones flopped with $7.7 million. Going into the weekend, there was some hope that the film could serve as decent counterprogramming for adult audiences, but awful reviews and a general lack of interest kept that from happening. With a $50 million price tag, it was by far the priciest release for distributor STX Entertainment, who’s only other wide releases were The Gift at $5 million, The Secret in their Eyes at $19.5 million, and Hardcore Henry at $2 million. This definitely isn’t a good result for a rather high profile historical drama, which should’ve at least hit the $10 million mark. With very little appeal in overseas markets, don’t expect Free State of Jones to break $50 million worldwide.

With a 49% hold in its third weekend, The Conjuring 2 surpassed the total gross of Annabelle, bringing its new total to $86 million, and past $240 million worldwide. There’s still a very slim chance that the film could pass $100 million, though it seems more likely that it will end up at around $95 million.

Finally, The Neon Demon was a massive flop, bringing in just $606K from 783 theaters. While director Nicolas Winding Refn may have procured a small following in the art house crowd, the ultra violent and sexualized horror thriller had no place in a release as wide as this. Speaking of which, Swiss Army Man opened in 3 theaters and started off with an excellent $114K, giving it a per theater average of $38K. The film is set to go wide next weekend, though no official theater count has been made available from the studio.


Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Warcraft’ Breakout after International Success?


After scoring one of the biggest opening days of all time in China, Warcraft finally hits domestic theaters amidst competiton from Now You See Me 2  and The Conjuring 2.

Warcraft was definitely one of the most “wild card” releases of the summer, and it had become exeedingly clear in recent months that it was going to be a mega blockbuster in the Asian and European markets. However, non-Tolkien esque fantasy tends to have a very tough time domestically, making the US one of its most questionable performances. It’s rare for a film to be so huge internationally but have very little interest in the United States. In fact, Warcraft may end up being one of the first films to break half a billion with less than a fifth coming from the domestic market.

Now You See Me 2 is the follow up to the 2013 surprise hit, which grossed over $300 million worldwide on a $75 million budget. That was very unexpected, but the films blend of young stars, action, comedy, and a heist ended up working as perfect counterprogramming against bigger franchises like Star Trek and Fast and Furious. As a result, the film grossed over $110 million domestically, making it one of the highest grossing original films of the summer. However, a sequel doesn’t exactly feel entirely warranted, and the originaly film doesn’t have that great of a reputation, namely due to the first films baffling and highly polarizing ending. The marketing does do a good job of making it seem like a bigger version of the first film, with the same crazy magic tricks and action that fans may have wanted, but a notably higher $90 million budget is going to be tough to overcome. This will likely end up being another film that makes most of its money internationally, and will likely still wind up turning a small profit.

The Conjuring 2 is also a follow up to a surprise breakout hit from 2013, but was arguably much more impressive. The original Conjuring was one of the highest grossing original horror films in years, which is especially impressive considering its R rating. A $41 million opening weekend for a low budget, original R rated horror film released in summer is entirely unprecedented, but as the films marketing started to get going, Warner Brothers realized they had potential for a big hit on their hands. They released trailers and commercials positioning it as more of a blockbuster event film than a standard horror film. Combine great reviews and word of mouth, and it ended up being a massive hit. Additionally, it has a very strong reputation, which could lead The Conjuring 2 to end up surprising this weekend. Among fellow Wan-helmed horror films, Saw II opened with around $30 million (much higher than the $18 million of the original Saw), while Insidious: Chapter 2 opened with more than triple the original Insidious. However, both of those opened much lower than The Conjuring and became more popular in the home video market, meaning that a jump like that isn’t likely for The Conjuring 2. Still, the horror market has been nonexistent in recent months, and a lack of major blockbusters could lead The Conjuring 2 to break out this weekend.

Bar for Success

Warcraft doesn’t really need to do well in its domestic run in order to be a success, but a start of over $30 million would be a solid result. Meanwhile, Now You See Me 2 is good at $25 million, while The Conjuring 2 should be hitting around $30 million to get a pass.


  1. The Conjuring 2 – $37.5M
  2. Warcraft – $26M
  3. Now You See Me 2 – $20M
  4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $15M
  5. X-Men Apocalypse – $10M

Weekend Forecast: ‘Ninja Turtles’ Set to Unseat ‘X-Men’


On a typically slow post-Memorial day weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hopes to capitalize on the first empty weekend in quite a while.

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a surprise hit back in 2014, opening to $65.5 million just one week after the mass success of Guardians of the Galaxy. Strong brand recognition and the appeal of the cartoon show lead it to gross nearly $200 million domestic, and for Paramount to put a sequel on the release schedule just days after the films release. With plenty of popular characters being added and a more family-friendly marketing push, Out of the Shadows has a very good shot at hitting over $40 million for the weekend.

Also opening is the romantic drama Me Before You and The Lonely Island’s new film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Me Before You is the latest romance book adaptation, and one based on a particularly popular novel that should propel its opening to over $10 million. On the other hand, Popstar will struggle to hit high single digits.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is the second feature film from comedy group The Lonely Island, the first of which was cult classic Hot Rod, which bombed back in 2007 with just $5.3 million in its opening weekend. When adjusted, however, that number bumps up to $6.6 million, which might actually be higher than Popstar. The faux-documentary style is one that is unusual for a mainstream theatrical release, and one that will likely grow more popular in the home video market.

Bar for Success

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opened to $65 million two years ago. With less competition and a slew of fan favorite characters, an opening among $40 million would make this a win. Meanwhile, Me Before You and Popstar are both fine at $10 million.


  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $38.5M
  2. X-Men Apocalypse: $23M
  3. Alice Through the Looking Glass – $11M
  4. The Angry Birds Movie – $10M
  5. Me Before You – $8.5M

Popstar – $5M

Weekend Report: ‘Jungle Book’ Shatters Expectations


Crushing any and all reasonable expectations, The Jungle Book topped the box office with a fantastic $103.5M opening weekend. Meanwhile, The Boss and Batman V Superman both saw noticeable drops, while Green Room got off to an excellent start in limited release.

The Jungle Book smashed pass its $70-$80M expectations with an excellent $103.5M. From that total, $32M was on Friday, followed by an excellent 27% jump on Saturday due to the films strong early word of mouth and widespread family appeal. With a very strong A Cinemascore, The Jungle Book should easily blow past $250M and has a very strong shot at $300M, though its long term prospects could be cut short by the arrival of Captain America: Civil War in just 3 weeks. However, there’s more than enough audience for the both of them, and considering it should retain the majority of its PLF and IMAX screens until then, $300M is definitely possible.

In second place, Barbershop: The Next Cut started off with a solid $20M. The film received surprisingly strong reviews, with a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. This result is fairly strong considering the last installment in the series was released 12 years ago. The film also cost just $20M to produce, and should wind up with around $50M total.

In third, The Boss plummeted 57% to $10.1M. That’s an awful drop for a comedy, and shows that not only was the films opening fueled by McCarthy’s fanbase, but also that the mixed word of mouth had a very hard impact on its long term potential. At this point, $60M seems unlikely.

In fourth, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to save face in its third weekend, down an additional 61%. So far, the film has failed to even double its opening weekend, which is seeming less and less likely as the film progresses. It’s actually holding worse than last years heavily maligned Fantastic Four, which made up a whopping 46% of its total in its opening weekend. At this point, there’s a very strong chance that not only Deadpool, but also Zootopia end up topping its total domestic gross, which is something that would’ve seemed impossible a few months ago.

In sixth, Criminal bombed with just $5.85M against a $31.5M budget. That’s a very poor result given the films all-star cast and lack of competition for adult audiences, but ultimately the poor reviews and vague lead to a lack of audience interest. Word of mouth isn’t too good either, with a poor B- Cinemascore.

As far as last weekends releases, Hardcore Henry flamed out 71% to a terrible $1.4M, giving it a per theater average of just $492. With the arrival of The Huntsman: Winter’s War next week, it’s all but guaranteed to disappear from theaters with under $10M total. Among the recent wide release festival acquisitions, this is easily one of the worst in terms of box office performance.

In limited release, Green Room got off to an excellent start with $91K from just 3 theaters. Given its hardcore, grim violence and extremely dark tone, it probably won’t be something that blows away a mainstream audience, but it will expand into a few more cities next week, followed by a nationwide release on the 29th. If it can utilize its niche appeal and strong reviews, it may be able to open with over $5M depening on how many theaters it is released into.

In 5 theaters, Sing Street got off to a decent start with $68K, giving it a per theater average of around $13K. That’s a solid start, but the film probably won’t end up in more than 100 theaters or so before ending its run.