Monday Mixer: Three films zoom to the top of the box office

Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 at 11:28 AM Central

by John Couture

I know that it's a right of passage of being a parent, but nothing really prepares you for your child needing medical attention. Actually, with my genes, I'm surprised that it's taken my son three whole years before he finally hurt himself to the point of needing to see a doctor, but Friday was finally the day.

Two stitches, a black eye and a possible concussion later, my son was back to his old self and milking his injury for all that it's worth. Needless to say, he got cupcakes and treats all weekend long. So, please excuse me if I'm a bit behind and slow this morning.

Ironically, or perhaps not, this weekend also happened to be the best box office week yet for 2017. Three new films each debuted over $30 million and the Oscar contenders all held strong. Given the Valentine's holiday, this performance isn't exactly that surprising, but having this kind of resiliency is certainly promising.

Where will we go from here? It should be interesting as there really isn't a sure-fire hit until Logan comes out in March. Until then, it should be an interesting ride. Buckle up!

Box Office 411

It was a big weekend for The LEGO Batman Movie, but was it big enough? If you're like me and live in an echo chamber of other parents with toddlers, then your social media feeds were exploding with pictures of little kids going to see The LEGO Batman Movie. Based on this spurious "evidence," I was sure that The LEGO Batman Movie was poised to set new box office records.

When the estimates were released, I was all "meh" about them. Don't get me wrong, $55 million is a great number, but most projections had the film earning around $75 million this weekend and I'm sure WB was secretly hoping for an opening over $100 million. Most of the optimism stemmed from the success of The Lego Movie from which this film is sort of spun off from.

The expectation was that the familiar subject matter would elevate this film to a higher opening, but instead it trailed its predecessor by about $14 million. Given this pace, it's likely that The LEGO Batman Movie will end up with about $200 million. This is slightly under our predictions which we felt would make this new film perform at the same level of The Lego Movie.

Of course, there might be something at play here with the timing of its release. The Lego Movie came out a whole week before Valentine's Day, which gave parents a chance to see it without sacrificing a date night movie. This time around though, it appears that parents opted instead for a date night, which means that many parents will be "making it up" to their kids this coming weekend.

That makes for an interesting second weekend ahead. The Lego Movie had a superb hold, losing only 28% of its business. Will The LEGO Batman Movie perform along these lines, or even better? I guess we will see.

This weekend's performance from Fifty Shades Darker proves that yes, you can go to the well one too many times. It's not often that I criticize a $46 million opening, but when it's a sequel that earned less than half of the original film, I think the whipping, er writing, is on the wall.

I think it's safe to assume that audiences turned on this franchise pretty quickly as the first film had one of the worst second weekend drops in history, at 74%. Yes, that's right, the film dive-bombed that much and still Universal greenlit the sequel. I doubt it will matter, but this weekend's performance should be the final nail in the franchise, but I'm sure they will make the next one. When that one opens up with less than $20 million, everyone will be pointing fingers.

At this point, I don't think it's possible for Fifty Shades Darker to have the type of historic drop off as the first film, so I'm still optimistic that the film will end up with over $100 million.

The final film to open over $30 million was yet another sequel, John Wick: Chapter Two. Unlike Fifty Shades Darker, this film's performance is to be applauded. Going up against fierce competition, the second film bested the opening of its first film twice over. In fact, the total box office for John Wick was $43 million and Chapter Two should top that this weekend.

It looks like the Keanu Reeves starrer will top $100 million itself and should guarantee at least a third film in the series.

Quick Hitters

  • The Brits had their equivalent of the Oscars, the BAFTAs, this weekend and it seems that everything is looking rosy for La La Land. You can get the full list of winners here.
  • This is sort of off-topic, but the Grammys were handed out last night. Adele won a bunch of things.

    That's all for now. Like I said, it was a long weekend. More next week.