Weekend Box Office Dec. 23-25 (Very Good News for Black Films + The End of “Star Power”)



On a busy movie holiday weekend, first let’s get to the black films that opened – “Fences” and “Hidden Figures.” For both films, the numbers are looking very good indeed. “Fences” opened wide yesterday (Christmas day) expanding from last week’s 4 screens to over 2230 screens, and it pulled in just under $6.7 million, with a total of $11.5 million as of today.

Those are great numbers, and one wonders what the film might have done if it opened up wider last week, instead of on just four screens. But it was a smart move since most were going to see “Rogue One” anyway. With a small production budget (in Hollywood terms) of just under $24 million, “Fences” should be a box office hit for Paramount and Charles King’s Marco Ventures.

As for “Hidden Figures,” the news is actually even better. Opening yesterday on just 25 screens, the film made $515,500 yesterday, and, as of today $955,000, with a $38,200 per screen average, giving it the second highest per screen average this weekend after Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” which had the highest per screen average of $45,000 on four screens.

Of course, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the number film again this weekend with over $64 million and $318 million so far domestically, and $555 million worldwide. In second place was Universal/Illumination’s animated film “Sing” which has made a total of $76 million since last Wednesday, and almost $100 million worldwide.

Sony’s big sci-fi romance/adventure film “Passengers” did OK, opening with $30 million total. But with a reported production cost of $170 million, that practically ensures the film doesn’t even remotely have a chance to break even, unless the overseas numbers are a lot better than hoped for. However, poor reviews and the casting of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence don’t necessarily improve the film’s chances of becoming a hit. Neither Pratt nor Lawrence have shown that they can bring audiences to the theater unless they’re in a franchise hit such as “The Hunger Games” or “Jurassic World” and one could argue that those films would have done just as well with other actors in their lead roles.

And let’s be honest, how many of you were eager to watch yet another sci-fi film where white people save the universe? Were there even any black people in the background in this film?

This brings to mind the issue of studios still relying on “star power” to make a film a success. Of course it doesn’t hurt, and can help can a film enormously if you can get A-listers on board, but that’s never been a guarantee that the film will eventually be a box office hit. Maybe even more so than ever. And even if a film casts a major star who has had a run of hit movies, eventually their luck will run out; it’s bound to happen that they’ll star in a stinker or three. Not even Kevin Hart can say all his films have been financial successes, and he’s had one of longest streaks of hits in recent memory. We also dealt with Will Smith’s challenges last week in extensive detail.

And that goes as well for the Warner Bros period gangster film “Live By Night” starring and directed by Ben Affleck, which opens wide next month, but opened poorly in limited release yesterday on 4 screens, with just $8,000 per screen.

The latest video game turned into a film “Assassin’s Creed” has made $22.5 million as of today, but like “Passengers” with a budget of over $125 million, it’s not likely to be a hit, unless it does spectacularly well overseas. And, by the way, when is Hollywood going to learn that films based on video games never do well at the box office? Why watch a movie based on a video game when you get the full experience by playing it at home?

Coming in fourth ahead of “Assassin’s Creed” is the raunchy comedy “Why Him?” with James Franco and Bryan Cranston, which has made $16.7 million so far, despite bad reviews; not bad for the modesty budgeted comedy. And the musical “La La Land” which Oscar experts (or at least think they are) believe is the film to beat for the Best Picture Oscar next year, expanded to just over 730 screens for a domestic total of just over $17.5 million. Add that to the $17.5 million that film has also made overseas so far, and it has more than equaled its $30 million production budget.

As for “Collateral Beauty,” the news continues to be dismal. The film has made only $18 million domestically to date, and a worldwide gross of just $36 million. And despite a very modest budget of $36 million, it looks unlikely to even break even when the worldwide box figures are added up. Yet another flop for Will Smith who still is in desperate need of a hit.

And finally “Moonlight” has grossed $12 million and looks like it’s headed for a total domestic b.o. gross and just over $13 million when all is said and done. It’s pretty good for an art house film played that played almost exclusively in urban cities. Not the $20 million that I predicted at first, but good enough for the under $5 million film; and it still has yet to open overseas. However it’s clear the film did not play well in the “flyover states” as I was afraid it wouldn’t.

This weekend’s top 12 grossing films follow below:

1) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story BV $64,377,000 Total: $286,375,674
2) Sing Uni. $35,290,000 Total: $55,902,640
3) Passengers (2016) Sony $14,850,000 Total: $22,175,201
4) Why Him? Fox $11,050,000
5) Assassin’s Creed Fox $10,280,000 Total: $17,772,398
6) Moana BV $7,402,000 Total: $180,434,191
7) Fences Par. $6,688,000 Total: $6,879,515
8) La La Land LG/S $5,729,400 Total: $13,611,711
9) Office Christmas Party Par. $5,115,000 Total: $42,153,602
10) Collateral Beauty WB (NL) $4,275,000 -Total: $15,276,500
11) Manchester by the Sea RAtt. $3,037,800 Total: $19,752,916
12) Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them WB $2,925,000 Total: $214,230,251


  1. I too don’t understand the idea of star power anymore. At this point in the game, I think Hollywood makes the grave mistake of thinking just because someone has a lot of followers or have had videos go viral, that translates into money. It doesn’t. For, those views from YouTube or that interview they did, it became big because it was free. You didn’t have to pay an extra $10 or $20 dollars, it was entertainment without a price tag.

    Also, while many may like to laugh at Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, it is because of their personalities. Those two aren’t the type of actors who could play anything and it is believable. People want them to be extensions of the zany people they have them pegged as. Anything straying too far from that leaves them skeptical, and if they aren’t being comical but dramatic, oh so comes the desire to wait till it is available in ways the people already pay for.

    The movie industry needs to wake up and spot the competition. Netflix is having quality movies available, Amazon is trying, and there is still the various premium stations which basically say, “Wait about three months and you can see what all the fuss is about” on top of their original shows. What reason is there to go to a movie theater besides a big screen and the movie not being available at home yet?

  2. Benedict Cabbage Patch… I mean… what’s his name? You know, that one white guy, he was in, ahh, sh*t, all those guys look alike to me. Anyway, Jennifer Lawrence is a draw who could play opposite Humpty Dumpty and make a profit. That is… in the right, well written story, she’s a good bet… so says Silver Lining Playbook, American Hustle and those Hunger Games. And, the woman can act.

    But as I was saying, Hemsworth, Pratt, Cumberhatch, Cooper and Gyllenhaul are all the same guy, in my world. But speaking of Gyllenhaul, he got some of my time this weekend. He played another strange character in Animal Instincts. And, like all those look alike white guys, there was a white actress, Amy Adams, who… well, I get her confused with the rest of those A-List white chicks. Anyway, the movie was very suspenseful. I enjoyed it.

    But yes, the following is so true–>”let’s be honest, how many of you were eager to watch yet another sci-fi film where white people save the universe?”

    Hello!!!! Not I! Passenger? Check, couldn’t do it. Rogue One? Check, but someone should have saved me from that saving… BORING. And then there’s “Arrival”. Look, I am about tired of seeing Forest Whitaker in anything, anymore. But, there he was in Arrival with one of those look-a-like white chicks saving us from the alien boogieman. Well, this time I did make it to the end of the flick but, I should have watched Bad Santa 2 instead. I mean, Arrival wasn’t all that. And I wanna know where they spent 50 Million dollars to make that? Talk about cookin’ some books.

    Oh, btw, I did watch Bad Santa 2 **snicker**. Since this is a PG site I’ll just say they’s some nasty Mfers :-). Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates ain’t got no shame.

    Now… the black movies. Well, I almost watched Moonlight. And, I almost watched Will Smith’s movie. And, “Fences” is in the oven.

  3. As of 12/26/16 the total for Fences is 11.5 + million according to Box Office Mojo and other web sites.

    • I must plead the 5th, Mark and Darla. But listen, lets just say that you wanted to watch all the new movies in the comfort of your home, at any time of the day or night, at no cost to you, would you?

      Well, that said, I am presently watching “Passengers” and “Fences” is on deck.

      @ Sergio, from what I’m seeing in Passengers, it’s not Jennifer Lawrence’s fault the movie didn’t do well. It’s basically a slow love story that has nothing to do with saving anybody. But the space craft does experience a bit of malfunctions

      Spoiler Alert!

      See, there’s a space craft on a very long mission ( YEARS!). The passengers are in a deep sleep state but Chris Pratt wakes up too soon. He gets lonely and decides to wake up Jennifer Lawrence. They “date” and the love music starts playing. But, when she finds out ol’ boy woke her up, she’s highly pissed off. She was like “how dare you wake me up so you could do the nasty with me!”.

      So now love turns to conflict. But again, the whole movie is just Pratt (the first half) and her (after he decides he’s not happy drinking and partying by himself). Now, Lawrence Fishburn does appear in the flick, but I’ll leave it right there.

      Anyway, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 30% rating. Without Jennifer Lawrence it could have been a 10% rating, imo.

      • Can’t even answer a simple question, but I digress… If passengers is the kind of movie that was on the blacklist, then we have nothing to worry about. And jen is overrated.

  4. Small correction re: this section….
    “And let’s be honest, how many of you were eager to watch yet another sci-fi film where white people save the universe? Were there even any black people in the background in this film?” [note: they weren’t saving the universe in the film AND there was actually a well known Black actor in the film with an integral role, albeit brief.]

  5. Paula, he said 11.7 + million in the article, so I think the $6,879,515 Total was just a transposition, if you will, on the top 12 List.

    • The $6,879,515 is what the film did on opening day, The $11.7 is what it made by Monday as I said in my piece

  6. The writers on this blog are a bitter bunch. You spend time being upset about films with white people and yet films with black people hardly do well at the box office. Please mention one highly successful black film since ‘Straight Outta Compton’. Moonlight was basically hype, I thought with all the noise, it was going to slash 100 Million dollars.
    I don’t know how you guys thrive on so much hate. Before writing, sit, reflect and think of all the happy things in life. Life is not all about being angry.
    Clearly, the ‘so-called film experts’ predicted the win of ’12 Years a Slave’ and it won but now because they are predicting the win of ‘Lala Land’ and because it features white actors in the lead, you guys are spitting subtle bile.

    I’ve found that we, black people are the most hateful bunch. We can live, breathe and enjoy life but we fail to. We are always in protest mode.
    There is hardly a week I come here that I don’t find an article attacking white people. If a white film does well, you find something to attack. If a black film does well, you still find a way of dragging white people into it. I want to understand the purpose of this site, is it to spew hate to white people.
    I loved the idea that THIS BLOG is dedicated to black films, I need news on black films. On the progress of black films, you can do that without so much hate!
    Shadow and Act, you can do better!

      • Yeah it’s pretty oblivious isn’t it? . So he is reading this site? Why don’t you go read some alt-right white nationalist site to make you feel better?

      Wait hold up! So black people aren’t suppose to critique white films? White people do it all the time to black films! 88% of Hollywood films with majority white actors in them are bad! So that means that only 10% of white films are good. The 2% of films that are made with majority POC actors can’t be compared to the 98% that are made with majority white actors!
      If you don’t like what is said on this blog, don’t come on this site! FYI The only person that seems very angry is you!

  7. Look at your numbers, cause it looks like Collateral Damage has already broke even…If the budget was 36 mil & it’s already grossed 36 mil (domestically & worldwide). Am I missing something here?

    “As for “Collateral Beauty,” the news continues to be dismal. The film has made only $18 million domestically to date, and a worldwide gross of just $36 million. And despite a very modest budget of $36 million, it looks unlikely to even break even “

    • ” Am I missing something here?”

      Yes you are. You’re missing marketing expenses which are not considered a part of the “budget”, AND, you’re missing the theaters’ cut of the “gate” pie (those who show the films).

    • A fllm has to TWICE what it was made before the studio can even show a profit. Beauty has to do at least $70-72 million before it could be considered a hit

      • Do you know how to write and converse in English? I want to support this website, however, the writing and “reporting” and I use that term loosely is embarrassing and often uneven. People like Andre Seerwood (sp?) the young PhD student write eloquently and thoughtful, and then your writing is sloppy and grammatically incorrect. Tambay, before you can hold Hollywood to a higher standard you and your staff need to look in the mirror.

      • “A fllm has to TWICE what it was made before the studio can even show a profit.”

        More than FOUR TIMES what it was made for, actually.

  8. I saw Fences today. The first half moved soooo slow and I thought to myself, ‘I’m not getting the DVD. I’m not watching this a 2nd time.’ The last half was absolutely stellar. My neck was stiff from me trying to keep tears from filling my eyes. It turned out to be a really fantastic movie. Loved it!!

  9. Moonlight is almost 12 million at the domestic box office. If the Academy of Motion Pictures nominates Moonlight in the best picture and director categories, those numbers are going to go up to the 20 million that you previously estimated. Hopefully, Moonlight hangs there in the theaters until the nominations on Jan. 24th.

    Will had a box office hit with Suicide Squad. So he’s good for now. Will just needs to go and do Broadway for one or two years. I think that may help improve his acting ability. It sure can’t hurt it.

    • Except he wasn’t really the main star of the film It was more of a messy ensemble film. I argue that if idris Elba had been in the film it would have done just as well. It was the popularity of the comic book that drove people to see it not who was in it.

      • Even in emsemble films, there are lead stars! Robert Downy Jr was in serveral emsemble comic book films and he was listed as one of the leads. Will Smith’s name was listed first. So yes he was one of the leads. If Idris Elba was in the film, he wouldn’t have been listed as a lead actor and he wouldn’t have been given the Deadshot role! Yes, the film would have still done well at the box office but Idris Elba’s contribution will be seen as insignificant and replaceable!

  10. I am black. I am just not an angry and bitter person. Wash that bile off!!!

    White people review black films but I don’t see them being bitter. Sometimes they praise the worst black films to avoid being called racits. The readers and writers on this site are a bunch of angry mobs.
    If you check my past, hippy comments, you will know that I am as black as black comes, I am just not angry and bitter.

    • @ Dongagmemuch, what you are speaks so loudly we can hear what say. Therefore, you can keep any further comments to yourself. And, don’t worry, we will not check your “hippy comments” (wtfit?)

      Now shue fly… you don’t want your white neighbors to know you were slumming with a gaggle of angry readers.


    • @ Don Gag Me. Excuse my earlier sentence errors on the angry side of me. So now, as the Staple Singers said, let’s do it again. What you are speaks so loudly we can’t hear what you’re saying. It hangs around you like a cheap annoying dime store cologne.

    • “Sometimes they praise the worst black films to avoid being called racits.”
      Sad, mainly for black filmmakers. It’s like having “yes men” on your team. No one around to tell you the truth, help you grow. Their loss.

    • DonGaGaleo@gmail.com
      “Sometimes they praise the worst black films to avoid being called racits.”

      You also forgot to say that they also smile in black folks’ faces and pretend that they are not racists! Another thing you forgot to mention is they praise some of the worst white films and act like they are the best thing since slice bread! As I said before, you are the one who is bitter and angry!

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