This weekend’s box office figures look pretty much like last week’s numbers. Nothing to see here folks. Just move along. Everything dropped significantly, but that always happens after the Thanksgiving holiday passes. Things always pick up again during the Christmas/New Year’s Day holidays, so look for b.o. numbers to be relatively low and steady for the next three weeks.
The No.1 film again was Disney’s animated feature “Moana” with $28 million, for a total of just under $120 million so far, and another $57 million overseas, while “Fantastic Beasts” was again number 2 with $18.5 million for the weekend, and $183.5 million domestically and $607 million worldwide to date. Warner was hoping that they would finally have another huge franchise after “Harry Potter”, and they definitely have it now.
One surprise was the sci-fi film “Arrival” which moved up to third place with $7.3 million, but that was due mainly to the fact that it opened on 473 more screens. But the film is turning out to be a real sleeper hit for Paramount with over $105 million worldwide to date.
“Almost Christmas”, which actually rose up 5% last weekend, took a huge drop of 58% this weekend, making its chances of hitting $50 million unlikely, but it definitely will top off in the lower $40 millions or so. Still not bad for the film, which cost a very modest $17 million to make.
The only new film to get a major release this weekend was the horror film “Incarnate”, which totally tanked. But the film was not screened in advance for the media which is always a sign of bad news.
And in the ongoing saga that is “Moonlight”, the film winded up in 14th place with $915,700 and just under $9.9 million total so far. At this stage, a $20 million total looks pretty unlikely, but it still could hit $15 million domestically, which would still make it a profitable film.
And finally, to sort of followup of Andre Seawood’s recent excellent piece on Barry Jenkins vs Tyler Perry, and the future of the black art film, though it has just about finished its theatrical run in the U.S., Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” has grossed some $1.5 million in four overseas territories. Now that may not sound like a lot, but that happens to be the most number of foreign countries and the biggest overseas box office total for any Perry movie to date. The film opened in South Africa, where some of his films have previously played, but also in Egypt, Lebanon and United Arab Eremites. Some earlier films of his have even opened in the UK, Croatia and even Austria, but never four at one time. However there’s no indication that “Boo!” will open in other countries as well.
Which brings me to the recently-inked odd deal that Perry signed with Lionsgate after the success of “Boo!” which will see the studio distribute just two more films by Perry. Lionsgate basically dumped Perry after the studio started making anywhere from $700 -900 million worldwide with their “Hunger Games” franchise, and they had other projects in the pipeline at the time such as the “Divergent” series and “Ender’s Game”, which they thought would be just as huge.
Well those projects turned out to be major expensive flops, and nothing else Lionsgate has released since has worked very well, such as “Deepwater Horizon” which was another huge pricey flop for them. So that $73 million that “Boo!” made looks pretty good in comparison to everything else (relative to its budget), and supports the new deal with Perry. But just a two picture deal says that, even though Lionsgate needs Perry, they still see him as a brand with limited commercial potential, and that $73 million looks like chump change when they were making $800 million off another property.
All of this is to say, I wonder why Perry would even get back into business with Lionsgate. It’s not like he needs them. He could have made an even better deal with another distributor like Open Road, which would love to claim films in its library that made $50-60 million on average, which Perry’s films have done. Especially as rumors travel that say Open Road is facing financial challenges and could be facing bankruptcy or be bought up by another distribution company next year.
But again, I don’t understand why Perry doesn’t just go ahead and make the next step and distribute his films himself. Essentially he finances his films and owns them, so why not go ahead and make the final step? The business has changed a lot, and continues to do so. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to get your film in theaters, with digital projection now being the norm. No longer do you have to make thousands of individual prints for movie theaters, which means saving millions.
On top of that, when it comes to marketing, Perry’s films mainly sell themselves. OK, so he’s a lazy filmmaker who doesn’t care about filmmaking, and has real contempt for his fans. (At least that’s how I see him). But his devoted followers know exactly what to expect every time they see his films, and they evidently love them. So marketing his films isn’t that difficult at all. He has a strict formula and he sticks to it every single time. So why not take the plunge, cut out the middle man and release his films himself? To quote a certain soon-to-be President, what does he have to lose?
The top 12 box office grosses follow below:
1) Moana BV $28,373,000 Total: $119,888,330
2) Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them WB $18,545,000 Total: $183,507,403
3) Arrival Par. $7,300,000 Total: $73,078,514
4) Allied Par. $7,050,000 Total: $28,927,432
5) Doctor Strange BV $6,486,000 Total: $215,309,177
6) Trolls Fox $4,600,000 Total: $141,371,445
7) Hacksaw Ridge LGF $3,400,000 Total: $57,264,956
8) Bad Santa 2 BG $3,288,699 Total: $14,289,743
9) Incarnate HTR $2,659,000
10) Almost Christmas Uni. $2,500,350 Total: $38,147,500
11) Manchester by the Sea RAtt. $2,363,500 Total: $4,423,443
12) The Edge of Seventeen STX $1,660,000 Total: $12,768,490