August 15th, 2017
Annabelle: Creation’s opening saved summer for one week, but that’s the practically the only good news we have to talk about this weekend. The film pulled in $35.01 million, which is over three times its nearest competition. That’s the bad news. The depth this past weekend was terrible, as there were only two films with more than $10 million, compared to five films last weekend. The overall box office fell 4.6% to just $117 million. Worse still, this is 32% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2017 is behind 2016 by $360 million or 4.9% at $7.07 billion to $7.43 billion. The year has lost over $500 million compared to last year’s pace during summer alone. This is a disaster.
August 8th, 2017
The Dark Tower opened on the very low end of expectation with just $19.15 million over the weekend. The rest of the box office was more or less in line with predictions, leading to a $122 million haul, which is a 15% decline from last weekend. A 15% decline is pretty normal this time of year. What isn’t normal is a decline of 47% from last year; a year-over-year decline like that normally only happens when there’s a misalignment in holiday, but it wasn’t a surprise, as Suicide Squad earned more last year than the entire box office earned this year. 2017 was already behind 2016’s pace by a large amount, but that deficit more than doubled from last weekend and is now $270 million or 3.8% at $6.89 billion to $7.17 billion. Remember, 2017 started the summer about $200 million ahead of 2016, so the summer has been a disaster at the box office.
August 6th, 2017
Suddenly, it feels like the end of Summer at the box office. Last weekend’s modest opening for The Emoji Movie made the top end of the chart look weak, and The Dark Tower’s projected $19.5 million debut this weekend has done nothing to fill the void. There are a few films coming out in the next few weeks that could unexpectedly produce robust numbers (The Hitman’s Bodyguard is probably the best bet for a surprise break-out), but there’s nothing on the schedule until Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Lego Ninjago Movie come out on September 22 that can be relied on to crack $100 million at the domestic box office.
August 5th, 2017
On the positive side, The Dark Tower topped the chart on Friday. On the negative side, it missed both our original prediction, as well as our lowered expectations with just $7.725 million. The film’s reviews are terrible at 19% positive, while its CinemaScore is a mere B, so that’s bad news for the film’s legs, putting it on pace for between $18 million and $19 million. It’s good news for Dunkirk, which has a real shot at first place on the weekend chart for the third weekend in a row.
August 4th, 2017
The Dark Tower got off to a soft start with $1.8 million in previews last night. This is on the low end of expectations, but not a complete disaster. It is about 20% higher than Atomic Blonde earned last weekend and if the film has the same legs, this will result in a $21 million to $22 million opening weekend. Even if it just matches the the average previews to weekend multiplier so far this summer, it would open with $18 million over the weekend. That would still be enough for first place, and quite frankly, it’s not that bad for a film that cost $60 million to make. The average international to domestic ratio this year has been about 2 to 1. If The Dark Tower earns $50 million domestically and $100 million internationally, then it will break even sometime on the home market. On the other hand, its reviews have been simply terrible and that could sink it to the $15 million level, giving Dunkirk a real shot at first place.
August 3rd, 2017
August has begun, but I’m starting to think Summer has already ended. The Dark Tower was expected to be the big hit of the weekend, but its reviews are a lot weaker than anticipated. Kidnap is also opening wide and its early reviews were good, but that has changed as the day has gone on. Furthermore, it’s buzz is really quiet, so its box office chances are not good. Finally Detroit is expanding wide this weekend. Its reviews are among the best we’ve seen all summer, but it is tough to go from a limited release to a wide release, so I’m not overly optimistic. This weekend last year, Suicide Squad opened with $133.68 million. It is very likely the entire box office will be less than $133.68 million this weekend. 2017 is going to get destroyed in the year-over-year comparison.
August 1st, 2017
July is over and we should all be happy about that. Granted, there were some positive results we can talk about. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a huge hit and Despicable Me 3 will pull in a sizable profit before it reaches the home market. There were also a couple of other $100 million hits and a midlevel hit or two; however, overall, 2017 wasn’t able to compete with 2016 and the box office finally lost its lead over last year. 2017 started the summer about $200 million ahead of 2016, but will finish July about $100 million behind last year’s pace. August doesn’t look any better. There are a couple of films that have a reasonable shot at $100 million, The Dark Tower and Annabelle: Creation, as well as a few that should be solid midlevel hits. However, last year we had Sausage Party and Don’t Breathe, both of which nearly hit $100 million, then we had midlevel hits like Pete’s Dragon, Kubo and the Two Strings, and War Dogs. I don’t know if 2017 will be able to compete with that. ... Now some of you are thinking I forgot about Suicide Squad. Trust me, I will never forget that movie. I ignored it to make a point. Even without Suicide Squad, I don’t think 2017 will make up the deficit it has with 2016. With Suicide Squad, it is going to be a disaster. I want to be optimistic, but there’s no evidence to suggest I should be.
July 28th, 2017
Next weekend is the first weekend of August, which is a traditional dumping ground for films that looked like they were a good idea when they were greenlit, but something went horribly wrong. This leads to a lot of films that may or may not open truly wide. For instance, Kidnap is opening in an estimated 2,200 theaters, and Detroit is opening in limited release this Friday, and doesn’t have a firm expansion estimate yet. The reviews for Detroit are amazing, so it should expand significantly, but we don’t know by how much, yet. This does leave The Dark Tower as the only real choice for the target film in this week’s box office prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening three-day weekend box office number for The Dark Tower.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film’s opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a Frankenprise consisting of their choice of either one TV on DVD release, two movies, or a kids package (could be a theatrical release, a couple of single-disc TV on DVD releases, or a full season TV on DVD release).
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film’s opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a Frankenprize, as described above.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven’t won, or haven’t won recently, and they will win the final Frankenprize, as described above.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don’t delay!