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Weekend Wrap-Up: New Releases feel Unloved

November 17th, 2015

Love the Coopers

There's not much in the way of good news to talk about, which is something that is becoming sadly common. Two of the three new releases missed expectations and expectations were low to begin with. Love the Coopers led the new releases, but it is hardly what you would call a box office hit. Even calling it a middling hit is overstating things. The 33 barely managed a spot in the top five and will quickly leave theaters. My All-American missed the Mendoza Line* by a mile and missed the top ten in the process. This meant Spectre and The Peanuts Movie remained on top of the charts, but they could only help the box office avoid becoming a disaster. As it is, the overall box office fell 33% from last weekend to just $108 million. This was 23% less than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2015's lead over 2015 took a real hit and its down to 3.9% at $9.06 billion to $8.72 billion. However, as we've seen recently, the overall box office is weaker than the these numbers look, as we've seen few major hits and many, many bombs.

Spectre remained in first place with $33.68 million over the weekend for a ten-day total of $128.98 million. Its sophomore hold was actually a little better than Skyfall's was, which is great news. The competition is going to be strong next week, but after that, we have Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter holidays. Without the holidays, the film would have a shot at $200 million. With the holidays, the odds are much better.

The Peanuts Movie fell 46% to $24.01 million. This is lower than expected and disappointing for a family film with 85% positive reviews. Then again, it will have little trouble getting to $100 million this coming weekend and it has a shot at still being in theaters by the time Christmas arrives.

Love the Coopers was the best of the new releases, at least as far as the box office numbers are concerned. It earned third place with $8.32 million, which won't be enough for it to break even, not unless it sticks around for the holidays or becomes an annual holiday tradition on TV. However, its reviews are just 17% positive, so that seems unlikely. We will know more about its long term chances next week.

The Martian topped $200 million before the weekend and earned fourth place with $6.71 million over the weekend. Its running tally is $207.39 million after a month and a half of release; both the dollar figure and the time in the top five are very impressive. It will start losing theaters at an accelerated pace, but it is going to come very close to breaking even, just on its domestic theatrical numbers.

The 33 landed in fifth place with $5.79 million over the weekend. Its per theater average was perilously close to the Mendoza Line, while its reviews won't help its legs. The film will likely begin fade away before the end of the month, while it will be nearly out of theaters by the time Christmas hits.

The biggest success story of the new releases was Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which earned eighth place with $2.43 million over the weekend for a four-day opening of $2.81 million. It did this despite playing in just 287 theaters. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but both of them are positive. I think Bollywood films are becoming big enough that more and more mainstream critics will pay attention to them.

The final new release of the week was My All-American, which missed the top ten with just $1.39 million in 1,565. Its per theater average wasn't even close to the Mendoza line at just $889 and I can't image it will stick around in theaters beyond what is contractually obligated.

Speaking of the Mendoza Line, since the beginning of October, there have been more wide or semi-wide releases that opened below the Mendoza Line (6) than there have been films that will become even midlevel hits (5). The films in-between include ones like Pan and The Last Witch Hunter, which will cost their respective studios a ton of money. While the overall box office is better this year than it was last year, this wealth hasn't been shared evenly and the huge blockbusters on top have been hiding the larger number of flops at the bottom. This is bad news, as I don't think this is sustainable.

*Mendosa line - below the Mendosa line, means that the movie has earned less than $2,000 per theater on its opening weekend.

Filed under: Weekend Wrap-up, My All-American, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, The Peanuts Movie, Spectre, Pan, The Martian, The Last Witch Hunter, Love the Coopers, The 33, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo