Blame me not for my depression! The roll of lacklustre box-office numbers does not seem to end. Three new releases over the weekend, and their combined tally was barely a million dollars more than the second weekend performance of Kung Fu Panda 3. In fact, there have been close to 16 movies that have had a wide release in 2016 so far, and only three movies have somewhat impressed, viz. The Revenant, Ride Along 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3. The rest have failed to come to the party. This weekend held such hope with the Coen Brothers’ rare feel-good movie Hail, Caesar! but the opening of $11.4 million is the lowest for a wide release from the duo. The movie’s budget ain’t huge at $22 million and if the movie can get going for a while in foreign lands then it may well recover is investment. Nonetheless, Hail, Caesar! will see nowhere near the success of other Coen brothers’ movies like True Grit and Burn After Reading. While the critics were pretty pleased with the film – 79% score on Rottentomatoes – the audience seemed to have stuck to the Super Bowl and stayed away from the theatres, and that is what matters!
The other wide release was the latest Nicholas Sparks’ book adaptation, The Choice, which just about managed to feature in the top 5 spots with an opening of $6.1 million. The last two movies made on Sparks’ books – 2014’s The Best of Me and 2015’s The Longest Ride – had flopped but both had openings of $10 million+. The Choice now has the distinction of the weakest opening for a Nicholas Sparks’ book-based movie. The budget for this movie has been kept very low at $10 million so the losses will be trimmed, but it’s a terrible blow on the Nicholas Sparks brand, and maybe the studios should give it a breather for a while. The final wide release of the weekend was the horror / comedy movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which had a production budget of $28 million but ended up with the worst opening amongst the trio with $5.2 million. The movie’s final domestic tally is unlikely to cross $20 million, and I cannot see it doing anything exceptional in the overseas market to at least achieve break-even. With a 41% score on Rottentomatoes, the movie wasn’t particularly the critics’ favourite.
So in this rather ordinary weekend, Kung Fu Panda 3 dropped by 49% and still maintained its top spot. The movie has earned close to $200 million worldwide so far, driven by its success in China, but it has the potential to more than double that tally. The Finest Hours fell by 54% on its second weekend and is getting washed away with only $24 million earned worldwide so far. On the brighter side, Star Wars: The Force Awakens did manage to cross $900 million domestically and $2 billion worldwide, reminding us once more of how great 2015 looked like. C’mon 2016, wake up and put on a show!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Kung Fu Panda 3 ($21.0 million; second weekend)
2. Hail, Caesar! ($11.4 million)
3. The Revenant ($7.1 million; seventh weekend)
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($6.9 million; eighth weekend)
5. The Choice ($6.1 million)