Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office: Thor Still Mighty, But Best Man Holiday Exceeds Even the Most Optimistic Expectations

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So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Thor: The Dark World continued it’s great-not-amazing business domestically while absolutely killing it overseas.  The only new release was The Best Man Holiday, which massively exceeded expectations.  Everything else barely dropped off from last week, other than Ender’s Game.  Overall, business was down 24% from the same weekend last year.  Of course, that’s mostly because at this time last year Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened with a colossal $141 million and Skyfall made $41 million in its second weekend.

Let’s break it down:

Top 10 Estimates for the 11/15-11/17 Weekend Box Office (Domestic)

1. Thor: The Dark World 


  • Weekend Gross=$38.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$146.9
  • Budget=$170 million

Foreign: $52.5 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $332.8 million and combined worldwide total of $479.7 million.  This is the third weekend in a row in which no other movie made more in combined foreign gross than Thor: The Dark World.

After only three weeks, The Dark World already has a higher foreign ($332.8 million vs. $268 million) and worldwide gross ($479.7 million vs. $449 million) than Thor.  It will also end with a higher domestic gross than Thor‘s $181 million.  It is now the 10th highest worldwide grossing film of 2013 (moving past Star Trek Into Darkness and The Wolverine).  Basically, it’s a monster hit overseas and a big hit at home making for very happy people at Marvel and Disney.

It had to be at least a little alarming to Marvel/Disney, though, when Best Man Holiday actually made more than Thor: The Dark World on Friday, albeit just barely (we’re talking $10.7 million vs. $10.4 million).  After all, Thor: The Dark World did big business last weekend, but not even close to Iron Man 3‘s astonishing $174 million opening, and actually a couple million short of Skyfall’s record-setting $88.3 opening in the same weekend last year.   Now, here in Thor‘s second weekend Best Man Holiday’s strong start introduced the previously unthinkable: could Thor: The Dark World actually drop from the top spot on the chart after just one week even though almost all studios had declined to offer any new competition?

Well, it didn’t, and no one seriously believed it would.  It surged higher on Saturday and fell lower on Sunday than Best Man Holiday.  Weekend-to-weekend, The Dark World  dropped 55%, slightly better than Iron Man 3 (58%) but worse than Thor‘s (47%) second week holds.  Moreover, this hold is only slightly more than Skyfall‘s 53% second weekend drop.  This comparison is actually less favorable to The Dark World than it might seem, since Skyfall’s second weekend saw it in competition with Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 while The Dark World had….Best Man Holiday.  After 10 days, The Dark World has made almost as much as Skyfall had after its first 10 days, and The Dark World cost $30 million less to make.  However, Skyfall went up against such stiffer competition.  The real test will be to see what happens to Thor next weekend when The Hunger Games sequel comes out.

2. The Best Man Holiday (Opening Weekend)

Best Man Holiday

  • Opening Weekend Gross=$30.5 million
  • Budget=$17 million

Foreign: It only opened domestically.  At the moment, the only scheduled foreign release is in the U.K./Ireland at the end of the month.

Raise your hands if you saw this coming.

Put your hands down, you liar!  Nobody saw this coming.  At most, Best Man Holiday was supposed to make around $20 million this weekend, a nice chunk of change for a small-budget affair released as counter-programming to the likes of Thor.  That would have been pretty good considering that this is a sequel to a movie, Best Man, which was released 14 years ago, at which time it opened with $9 million actual/$14 million inflation-adjusted.  Instead, Best Man Holiday more than tripled the opening of Best Man in actual dollars/doubled in adjusted dollars.

The temptation is to simply look at this as being a classic example of a successful appeal to an undeserved demographic, i.e., African-American’s.  After all, over 85% of Best Man Holiday‘s opening weekend audience is estimated to have been African-American, 75% female regardless of race.  However, that assumes any movies meant exclusively for African-Americans are guaranteed hits, which is not true. There are a handful of non-Tyler-Perry-produced films released every year that are targeted at African American audiences.  These tend to be lower budget affairs starring almost entirely African American actors, and they usually come and go rather quickly at the box office with very low expectations [see: Baggage Claim, Jumping the Broom, Just Wright, Our Family Wedding].  Occasionally, one hits big, as Think Like a Man did last year with its $33.6 million opening weekend, Lee Daniels‘ The Butler did earlier this year, and now Best Man Holiday has as well.  Holiday’s A+ CinemaScore grade indicates this won’t likely fade away.

3. Last Vegas


  • Weekend Gross=$8.8 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$46.9
  • Budget=$28 million

Foreign: It has opened in around 14 countries, including China and Russia, but there is no official estimate as to combined foreign gross yet

Speaking of appealing to an undeserved demographic, Last Vegas – aka the sexagenarian version of The Hangover – continues its steadfast refusal to fade away, dropping a mere 19% here in its third weekend.  It is now on pace to become the highest grossing film in CBS Films’ young history as a distributor.  Their most successful prior release had been 2012’s The Woman in Black, whose $54.3 million domestic gross will be surpassed soon enough by Last Vegas.

4. Free Birds


  • Weekend Gross=$8.3 million
  • Total Gross To Date=$42.2 million
  • Budget=$55 million

Foreign:  It has opened in around 20 countries, but there is no official estimate as to combined foreign gross yet

By dripping just 25% here in its third weekend, Free Birds is now outpacing Escape from Planet Earth, the lowest domestic-grossing animated film to receive a wide release in 2013.  To this point, the two had been doing almost identical business, but Free Birds appears to have received a Thanksgiving-season-boost.  However, this all still means Free Birds is simply on pace to be the second-lowest grossing animated film of 2013 as opposed to lowest-grossing.  Yay?  Worse yet, Escape actually cost $15 million less to produce.

5. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Bad Grandpa

  • Weekend Gross=$7.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$90.2 million
  • Budget=$15 million

Foreign: Information about its performance this past weekend is not yet available, but prior to this weekend it had grossed a combined $29 million foreign which now adds up to a worldwide total of $119.2 million.

Bad Grandpa is now the second highest domestic and worldwide grossing film in Jackass film franchise history, even after you adjust for ticket price inflation.  Wow.  2013 film releases Bad Grandpa has now made more domestic dollars than include: Planes, The Lone Ranger, Oblivion, Turbo, and Jack Reacher.  Elyisum, 42, and Olympus Has Fallen will be the next ones to fall.

6. Gravity


  • Weekend Gross=$6.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$240.5 million
  • Budget=$100 million

Foreign: $18.5 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $274.3 million and combined worldwide total of $514.8 million.  But, wait, there’s more…or at least there’s about to be a whole lot more after it opens in China on Tuesday.

By now, it’s simply a matter of keeping track of where exactly Gravity ranks among the top-grossing films of the year.  It is currently the 5th highest domestic grossing (ahead of: Fast & Furious 6; behind: Monsters University) and 8th highest worldwide grossing film of 2013 (ahead of: Oz the Great and Powerful; behind: World War Z).

7. Ender’s Game


  • Weekend Gross=$6.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$53.7 million
  • Budget=$110

Foreign: Information about its performance this past weekend is not yet available, but prior to this weekend it had grossed a combined $9.1 million foreign which now adds up to a worldwide total of $62.9 million.  It has opened in big markets like the U.K., China, Russia, and France as well as over 20 smaller ones.  The box office data we have from those territories is not up to date, but right now Ender’s Game appears to be a box office bomb everywhere, not just domestically.

Adapting a YA novel series into a film franchise is a dicey proposition with considerable upside (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games), little middle ground (Percy Jackson), and a very bad recent track record (Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, The Host).  Ender’s Game had the doubly whammy  of being adapted from a YA novel series which first started nearly 30 years ago and has a controversial author.  Plus, their decision to so heavily emphasize Harrison Ford’s star appeal in the advertising was a colossal mistake.  He’ll always be Han Solo, Jack Ryan, and Indiana Jones, but the gruff, mean-ish old man before us now has one modest hit (this year’s 42) amid a series of box office financial failures over the past 5 years (Ender’s Game, Cowboys Vs. Aliens, Extraordinary Measures, Morning Glory, Paranoia).

8. 12 Years a Slave


  • Weekend Gross=$4.7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$24.9 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: Outside of film festivals, it will not make its international debut until mid-December.

A year after Quentin Tarantino so annoyingly boasted as having put out the definite statement on slavery in America with Django Unchained, audiences might beg to differ after seeing 12 Years a Slave which has now crossed the $20 million mark in domestic gross  

9. Captain Philips


  • Weekend Gross=$4.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$97.6 million
  • Budget=$55 million

Foreign: Information about its performance this past weekend is not yet available, but prior to this weekend it had grossed a combined $66.4 million foreign which now adds up to a worldwide total of $164.7 million.

It might seem a meaningless bragging right, but getting to $100 million in domestic box office is a significant achievement for films as such a benchmark will allow them to charge more for TV/streaming rights down the road.  This is the reason Sony re-released This is the End earlier this year after it finished its initial run at the theaters just a couple million short of $100 million.  Captain Philips isn’t quite there yet, but at this rate it should pass $100 million in domestic gross by the end of the week.

10. About Time


  • Weekend Gross=$3.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$11.5 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: It originally opened in the U.K. in early September, and has since played in over 30 different countries prior to the U.S. and Canada.  To date, it has pulled in $41.4 million in combined gross from its foreign territories, and with its domestic total it now adds up to a worldwide gross of $52.9 million.

Richard Curtis has a long history in British TV, co-creating and writing such iconic shows as Mr. Bean and Black Adder.  Through his film screenwriting, he has attained the status as a kind of British, male counterpart to Nora Ephron in that he has written some of the modern classics of romantic comedy (Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually).  However, he does not have much of an identity as an actual film director, having only previously directed Love Actually and Pirate Radio (a.k.a. The Boat That Rocked).  Love Actually is now considered a classic, but it did mediocre business in the U.S. and Canada ($59 million) while killing it overseas ($187.2 million).  This is generally true of most of his films, even those that actually do well domestically – they make the overwhelming majority of their money at the international box office.  Pirate Radio was a bomb at all markets (worldwide gross of $36 million on $50 million budget), and now in the form of About Time the king of the romantic comedy has gone back to the genre that has treated him so well.  Unfortunately, the rom-com is dead as a significant box office presence.  This has made for plenty of box office disappointments for About Time star Rachel McAdams, who keeps circling the genre.  About Time is not the film that will break that cycle, and has the look of a film many have elected to rent/stream at a later time.


What Happened Outside of the Top 10?

Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (from #10 to #11)

Notable Performances from Films In Limited Release: The Robert Redford showcase All Is Lost declined 13% to a weekend gross below $1 million even after adding 84 new screen.  However, that was the lowest weekend-to-weekend decline for any film to tank in the top 15.  Hogging the spotlight, however, is Dallas Buyer’s Club which expanded from playing on 35 screens last weekend to 184 this weekend, grossing $1.7 million in the process.  It has now grossed just over $3 million domestic, and could likely end up in the top 10 as it expands to more locations and word-of-mouth builds.

What’s Up Next?: 

Hunger Games: Catching Fire aims to improve upon last year’s $152 million for the first Hunger Games while distributor Buena Vista hopes against hope that putting out the Vince Vaughn comedy Delivery Man at the same time makes for good counter-programming.

Jeez, enough with the numbers already.

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