I could imagine someone looking at the $24.5m Exodus: Gods and Kings just made and thinking it was clearly not great but not altogether bad. Surely it’s going to add a lot more over Christmas. It is actually true that the same box office rules that apply to the rest of the year don’t always apply over Christmas. With so many people off work or out of school for the holidays there is usually a big influx of moviegoers, and as a result movies released around this time of the year do tend to have stronger legs than normal. That being said, Exodus cost $140 million to make, and it just made less than a fifth of that in its opening weekend. Plus, the movie to which it is most often compared, Noah, actually had a huge opening weekend ($43.7m) before trailing off enough that it barely cracked $100m ($101m to be exact). If Exodus performs at a similar rate it’ll be looking at a total domestic gross just south of $60m. Of course, I just said the same rules don’t apply this time of the year, and the March market Noah played in is very different than the December one facing Exodus. As BoxOfficeMojo pointed out, Exodus‘ opening is roughly on par with past December releases The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ($24 million) and The Golden Compass ($25.8 million), and Narnia ended up making $104m whereas Golden Compass barely made it to $70.1m. Exodus will likely land somewhere between those two, but if it ends up closer to Compass than Narnia, which it probably will based on poor word of mouth, it seems likely that not even the international market will be able to save it. The studio is probably more optimistic than that, but they can’t be too happy with the opening weekend they just had. Son of God had a nearly identical opening ($25.6m) earlier this year, and it cost way less to make.
On to the rest of the top 10?:
Top 10 Estimated Domestic & Foreign Totals (12/12-12/14)
1. Exodus: Gods and Kings (Opening Weekend)
- Weekend Gross=$24.5 million
- Budget=$140 million
Foreign: $18.8m from 27 markets, with first place debuts in 13 markets. It actually debuted overseas last weekend, and now has an international gross of $50.1m and worldwide of $74.6m. Korea is currently its top market, accounting for $10.7m of that foreign gross, but it still has a huge portion of the international marketplace ahead of it, including biggies like Brazil, Germany and the UK in two weeks.
2. Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
- Weekend Gross=$13.2 million (-40% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$277.3 million
- Budget=$125 million
Foreign: $16m from pretty much everywhere possible in the world this weekend except for China. Mockingjay is now a bigger hit in Brazil than Catching Fire ever was, and the same is true for 24 other territories, mostly in Central and South America. That being said, its biggest market remains the UK where it has racked up $42.9m. Altogether, Mockingjay now sits at $334m international, $611.3m worldwide.
By Hunger Games franchise standards, this is all very, very not good, with Mockingjay’s domestic performance now around $59m behind the pace of the first Hunger Games and $80m behind the pace of Catching Fire. It does continue to perform slightly better than the most recent Part 1’s, Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Breaking Dawn Part 1, which were sitting at $257m and $259m respectively at the same point in their release cycles. Let’s also remember that this has been a down year for movies domestically, and in this depressed market Mockingjay is already the second highest-grossing film of the year, trailing just Guardians of the Galaxy ($332m). Plus, worldwide Mockingjay is already the 10th biggest film of the year, and that’s without the benefit of China
3. The Penguins of Madagascar
- Weekend Gross=$7.3 million (-33% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$58.8 million
- Budget=$132 million
Foreign: $14.7m from 51 markets this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $116.7m/$175.5m. This was actually the last weekend the movie will be allowed to play in China, which limits the theatrical runs of foreign releases. That’s a shame because it’s done fairly well in China, with $40.5m to date, better than the $31.5m Madagascar 3 made there two years ago.
The last time DreamWorks Animation put out a movie over Thanksgiving and thus for all of December they ended up taking an $87 million write-down on Rise of the Guardians. To put it another way, they lost a lot of money. Well, don’t look now but Penguins of Madagascar has actually now fallen behind Rise of the Guardians‘ pace, with Penguins 19-day total of $58.8m slightly behind Guardians‘ 19-day total of $61m. It’s been said that this is not as big of a deal because Penguins has a smaller budget, but it’s not significantly smaller, $132m for Penguins vs. $145m for Guardians.
4. Top Five (Opening Weekend)
- Weekend Gross=$7.2 million
- Budget=They’re not telling
Foreign: No foreign box office yet.
Paramount won the bidding war of Chris Rock’s Top Five at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, and they are doing a somewhat slow, build-up-word-of-mouth-roll-out for it over the Christmas season, putting it in just over 900 theaters this weekend. So far so good with Top Five opening to more than Rock’s last directorial outing, I Think I Love My Wife ($5.9m), which debuted in nearly twice as many theaters.
- Weekend Gross=$6.1 million (-23% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$185.3 million
- Budget=$165 million
Foreign: $3.9m from 32 markets this weekend, including debuts in Argentina, Venezuela, Iceland, and Hong Kong. This still just around 24% of the total international market meaning that though Big Hero 6 is only up to $68.2m in international gross there is much, much more to come. Right now, Big Hero 6 is looking at a worldwide gross of $253.5m.
Domestically, Big Hero 6 will soon pass Wreck-It Ralph ($189m) to become the second biggest film in the history of Disney Animation Studios, trailing Tangled ($200m) and Frozen ($400m). However, forget all that for a moment because real big things are expected for Big Hero 6 when it opens in Japan next weekend, remembering that Japan went dang near insane with its obsession over Frozen earlier this year.
- Weekend Gross=$5.5 million (-30% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$166.8 million
- Budget=$165 million
Foreign: $11.4m this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $455m/$621.8m. It remains red hot in Korea, with $71m to date, but it has ended its run in China, leaving the Middle Kingdom with $122.8m.
Let’s talk “multiplier,” a “word-of-mouth” measurement you get by dividing a film’s total box office by its opening weekend box office. A multiplier of 2.0 or below is terrible (that’s what both Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Godzilla did) whereas anything above a 6.0 is a Frozen-like outlier. These days, anything above a 3.0 is good. Right now, Interstellar is up to 3.5. Among this year’s big films with the best multipliers, that’s way behind Gone Girl (4.6), close behind The LEGO Movie (3.7) and How To Train Your Dragon 2 (3.6), identical to Maleficent and Guardians of the Galaxy (3.5), and a little better than 22 Jump Street (3.3). That means that Interstellar has been able to grow its audience since its opening weekend at a better rate than most of 2014’s big movies, and it’s still going.
7. Horrible Bosses 2
- Weekend Gross=$4.6 million (-45% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$43.6 million
- Budget=$43 million
Foreign: $5.9m from 50 markets for a new international/worldwide split of $32.3m/$75.9m. The UK is still its top foreign market with $5.1m.
This is what happens when you make a sequel no one really asked for. I wouldn’t blame any of the involved parties, though. After the first Horrible Bosses improbably made $117.5m domestic, $209m worldwide against a $35m budget you pretty much had to push forward with a sequel. They probably just didn’t expect the sequel to fall so far short of the first one.
- Weekend Gross=$2.7 million (-36% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$82.1 million
- Budget=Less than $40 million
Foreign: Universal and Red Granite are splitting international distribution which is making weekly accounts hard to come by. So, let’s just look at cumulative totals, which has Dumb and Dumb To up to $45.4m from around 30 international markets and $127.5m worldwide.
Upon its debut, Dumb and Dumber To seemed a slam dunk hit, and talk instantly turned to a sequel. We’re now in its fifth weekend of release, though, with its theatrical run winding down. When you look up at it now it doesn’t really seem a slam dunk hit anymore. Doubling its production budget in domestic gross is pretty much the definition of breaking even, and you have to remember that studios only take around 40% of a film’s international gross and that can sometimes decrease to a mere 15% after you subtract costs. Plus, comedies like Dumb and Dumber To often have marketing costs that are equal to if not higher than the actual production budget. What that means is while Dumb and Dumber To is likely to turn a profit it may not actually be a substantial one. Then again, the co-production nature of the film between Universal and Red Granite confuses all of that.
- Weekend Gross=$2.5 million (-5% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$17.1 million
- Budget=They’re not saying
Foreign: $1.8 from Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan this weekend, for a very early international total of $2.3m and worldwide gross of $19.4m. Its international rollout will continue well into next year.
The Theory of Everything is beginning to rake in the awards nominations, with 4 of them from the Golden Globes, including Best Picture and nods for its two leads, Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne. As a result, you could see its incredibly strong hold this weekend as a Golden Globes bump.
10. Wild (Top 10 Debut)
- Weekend Gross=$1.5 million (+155% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$2.4 million
- Budget=$They’re not telling
Foreign: Less than $800,000 from limited international play
This past week brought Wild a Best Actress nomination for star Reese Witherspoon from the Golden Globes, and this coincided with the film adding 95 new theaters over the weekend, bringing its total number of locations to a still-low 116. That’s nearly 900 fewer locations than any other film in the top 10, and over 1,000 fewer if you ignore Top Five. As a result, Wild easily scored the best per-theater average ($13,362) of any top 10 release this weekend. The trick will be whether or not word of mouth will be strong enough to keep the momentum going as it expands into trickier markets, ones which may not be particularly enthused to see Sweet Home Alabama‘s Reese Witherspoon play a sexually adventurous character who actually has a threesome at one point and goes on a long “finding myself” hike.
What Dropped Out of the Top 10?:
Birdman (#10 to #11), Gone Girl (#8 to #12), and The Pyramid (#9 to #16). Birdman actually improved its business 15% over last weekend, undoubtedly boosted by the scores of awards nominations rolling in. Gone Girl leaves the top 10 with a domestic gross of $164.4m, long since having passed Ben Affleck’s last Best Picture candidate, Argo ($134m).
What’s Up Next?:
One last time with Peter Jackson and company in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which just made $117.6m from in its international debut in 37 markets, setting a record for biggest IMAX opening in December ($6.4m). It is pulling a Revenge of the Sith on us and getting a huge “supposed last film of the franchise” bump, surpassing the prior two Hobbit films in every major market and even rivaling the sales of Return of the King in places like the UK. We get our turn with it on Wednesday.