Box Office Report: 'Maze Runner' Is Tops, But Oscar Bump Boosts Many

Box Office Report: 'Maze Runner' Is Tops, But Oscar Bump Boosts Many

Jan 29, 2018

Maze Runner: The Death CureHere's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure - $23.5 million ($23.5 million total)

2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - $16.4 million ($338.0 million total)

3. Hostiles - $10.2 million ($12.0 million total)

4. The Greatest Showman - $9.5 million ($126.4 million total)

5. The Post - $8.8 million ($58.5 million total)

6. 12 Strong - $8.6 million ($29.7 million total)

7. Den of Thieves - $8.3 million ($28.5 million total)

8. The Shape of Water - $5.7 million ($37.6 million total)

9. Paddington 2 - $5.5 million ($32.0 million total)

10. Padmaavat - $4.2 million ($4.7 million total)

 

The Big Stories

Is January over yet? Sundance certainly is but the Oscar race (at the box office) is just beginning. The mostly unsurprising nominations came out this past Tuesday and thus begins the period where a number on a commercial can often translate to numbers at theaters. While many of us are just waiting for Black Panther, Annihiliation or even Fifty Shades Freed, there is still time to catch up with many of the Oscar nominees so many complain they’ve never heard of. Or you can just go see Maze Runner: The Death Cure since it was the only NEW new film offered across the country this weekend.

 

Cure Us From This Maze

One thing you can definitively say about Fox’s The Maze Runner series is that at least it is not Divergent. Sure, that franchise began with openings in the $50 million range, but the reviews have been a bit better in the Maze. The first film even got a “fresh” response with a 63% before it went down to 50% for the sequel. Divergent began with 41%, dropped to 32% and then fell to 12% without even finishing the final chapter. Maze Runner: The Death Cure packs it all into 142 minutes instead of greedily splitting it into a fourth film, though its critical score at Rotten Tomatoes fell to 44% and its box office reflects the same lowered consistency.

It’s $23.5 million did lead the box office, but a three-year wait in-between films (due largely to delays caused by a sustained injury on set by its star) has not exactly maintained demand. The first film opened to $32.5 million in September 2014. Then 364 days later the sequel started with $30.3 million. However the big numbers were their international totals of $348 and $312 million, which made both films solid hits for the studio. The $61 million budget is right in line with the sequel (up from $34 million for the original) which means that anything around just $200 million worldwide will be enough to throw this film into profit. Ferdinand may have been a failure for Fox, but The Greatest Showman continues to do solid business and is headed into profit shortly. The Death Cure may not be headed for more than the $60-70 million range in the U.S. but with an $18 million headstart overseas, Fox can rest easy that this series at least has some separation from Divergent.

 

Tales of the Top Ten (and Oscar Nominees)

Fox also has a pair of Best Picture nominees from each of their divisions. Steven Spielberg’s The Post only nabbed a pair of nominations for Best Picture and Actress but it has made $58 million thus far and will at least pass Bridge of Spies’ $72 million soon. Fox Searchlight finally added another 1,000 screens for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water while they can splash 13 nominations across television screens and ads. It has surpassed del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth at the box office and then hopes to have enough juice to catch up with the Hellboy films. It’s $19.5 million budget has nearly been recouped and you can expect it to produce a steady stream up until the ceremony on March 4. Searchlight also added another 500 screens to Martin McDonaugh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and that produced another $3.6 million this weekend even as it was just overtaken by Shape in total ($37.6 to $37.0 million.)

Not quite enjoying the Oscar bump is Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, which delightfully shocked many critics with its inclusion for Best Picture and Director. It added 125 theaters but was still down 11% from last week with $2.8 million. It stands at $10.6 million to date. Anderson’s film was not the only title Focus Features got into the Best Picture category. Darkest Hour has passed $45 million this weekend to become the studio’s 12th highest-grossing film ever and it should pass Moonrise Kingdom in the next day or so. It only needs $48 to pass Kubo and the Two Strings for 10th. Sony Classics’ Call Me By Your Name stood pat in 815 theaters and was off 6.4% with $1.3 million and $11.3 million total. Neon, which just had an impressive showing at the Sundance Film Festival with multiple pickups, including the biggest deal of the fest ($10 million for Assassination Nation), has to be feeling good with I, Tonya up to nearly $19 million in just 960 theaters. Then, of course, there is Lady Bird, which jumped back into an additional 497 theaters and is far and away A24’s greatest success with $41.6 million.

Not to squeeze out discussion of the big releases in theaters, Entertainment Studios’ non-Oscar-player, Scott Cooper’s Hostiles (72%), went wide this weekend and made $10.2 million. Last week’s tough-guy pairing of 12 Strong and Den of Thieves has yet to reach $30 million. Paddington 2 finally did (but it is in its third weekend and has made another $153 million internationally). Star Wars: The Last Jedi may be spending its final week in the Top Ten and may have to settle for just the sixth highest-grossing domestic film ever (fifth in its initial run) and ninth all-time worldwide. Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle remains quite the story, though. Over $822 million worldwide and with $338 million of that coming domestically, it has now become the third-highest grossing film ever in the studio’s history. It is no surprise that another sequel has been announced already with the studio hoping to get it into theaters by the end of 2019, where it could do battle with Star Wars: Episode IX.


If you want to listen to Erik Childress’ Holiday Box Office Prediction Show, you can download the podcast

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[Box office figures via Box Office Mojo.]

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