Box Office Report: As 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Looms, a Wiseau Rises

Box Office Report: As 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Looms, a Wiseau Rises

Dec 11, 2017

CocoHere's your estimated 5-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Coco - $18.3 million ($135.5 million total)

2. Justice League - $9.5 million ($212.0 million total)

3. Wonder - $8.4 million ($100.3 million total)

4. The Disaster Artist - $6.4 million ($8.0 million total)

5. Thor: Ragnarok - $6.2 million ($301.1 million total)

6. Daddy’s Home 2 - $6.0 million ($91.1 million total)

7. Murder on the Orient Express - $5.1 million ($92.7 million total)

8. Lady Bird - $3.5 million ($21.3 million total)

9. Just Getting Started - $3.1 million ($3.1 million total)

10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - $2.8 million ($18.3 million total)

 

The Big Stories

Welcome to week two of Hollywood’s vacation. For kids everywhere their holiday break is on the horizon and they’ll have a new Star Wars film to break it in with. For adults this weekend, the biggest release any studio could muster is the first Ron Shelton film in 14 years and by indication of the critics who actually caught up with Just Getting Started, it appears to be his worst directorial effort by a mile. Meanwhile though, A24 can now boast two spots on the top ten as the limited launch of James Franco’s The Disaster Artist may have expanded beyond its base.

 

Oh Hi Tommy!

Franco’s film is a good place to start this week. People may be surprised to know that The Disaster Artist is actually James’ 18th film as a director going back to 2005 and his first to actually receive a positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Prior to this his most lauded work was a 53% for the documentary Interior. Leather Bar., an imagining of the cut 40 minutes from William Friedkin’s Cruising that is also his highest-grossing film to date, making $42,534. (Most of his offerings never made it beyond the festival circuit.) Last week The Disaster Artist picked up the fifth-highest per-screen average ever for a film opening between 10-50 theaters. This week it expanded into 840 theaters and didn’t just make the Top Ten. It made the Top Five.

This is not just a boon for the 94%-approved biopic/making-of comedy but also for A24. Their success with Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is well-documented this season; it's now less than $7 million away from becoming the studio’s most successful domestic film to date (over last year’s Best Picture winner, Moonlight). But The Disaster Artist’s $6.4 million is the best single non-launch weekend of any of their releases. The Witch is one of only three films the studio opened wide on its first weekend and it made $8.8 million in 2,533 theaters. The others were this year’s It Comes at Night ($5.9 million / 2,046 theaters) and Free Fire ($994,431 / 1070 theaters). Ex Machina made $5.3 million in its 1,255 theater launch after two weeks of limited release and Lady Bird is enjoying its third straight week between $3.5-4.3 million. The Disaster Artist is already a success in so many ways (it is already the 10th highest-grossing film in A24 history) and it will be interesting to see how many more folks are drawn into the mysterioso world of Tommy Wiseau in the weeks ahead as heat for Franco’s performance pulls him more and more into the Best Actor race.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

Coco once again ruled the day to nobody’s surprise. Last year Moana had dropped to $18.5 million in its third weekend but had $144.7 million compared to Coco’s $135.5. But it is still well ahead of Tangled’s pace so a $225 million gross is still the estimate in play plus it is now the highest-grossing film ever in Mexico (passing 2012’s The Avengers and Toy Story 3), which has helped drive the worldwide total to over $300 million to date. In the milestone category we have Thor: Ragnarok passing the $300 million mark as well as Wonder Woman to become the seventh highest-grossing film worldwide of the year. Also a big congratulations to Lionsgate, Stephen Chbosky, Jacob Tremblay and everyone associated with Wonder as it passed $100 million. It didn’t quite pass Justice League as predicted. Hopefully it will next week as it looks to finagle another $17 million out of audiences to jump into the Top Ten releases all-time for Lionsgate.

WB’s Justice League could also be included in that milestone list as it passed $200 million finally on its 19th day earlier this week. But there is a far more fascinating list it will now belong to. The studio has basically admitted defeat by announcing retooling of the DC Cinematic Universe and many reports have already suggested they are in for a bath of potentially $100 million in losses. Which may get you to thinking – just how many films have passed the $200 million mark and yet still came up as financial losers? The list is not long and studios may push back on some of the external accounting, but it includes Oz: The Great and Powerful, X-Men: The Last Stand, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and both Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. The worst-reviewed film of that batch was The Grinch’s 53% while Justice League sits at 40%.

Finally, there is very little that is interesting about Just Getting Started’s paltry $3.1 million opening. Bleecker Street, like A24, has only opened a handful of films wide, most notably this year’s Logan Lucky and Megan Leavey, which opened to $7.6 and $3.8 million, respectively. Their 2016 expansion of Eye in the Sky made $3.9 million in just 1,029 theaters. But while financial success has eluded them (those three films are the only ones to gross more than $10 million domestic), Bleecker Street has had a very successful run with critics. From Danny Collins to last month’s The Man Who Invented Christmas, they have released 17 films and only one (The Last Word with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfriend) failed to receive a positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes (38%). In fact, 14 of those 17 were rated 70% or higher. Their average of 73.8% took a hit with Shelton’s film, which has just an 9% rating after 11 reviews for the film that was not screened for critics; few even bothered to catch up with it.


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