Box Office Report: ‘Kingsman’ Gives Nice Boost For Fox While ‘Lego’ Disappoints

Box Office Report: ‘Kingsman’ Gives Nice Boost For Fox While ‘Lego’ Disappoints

Sep 25, 2017

Here's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle - $39.0 million ($39.0 million total)

2. It - $30.0 million ($266.3 million total)

3. The Lego Ninjago Movie - $21.2 million ($21.28 million total)

4. American Assassin - $6.2 million ($26.1 million total)

5. Home Again - $3.3 million ($22.4 million total)

6. mother! - $3.2 million ($13.4 million total)

7. Friend Request - $2.4 million ($2.4 million total)

8. The Hitman’s Bodyguard - $1.8 million ($73.5 million total)

9. Stronger - $1.7 million ($1.7 million total)

10. Wind River - $1.2 million ($31.6 million total)

 

The Big Stories

The monster known as Pennywise -- or at least his titular pronoun -- was unseated from its record-breaking perch atop the box office in its third weekend. Not that its numbers weren’t still impressive as it zooms towards being one of the ten highest-grossing movies ever released between August and December. This is also the seventh straight week an “R”-rated film led the way, and that is unlikely to change next week (with either a repeat or with American Made) or the week after with Blade Runner 2049. It’s challengers this week both had pre-ordained audiences. One of them was a little something for the kids from It’s own studio and the other was a sequel to a surprisingly successful comic book adaptation that was “R”-rated a whole year before Deadpool got all the credit. This weekend, Fox gets some of that credit back, though not entirely from critics.

 

Is The Golden Circle a Euphemism?

Kingsman: The Secret Service opened to $36.2 million back in February 2015 on the same weekend that Fifty Shades of Grey started with $85.1 million. Before Deadpool, The Lego Batman Movie and Get Out came along, its final $128.2 million was good enough to be ninth all-time amongst February releases. Its $414 million worldwide also made the $81 million production a fantastic success for the studio. Only Deadpool, Logan and The Martian can boast a higher profit since. Therefore Fox pumped $104 million for Matthew Vaughn’s sequel in hopes of replicating that magic and, so far, the results have been promising. Kingsman: The Golden Circle outdid the original, opening to $39 million. That’s good enough to be the third highest live-action opening (behind just It and Insidious: Chapter 2) in the month of September. (The two Hotel Transylvania films are also ahead.) With another $61 million internationally, it has passed its first $100 million. 

The numbers have gone down on the critical side, though, as the films went from 74% approval the first time around to a now mediocre 50%, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Not really enough to move the needle on attendance either which way (no matter what the studios say.) Fox had better critical support this summer but it didn’t quite translate into profit. War for the Planet of the Apes (93%) and Captain Underpants (86%) came close but still haven’t crossed into the black. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (20%) and Snatched (35%) were less so and Alien: Covenant (70%) was a disappointment as well. Fox is hoping The Golden Circle becomes their first hit since The Boss Baby. Other films in the $30-40 million opening range with a 50-52% at Rotten Tomatoes include other secret agent films The World is Not Enough and Get Smart but also Bee Movie, Unbroken, Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and John Carter. You can guess which among them was the only one to not reach $110 million domestic.

 

Ninja Go Away

Warner Bros.' Lego films have been solid domestic hits. $257.7 million in 2014 for The Lego Movie and another $175.7 million for The Lego Batman Movie earlier this year. Their international prospects are another matter as neither have quite reached the heights of Illumination or Pixar, but with $781 million combined the studio was very much hoping that The Lego Ninjago Movie would push this franchise over the billion dollar mark. With a start of just $21.2 million domestically, it’s going to take a stronger international push than the previous Lego efforts to reach that milestone.

The studio appeared to know they had a film of lesser quality. Despite critical scores of 96% and 91% for their previous Lego efforts, Warner Bros. decided to cherry pick who they wanted to see their latest one (as far as I know, only one critic in Chicago was invited). Granted the reviews are not great for Ninjago at just 52%, but even Sony invited all press to The Emoji Movie. Not only is that film the second-worst reviewed wide release of the year (at 8% ahead of just Rings at 6%) but The Emoji Movie had a stronger opening at $24.5 million. Even Sony’s Open Season started with $23.6 million back in 2006 and just cleared $85 million. With Lego Batman only making $136 million outside North America, WB may have to wait until February 2019 for The Lego Movie 2 to hit that billion bucks.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

Warner Bros. is hardly shedding any tears these days given the way It is performing. Another $30 million this week puts its total over $266 million domestic and $478 million worldwide. Having used The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 last week as a barometer, we can now say that It is $8 million ahead of the pace of that film which finished with $337 million. $350 million is not out of the realm of possibility at this point. Flatliners is not screening for critics this week. Then WB has Blade Runner 2049 the week after that before Happy Death Day likely makes a splash on October 13.

Speaking of that date, it was the original release strategy for Darren Aronofsky’s mother!. Paramount has admirably gotten behind the film after audiences slammed it last week. It was always going to drop big in its second weekend (and it did with 60%) but points for trying. The film is not going to clear $20 million domestic but will nevertheless be remembered and talked about (positively and negatively) more than anything else the studio has released this year (i.e. Baywatch, Rings, Transformers 5, Ghost in the Shell, Monster Trucks, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage and An Inconvenient Sequel.) mother! has grossed an additional $12.5 million internationally to date.

Lionsgate and its Roadside Attractions have three films in the Top Ten. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is quietly headed towards a $75 million-plus gross (and with an additional $71 million internationally is a success) while last week’s American Assassin took a sharp drop and may struggle to reach last week’s estimate of $42 million (Assassin has made just $6 million internationally so far). But it’s David Gordon Green’s Stronger that even in limited release of 574 theaters managed $1.7 million to make it on the list. America could certainly use an inspirational story in the face of terrorism, so Roadside should ride that 95% approval at Rotten Tomatoes to a quick expansion before everyone forgets about it. Fox Searchlight’s Battle of the Sexes opened to $525,000 in just 21 theaters before its expansion. Their Wild started with $606,810 in the same amount of theaters. The Way, Way Back (also co-starring Steve Carell) opened to $552,788 in 19 theaters in the summer of 2013. 


- 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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