Box Office Report: Spielberg's 'The Post' Expansion Scoops Other New Releases at Box Office

Box Office Report: Spielberg's 'The Post' Expansion Scoops Other New Releases at Box Office

Jan 15, 2018

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

1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - $27.0 million ($283.1 million total)

2. The Post - $18.6 million ($23.0 million total)

3. The Commuter - $13.4 million ($13.4 million total)

4. Insidious: The Last Key - $12.1 million ($48.3 million total)

5. The Greatest Showman - $11.8 million ($94.5 million total)

6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi - $11.2 million ($591.5 million total)

7. Paddington 2 - $10.6 million ($10.6 million total)

8. Proud Mary - $10.0 million ($10.0 million total)

9. Pitch Perfect 3 - $5.6 million ($94.6 million total)

10. Darkest Hour - $4.5 million ($35.73 million total)


The Big Stories

Weekend two of 2018 is not much different than weekend one except (1) there are a lot more new movies to see and (2) there’s a holiday on Monday. People went to see the new movies but they were still clearly interested in catching up on the movies that were dominating at the end of 2017. Aside from that, though, at least one of the season’s major Oscar contenders finally expanded into wide release and had an opening that should be very encouraging with nominations just around the next weekend corner.


Publish or Perish

Steven Spielberg’s The Post started filming last June and was put into limited release in late December. While he continues to work on Ready Player One, which he filmed before and will be released on March 30, Spielberg felt the story of a corrupt, lying President who tried to shut down press freedom may have had some significance in our time. What could have given him that idea? The historical prequel (of sorts) to All the President’s Men had made nearly $4.5 million in the 21 days leading up to this weekend, starting with just nine theaters and expanding to 36 last week. This weekend it moves into 2,819 and once again it couldn’t feel more timely.

Spielberg, without question, is one of our greatest living directors (and you can put him up against most of the passed-on ones as well.) Don’t take my word for it, though, as evidenced by his critical score at Rotten Tomatoes since just 2001:

Catch Me If You Can (96%), Minority Report (91%), Bridge of Spies (91%), Lincoln (90%), The Post (88%), Munich (77%), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (77%), War Horse (76%), The BFG (75%), The Adventures of Tintin (74%), War of the Worlds (74%), A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (73%), The Terminal (60%).

Not a rotten tomato in the batch overall with an 80.1% average. Mathematically, four out of five critics think the man makes good movies, and we’re not even listing Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. and Jurassic Park (to name just a few.) The box office numbers these days can’t entirely compare to those films, which have alternated between fantasy and drama. The Post’s $18.6 million weekend is firmly between Bridge of Spies’ $15.3 million start and The Terminal’s $19 million (which occurred in June of 2003.)

When Lincoln went wide in just its second week in mid-November 2012, it made $21 million that weekend and played into April to the tune of $182.2 million. The Post didn’t have the advantage of the full holiday season to boost its total and its opening might not be quite in the same league for Tom Hanks as Sully ($35 million) and Captain Phillips ($25.7 million). But we should expect the word-of-mouth to be strong and the numbers to not trail off too far once the film gets nominations for Best Picture and Actress (and possibly Director and Actor, though slightly less certain) and head somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million or more.


Tales of the Top Ten

It was certainly a packed week at the box office. The best of the newest of newbies turned out to be The Commuter, Liam Neeson’s fourth collaboration with Jaume Collet-Serra. It opened to slightly better than their last film together, Run All Night ($13.4 vs. $11 million.) Comparatively, it’s critical and audience scores are closest to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit from 2014, which could give The Commuter about $40 million when it finishes its domestic run. It will need to pick up a bit more international steam to satisfy its $30 million budget.

Paddington 2, meanwhile, is hoping to follow a similar path to the original. It’s already behind with a $10.6 million weekend despite a perfect 100%. It made $25.4 million over the four-day MLK weekend in 2015. Warner Bros. was already behind with this being a late pickup from the remaining catalog of the Weinstein Co.  Regardless if it matches even just the original’s multiple (which would put it at about $43 million domestically), it’s already made over $125 million internationally. (The original made $183 million overseas.) Meanwhile, Screen Gems’ Proud Mary did not screen for critics (it currently has a 28% with those who caught up with it) and it mustered up a $10 million three-day weekend. The ceiling is not very high for the $14 million budgeted film and with limited international prospects this should be Sony’s first loser of the year.

Not that they care much given the incredible success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. By next weekend it will be over $300 million and passing Skyfall on Sony’s all-time domestic grossing chart. (The James Bond film is still Sony’s all-time worldwide grosser.) It is even still ahead of the pace of Spider-Man: Homecoming which could put this third on the studio’s all-time list behind just Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. The film is over $666 million worldwide which ranks 11th all-time for Sony. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, meanwhile, is still Jumanji times two with $600 million domestic expected by this Friday and $1.26 billion worldwide to date. It will be passing Frozen soon to become ninth all-time on the global chart. Fox and Universal also have films hitting the $100 million milestone in the next four to eight days with The Greatest Showman and Pitch Perfect 3. The former will still need roughly another $75 million to recoup its extravagant $84 million budget. Finally, in a lesser milestone, Insidious: The Last Key will be passing the $50 million mark this week despite a 59% drop.

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.]

Categories: Features
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