The Winter Olympics have started and there’s been huge buzz online about future releases such as Black Panther and Solo: A Star Wars Story. But would all that impact the box office totals this weekend? With three new releases going wide it appeared the front-runner going into weekend, Fifty Shades Freed, would be the one to finally knock Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle from the top spot for good. Let’s talk a look!
As expected, Fifty Shades Freed, the third and final film in the series took the top spot this weekend with a $38.8 million opening playing in over 3,700 theatres. The film got off to a decent start with a $5.6 million Thursday night and currently is only pacing its predecessor, Fifty Shades Darker, by only 14% which earned $46 million in its debut. While the lowest start of the bunch, that drop plus a B+ CinemaScore gives the studio hopes the film will have legs going forward and maintain that predominantly female audience. A good indicator of a film’s ability to stick around is the make up of the audience, and as stated, is largely female. In fact 81% of the seats were made up of females moviegoers, not a real surprise for this subject matter, and their continued support will be vital going forward.
The series has been victim to diminishing returns and for comparisons the first two in the series earned $166 million and $114 million in North America respectively. With a slew of wide releases coming out in the next few weeks, including the aforementioned Black Panther, it’ll be doubtful the film will hit $100 million. One milestone the series did achieve is at the worldwide box office where the three films hit the magical $1 billion mark this weekend when it nabbed $98 million this weekend from international markets.
In second place is another new release, SONY’s Peter Rabbit, which earned $25 million in its first three days. Based on the Beatrix Potter classic, the film boasts a star-studded cast including Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and James Corden. Scoring a very good A- score on CinemaScore and with zero children’s fare out right now or in the coming weeks, the film is in decent footing right now. With a mostly British cast and Peter Rabbit being an English classic, the film should play well overseas.
The weekends third new wide release, The 15:17 to Paris, wound up in the third spot with a $12.6 million three-day take. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the true story of an attempted train attack in France and the three American’s who stopped it, scored very low with audiences as compared to Eastwood’s other American hero story, American Sniper. That film, which would go on to earn over $350 million at the domestic box office and earn award consideration, scored very well with audiences here at home. This film by comparison is scoring very low with that same red state demographic and if not for a meager $30 million budget, would likely have cost the studio money.
Rounding out the top 5 are recent mainstays Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in third and The Greatest Showman in fifth. The Dwayne Johnson action flick fell out of the top 2 for the fist time in its 8 weeks of release but still managed $9.8 million in the last three days. All in, the film now sits at $364.5 million in North America and is seemingly on pace to catch Spider-Man 2 as SONY’s second highest earner all time. Worldwide the film is nearing the $900 million mark and should find that milestone in the next week or so. Rounding out the list is the Hugh Jackman musical The Greatest Showman which added $6.4 million to its now $146 million domestic total. Worldwide the film has now crossed the $300 million mark and has quietly become a good earner for FOX, remaining in the Top 5 for its entire run.
As for next week, all eye’s are on Marvel’s Black Panther whose opening weekend projections keep climbing daily. The latest predictions by experts have the film opening somewhere between $130 and $160 million, with most who have seen it hailing it as the best MCU movie to date, it seems the sky’s the limit for this film. We’ll have to wait and see but if we look at the last few MCU films, they all have performed at the high-end of the projections so look for Black Panther to do the same.