This weekend Oscar frontrunner Leonardo DiCaprio returned to the number one spot for the first time in six years with his current Best Picture contender The Revenant which climbed up into the top spot in its third round of nationwide release. The acclaimed revenge saga grossed an estimated $16M falling 50% from its take from last weekend. Cume to date for Fox is a hefty $119.2M. Though starring in many critical and commercial successes in recent years, DiCaprio has not had a number one hit since the summer blockbuster Inception which spent three weeks on top in 2010 and 11 total weeks in the top ten. Both movies, coincidentally, co-star Tom Hardy.
Films across the board were impacted by a major winter blizzard hitting the eastern half of the country affecting over 80 million people across 19 states. Studios hope to recover lost business in the days and weeks ahead, though higher quality pics with strong audience buzz are the ones most likely to do so. Hollywood is also expecting Sunday sales to take a hit from the annual football conference championship games which always deliver high TV ratings.
The juggernaut of all juggernauts Star Wars: The Force Awakens got to climb up one spot from third to second place with an estimated $14.3M, down 46%. Disney has amassed a huge $879.3M and looks on track to finish up in the $910-915M range from the domestic marketplace. With no major Oscar nominations to keep the juice going the way Avatar and Titanic had at this same point in their record runs, the BB8 pic is seeing normal declines for a sci-fi actioner.
Worldwide, Force has risen to $1.94 billion thanks to an international weekend estimate of $23.3M (-51%) pushing the offshore cume to $1.06 billion. The overseas total will probably not surpass Furious 7‘s. Just under 55% of the worldwide haul for Force has come from international markets led by the U.K. ($173.3M) and China ($112.7M). The latter has not been delivering results near industry highs. Instead, the final gross in China will probably be on par with the latest Mission: Impossible film while also ending up $100M below Avengers: Age of Ultron and a whopping $250M below Furious 7.
The global total for the seventh episode of Star Wars now looks on track to end at about $2.05 billion which is still monumental. The same mid-December launch period has been staked out by Disney this year and in 2017 for the next two films in the franchise – Rogue One and Episode VIII.
Last week’s top film Ride Along 2 tumbled in its sophomore frame falling 63% to an estimated $13M giving Universal $59.1M overall. The Ice Cube-Kevin Hart sequel is running 22% behind the pace of its 2014 predecessor which had banked $75.5M at this same point that January. A final gross in the $85-90M range should occur giving both actors another profitable hit.
The critically-panned comedy Dirty Grandpa bowed in fourth with an estimated $11.5M from 2,912 theaters for a mild $3,958 average. Pairing Robert De Niro with Zac Efron, the R-rated pic tried to go after a male audience hoping to appeal to guys of all ages. Horrible reviews kept many away and mediocre word-of-mouth from those who did pay to go see it will lead to above average erosion.
The haunted doll chiller The Boy opened close behind in fifth place with an estimated $11.3M from 2,671 sites for a decent $4,216 average. The PG-13 spookfest played to young women as expected with exit polls showing the crowd to be 62% female and 75% under 25. Latinos contributed heavily to the supernatural thriller’s weekend making up a strong 41% of the audience. Reviews were weak but the B- CinemaScore is not bad for the horror genre. Budget was just $10M.
Also targeting young females this weekend was the new Chloë Grace Moretz-led sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave which debuted in sixth place with an estimated $10.7M. Sony averaged a lukewarm $3,680 from 2,908 locations. Studio data showed that the audience for the PG-13 pic was 55% female and 62% under 25. The production cost was only $38M. Reviews were negative across the board and a weak B- CinemaScore grade means a shaky road ahead.
Michael Bay’s military drama 13 Hours followed dropping a reasonable 40% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.8M boosting the cume to $33.5M. Look for Paramount to finish at about $55M for the low-cost project. Studio stablemate Daddy’s Home was off 45% to an estimated $5.3M lifting the cume to $138.8M on its way to the $150M range.
Lionsgate’s toon offering Norm of the North grossed an estimated $3.5M, down 40%, and put its sum at a soft $14.3M. Academy Award nominee for Best Picture The Big Short had a good weekend slipping 34% to an estimated $3.5M and also winning the prestigious PGA prize on Saturday night. The last eight consecutive Oscar winners for Best Picture won at the PGAs beforehand so Short has now moved into a very high profile slot with weeks of Academy voting still to come. Cume is $56.7M with plenty of potential ahead.
Moviegoers continued to sample other Oscar contenders for Best Picture which posted great holds outside the top ten. Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn eased just 7% to an estimated $1.7M for $27.5M to date. Room nearly tripled its screen count and shot up 88% to an estimated $1.4M giving A24 $8M. Spotlight, winner of many top prizes from journalist groups, slipped only 17% to an estimated $1.4M in its 12th weekend. Open Road has collected $33M so far.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $99.3M which was down 27% from last year when American Sniper stayed at number one with $64.6M; but up 6% from 2014 when Ride Along remained in the top spot with $21.3M.