Weekend Box Office: Financial Suicide

This weekend resulted in no change for the top two movies at the box office. Three new releases had to duke it out for the slots that followed. Two of them saw so-so returns, while the third just might end up being the biggest flop of 2016. Yes, an even bigger loss than the ‘Ghostbusters’ remake.

For the third consecutive week, ‘Suicide Squad‘ reigned at the top of the chart. While last week’s massive decline in attendance was brutal, this week’s was average. Dipping 52% week-over-week, DC’s $175 million villain’s tale closed the weekend with $20.7 million. To date, it has grossed $262.2 million domestically and $310.4 million overseas. The $572.6 million worldwide total makes the movie bankable – in fact, likely more profitable than ‘Batman v. Superman’ – so maybe Warner Bros. won’t give us disappointed fans an Ultimate Cut Blu-ray after all. If the theatrical release is already a success, what’s the point in funneling even more money into it?

Sausage Party‘ also managed to retain its #2 spot by wrangling in another $15.3 million. The 55% second-week decline is a bit steeper than most other R-rated comedies. Perhaps that’s due to its niche approach, or perhaps that’s due to the negative press the movie received last week when allegations were made about the filmmakers running the animation studio like a sweatshop. If that’s the case, it would explain how the feature-length CG-animated movie could be produced on a $19 million budget. After ten days, the film has earned $65.3 million domestically and $6 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $71.3 million.

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller’s arms dealing drama ‘War Dogs‘ opened in third place. From 3,258 screens, it pulled $14.3 million. In addition, it drew $6.5 million from 41 overseas markets, putting its worldwide debut total at $20.8 million. That wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t for the film’s $40 million price tag. At this point, it needs an Oscar nomination to boost it to bankability.

Although Laika’s stop-motion animated films have only gotten better with each round, their domestic opening weekend totals continue to dip with each release. That’s unfortunate, especially in the case of ‘Kubo and the Two Strings‘. The wildly imaginative and entertaining family flick earned $12.6 million in North America. From eight international territories, it made $900,000, giving it a $13.5 million worldwide debut. Fortunately, the studio’s films have gained more traction overseas with each new production. If that trends hold up, ‘Kubo’ will end its theatrical run near $100 million – which isn’t great for the $60 million picture. For the sake of getting more Laika films in the future, I beg you to get out there to see it.

Barely rounding out the Top 5 (for now) was ‘Ben-Hur‘, Paramount’s remake of the 1959 classic. The $100 million dud brought in a mere $11.3 million from more than 3,000 locations. Internationally, it collected $10.7 million from 23 markets. The $22 million global kick-off for the pricy picture signals that the remake might end up with the biggest studio loss for the year. The weekend estimates put ‘Ben-Hur’ in fifth place with just $19,000 more than ‘Pete’s Dragon’. When the box office actuals are announced later today, the two may flop-flop, placing ‘Ben-Hur’ in the #6 spot.

Lionsgate and CBS Films’ expansion of ‘Hell or High Water‘ proved a success. With rave reviews and great word-of-mouth, it earned $2.6 million when it expanded to 472 locations. The distributors are so pleased that they’ve announced further expansions in the coming weeks. Its ten-day total sits at $3.5 million.

Debut numbers have yet to be announced for Werner Herzog’s ‘Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World’.

Top 10:

1. ‘Suicide Squad’ (Warner Bros.) – $20,710,000

2. ‘Sausage Party’ (Sony) – $15,325,000

3. ‘War Dogs’ (Warner Bros.) – $14,300,000

4. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (Focus) – $12,610,000

5. ‘Ben-Hur’ (Paramount) – $11,350,000

6. ‘Pete’s Dragon’ (Buena Vista) – $11,331,000

7. ‘Bad Moms’ (STX) – $8,068,000

8. ‘Jason Bourne’ (Universal) – $7,980,000

9. ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ (Universal) – $5,770,000

10. ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ (Paramount) – $4,300,000


  1. Lord Bowler

    I think ‘Ben-Hur’ gets a bad rap. As most religious themed movies do. They will always get panned even if they are good.

    I don’t think this remake will be loved more than Charlton Heston’s classic, which I’ve also enjoyed. But, that doesn’t mean that the movie shouldn’t be remade for the 10th time.

    I plan to see Ben-Hur this weekend, and I hope it is good. It will all depend on the ability of its star. Judah Ben-Hur is the audiences’ view of the events in this time period so they have to connect with the actor portraying him.

    And, Morgan Freeman is in this.

    The recent TV-Movie of Ben Hur wasn’t that bad, had the built-in limitations of a TV budget.

    • NJScorpio

      I almost went to see ‘Ben-Hur’ this past weekend. Someone suggested checking it out, but I shot down the idea, even though I’m a fan of the director. Not because religion is involved (I honestly didn’t know that), nor because attending a movie can be expensive, but because I didn’t want to commit 3+ hours on a potentially boring movie without the ability to take a break (get snacks, use the bathroom, etc.). I have no problem with long movies, and I CAN sit in stiff movie theater seats without an intermission, if the movie is compelling enough. I suspected this wasn’t one of those.

        • NJScorpio

          Thanks for the clarification, I guess it was 3+ hours was just inferred by the genre/original’s length.

          Still, I’d probably gamble on watching ‘Suicide Squad’.

        • NJScorpio

          Josh, it was mentioned in the forum post about the Blu-Ray release, but I was wondering about your two cents on the matter….

          What would the feasibility be of a studio, to quickly recoup losses, making available a “still in theaters” digital rental through Vudu or similar service? Could a version be made available while there is still SOME buzz about this movie? Is doing so a sign of conceding to a failed theatrical release?

          • When a studio releases a big movie like this, their contract with the movie theater chains specifies an exclusive theatrical window during which the film won’t be available by any other means. I think it’s too late to change that now. If they’d wanted to do a simultaneous theatrical/streaming release, that would have had to be planned upfront.

            For the most part, releases like that have been confined to indie movies with minimal theatrical distribution. Doing it for a $100 million tentpole would be viewed, like you say, that the studio had lost confidence in the film.

            These marketing and release strategies may change over time, as the theatrical experience becomes less and less compelling to viewers.

    • William Henley

      LOL, Morgan Freeman is in almost everything, that is no longer a seller for me.

      But I will probably see this too for the same reasons you stated

  2. Eric

    I went and saw Ben Hur and in seeing it I had to keep my judgement in check because I really like the classic Ben Hur of 1959. After watching it there were some parts I did not like but all in all I actually really liked it and enjoyed the ending in the new one. I think that might have something to do with going in with low expectations but in my opinion its a 3 star movie maybe 3.5 depending on your preference for religious movies.

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