There are a few months during the calendar year that serve as dumping grounds for Hollywood. Those features that studios renounce having faith in, yet still give them a theatrical release forgoing the DTV route. January is one of those months. Historically, the first month of the year is particularly bad at the box office, though there have been some exceptions (the success of Taken is one that springs to mind immediately). This weekend saw four new releases but the only one to make a dent was Kung Fu Panda 3.
Arriving five years after the last Kung Fu Panda and trading in a summer release date for the last weekend in January, the franchise is still a force as it Kung Fu-ed its way to the top of the box office heap with $41 million. The previous one opened to $47.6 million the last weekend in May 2011, wedged between new release The Hangover Part II ($85.9 million) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($39.8 million). While the latest installment is not likely to meet or exceed the domestic total of Panda 2 ($165 million), it will most assuredly play to large audiences overseas and surpass the $500 million global threshold. In China, Kung Fu Panda 3 is looking at a $40 million weekend. With no kid movies in sight look for this to have strong legs through the month of February.
Outside of Panda and holdovers The Revenant ($12.4 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($10.7 million) the rest of the top ten was pretty dire. Disney’s The Finest Hours opened at No. 4 with $10.3 million while The Weinstein Company unceremoniously dumped Jane Got a Gun into theaters with little promotion or press screenings. A troubled production with directing and casting swaps, the Natalie Portman western made a paltry $803k from 1200 screens. That’s the worst wide release opening since The Weinstein Company has been in operation. It also ranks as having the 21st worst open weekend per-theater average ($664 per venue).
Meanwhile, Marlon Wayans’ latest parody, Fifty Shades of Black, barely made it into the top ten with its $6.1 million opening. It continues a law of diminishing returns trend for Marlon and parody movies in general.
Outside of the top 10, it was Oscar hopefuls that were holding serve with audiences as The Big Short ($3 million), Brooklyn ($1.7 million), Room ($1.2 million), and Spotlight ($1.1 million) took places No. 12 through No. 15 at the box office. Three of the four have netted more than $30 million in receipts with The Big Short clocking over $60 million.
On tap for the upcoming weekend we have the romance The Choice, the Coens with Hail, Caesar! and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I have invites to see all three the same night. I think I’ll go with the safe pick and salute Julius.
Top 10 below.
01. Kung Fu Panda 3 – $41 Million
02. The Revenant – $12.4 Million ($138.1M)
03. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $10.7 Million ($895.4M)
04. The Finest Hours – $10.3 Million
05. Ride Along 2 – $8.3 Million ($70.7M)
06. The Boy – $7.8 Million ($21.5M)
07. Dirty Grandpa – $7.5 Million ($22.8M)
08. The 5th Wave – $7 Million ($20.1M)
09. Fifty Shades of Black – $6.1 Million
10. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – $6 Million ($42.5M)
Tags: box office, Fifty Shades of Black, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Finest Hours