Sunday Update: Kung Fu Panda 3 easily led the box office this weekend with an estimated $41.0 million. However, the 3D computer animated sequel from Fox and DreamWorks Animation opened below expectations, which had been boosted a bit as a result of strong online pre-sales heading into the weekend. Kung Fu Panda 3 debuted 21 percent below the $52.11 million debut of last year's Home and 14 percent below the $47.66 million opening weekend take of 2011's Kung Fu Panda 2 (which was deflated a bit from opening on a Thursday). Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Kung Fu Panda 3 did register the third largest January debut of all time (behind only American Sniper and Ride Along).
Kung Fu Panda 3 opened with $10.5 million on Friday, was up a strong 74 percent on Saturday to gross $18.3 million and is estimated to decline 33 percent on Sunday to gross $12.2 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.90 to 1. With no new family films going into wide release during the month of February, Kung Fu Panda 3 will have a strong chance of holding up well going forward. The film's strong A rating on CinemaScore is a good sign for Kung Fu Panda 3 going forward as well.
Fellow Fox release The Revenant placed in a distant second with an estimated $12.4 million. The Alejandro González Iñárritu directed western starring Leonardo DiCaprio was down a slim 23 percent, as holdovers in general benefited this weekend from last weekend's grosses being deflated by both Winter Storm Jonas and last Sunday's NFL Conference Championship Games. The Revenant continues to exceed expectations with $138.17 million after 24 days of wide release (and an additional two weeks of platform release). The film is currently running an impressive 28 percent ahead of the $108.01 million 24-day take of 2010's Shutter Island.
Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens claimed third place with an estimated $10.78 million. The seventh chapter of the Star Wars franchise was down just 23 percent from last weekend's deflated performance. This weekend's hold was especially impressive given that The Force Awakens was playing in 809 fewer locations this weekend than it was last weekend. With a record-breaking 45-day gross of $895.43 million, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now just $4.57 million away from becoming the first film ever to reach the $900 million unadjusted domestic mark.
Fellow Disney release The Finest Hours followed closely behind in fourth place with an estimated $10.33 million debut. The 3D action drama starring Chris Pine debuted towards the higher end of its modest expectations, but performed softly with its price tag in mind. The Finest Hours opened 6.5 percent below the recent $11.05 million debut of In the Heart of the Sea. However, The Finest Hours is likely to hold up significantly better than In the Heart of the Sea did, thanks in part to not opening the weekend before The Force Awakens. The Finest Hours received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore.
Ride Along 2 rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $8.35 million. Universal's PG-13 rated comedy sequel starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart was down 33 percent, as the film held up much better this weekend than it did last weekend. Ride Along 2 has grossed $70.78 million in 17 days. That is below expectations and places the film 24 percent behind the $92.70 million 17-day take of 2014's Ride Along (which fell 43.5 percent in its third weekend to gross $12.04 million).
Last weekend's three new wide releases all held up nicely this weekend and all three films remained fairly bunched together. STX Entertainment's The Boy was down just 27 percent to take sixth with an estimated $7.89 million; Lionsgate's Dirty Grandpa declined 32 percent to follow in seventh with an estimated $7.58 million and Sony's The 5th Wave also fell 32 percent to land in eighth place with an estimated $7.00 million. Respective ten day grosses stand at $22.82 million for Dirty Grandpa, at $21.53 million for The Boy and at $20.19 million for The 5th Wave.
Meanwhile, Open Road's Fifty Shades of Black disappointed this weekend with an estimated ninth place start of just $6.19 million. The Marlon Wayans led R-rated comedy debuted below its already scaled back expectations and a very underwhelming 30 percent below the $8.84 million start of 2014's A Haunted House 2. Given the performances of Wayans' more recent films, Fifty Shades of Black is likely to fall off extremely quickly going forward. The film's lackluster C rating on CinemaScore won't do it any favors either.
Saturday Update: Fox reports that DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 3 bowed to an estimated $10.5 million on opening day Friday, claiming first place in the process -- the first animated film to do so since October 1 (Hotel Transylvania 2's last day in that position). Unfortunately, that does fall slightly short of pre-release expectations (and south of Home's $15.7 million opening day last March). However, the long game should benefit the long-awaited second sequel in the franchise as strong word of mouth (89 percent on Flixster) and very positive reviews (79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) are in its favor, in addition to a lack of any real competition until March's Zootopia. For opening weekend, BoxOffice projects a $37 million haul, followed by strong legs thereafter.
Disney's The Finest Hours debuted in second place on Friday with an estimated opening of $3.312 million. That's generally in line with the $3.63 million opening day of the studio's McFarland, USA last February. While in line with pre-release expectations, the big-budget film will certainly need to sprout strong legs in the long run. Early word of mouth appears mixed with a 69 percent Flixster score and 59 percent critics' rating. BoxOffice projects a $10 million opening weekend in fourth place.
The Revenant scooted down to third place on Friday with $3.22 million, off 30 percent from the same day last week. That brings the 12-time Oscar nominee's domestic tally up to an impressive $129 million and counting. This weekend should ring up around $12.1 million for a second place finish.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens took fourth place yesterday as it eased 30 percent from last Friday to $2.459 million. That brings the all-time domestic champ's running total up to $887.1 million now as it chases down its next benchmark of $900 million (which it will reach sometime next week). Look for another strong weekend around $10.4 million in third place.
The Boy filled out the top five yesterday with $2.31 million, down just 39.5 percent from its opening day last week. That's an impressive hold for most movies, especially in the horror genre, indicating healthy word of mouth among the target audience. The film has tallied $15.9 million in eight days of release as it heads toward a strong sophomore frame around $7.8 million.
Meanwhile, Fifty Shades of Black lived down to expectations with a $2.25 million opening day. By comparison, fellow Wayans-led spoof A Haunted House bagged a $6.8 million first day back in January 2013. Word of mouth (40 percent) and reviews (14 percent) are both in the cellar, so theatrical life will be short-lived. Look for an opening weekend around $6.3 million.
Friday Update: Sources report that Disney's The Finest Hours grabbed an estimated $375,000 from Thursday night's first showings. By comparison, that bests the Thursday bows of McFarland, USA ($260,000) and Million Dollar Arm ($250,000) -- two other recent live action Disney films based on true stories. With the film taking over most IMAX locations this weekend from the studio's own Star Wars: The Force Awakens, premium screen grosses could help the film open somewhere between $12-15 million this weekend.
Meanwhile, Fifty Shades of Black pulled $275,000 from last night's shows. Unfortunately, the best comparison would be for the fellow Marlon Wayans-led A Haunted House movies, but neither of those received Thursday night openings. Rough projections have the comedic spoof pulling in between $8-11 million overall this weekend.
The headlining opener for the weekend, Kung Fu Panda 3, did not receive any Thursday night shows. This is becoming a fairly common practice even for high profile animated films as last year's Hotel Transylvania 2 and Fox's own The Peanuts Movie also opted out of Thursday night openings. Given the popularity of the Panda series through two films, very positive reviews for the new entry, the lack of NFL playoffs this weekend, and many east coast families looking to get out after being snowed in last weekend, we're very optimistic about Panda 3's opening weekend (not to mention potential for legs through February) having a shot at $50 million or more this weekend -- but an opening in the $40m+ range would be a great start regardless.