Holiday Box Office: One Flop Finds New Life While Another One Sinks Further


The week between Christmas and New Year’s has historically proven to be a gift to underperforming movies, and box-office history is littered with examples. In 2011, for example, We Bought a Zoo opened with a mediocre $9 million, but thanks to Christmas week, legged it out to $75 million domestic. Also, in 2011, Steven Spielberg’s $135 million film The Adventures of TinTin looked like a bomb after opening with a $9 million weekend. It added nearly $50 million over the next two weeks and ended its run at $77 million (and nearly $375 million worldwide). In 2005, Jennifer Aniston’s forgettable Rumor Has It opened with $3 million and was thought to be a flop, but over Christmas week and New Year’s, the film added another $29 million and ended up with a respectable run.

The latest film to use the holiday week to revive itself is Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s Passengers, which opened with a tepid $22 million over its first five days. That’s not a great number for a film that cost $110 million. In fact, it’s the same number that Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising opened with over the summer before tapping out domestically at $55 million. In the last 8 days, however, Passengers has added $43 million to its domestic total and now looks poised to approach $90-$100 million domestically and should more than break even once worldwide grosses are accounted for. In fact, it looks like it grossed close to $60 million at the international box-office this weekend, so it may have already surpassed its budget. Not bad for a movie many were writing off a week ago as another expensive failure (that’s not to say that the film isn’t problematic).

Unfortunately, the holiday week isn’t a huge boon for every movie. Assassin’s Creed came out of its opening weekend with a paltry $10 million (against a $125 million price tag) and it’s not doing any better in its second weekend, putting up only another $10 million to bring its overall gross to around $41 million, which is a far cry from what the studio was hoping for, and with no box-office legs, Assassin’s Creed will be lucky to reach $60 million in North America. However, that’s a bigger number than Warcraft, which ended is run with $47 million domestically. Thanks to worldwide box-office appeal, however, Warcraft is the biggest video-game adaptation in box-office history with $433 million. Look for a similar international run for Assassin’s Creed, which is already putting up huge numbers in India, Germany, France, and Spain as it continues to roll out worldwide.

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