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Holiday Box Office Update: ‘Legend of Tarzan’ and ‘The Purge: Election Year’ Improve; ‘The BFG’ Falls

The holiday weekend box office was kind to some newcomers, while cruel to Spielberg's latest.

"The BFG"

“The BFG”


Now that the studios have provided their full holiday weekend estimates, including revised figures for Sunday with actual numbers, the total amount of box office business remains the same (a total take $179 million for the Top Ten), but particularly among the new releases, there is definitely some variation.

The most significant change is the downward revision for “The BFG” (Buena Vista), Steven Spielberg’s already disappointing $140 million adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel of the same name. The revised three-day estimate is over $1 million short of Disney’s initial number, meaning that Sunday came in well short of their guess. They also overestimated “Finding Dory” by $490,000, so it’s possible that films that skewed youngest fared worse overall. But any hope that “The BFG” might stabilize with good word of mouth and go on to better results took a big hit with this news.

READ MORE: Top 10 Box Office Takeaways: ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ and ‘The BFG’ May Not Recoup

The box office’s other two new wide release films came in stronger on Sunday than anticipated, positive results that confirm initial good reaction. “The Legend of Tarzan” (Warner Bros.) improved $380,000 for Sunday, while “The Purge: Election Year” (Universal) upped its performance by $529,000. None of these changed the order for the Top Ten for the weekend, but results like these reconfirm the success (in the case of “Tarzan,” relative compared to its $180 million budget) of their initial weekends.

Alexander Skarsgård The Legend of Tarzan

“The Legend of Tarzan”

Warner Bros.

There is, however, one note of concern overall. The Top Ten estimate for the full four-day weekend totals $212 million, and the last time the Fourth of July holiday fell on a Monday (an optimal placement for moviegoing) was in 2011, that year, the total came to $223 million, or about 5% better in unadjusted figures. With three new films with major potential (at least in production budgets — this year’s came in around $330 million, all but $10 million of this from “Tarzan” and “The BFG”), this shortfall reinforces how the only reason the industry isn’t in crisis is because of the huge increase in foreign revenues, particularly China, over the last five years.

Continuing to hover some distance below the Top Ten in the next two positions are “Swiss Army Man” (A24), $1,725,000 in 636 theaters, and “Our Kind of Traitor” (Roadside Attractions), $1,221,000 in 373 (both four-day estimates). These are average numbers at best for both films compared to similar releases in similar number of theaters.

The Top Ten (4 Day Estimates) (% change is for three days)

1. Finding Dory (Buena Vista) Week 3 – Last weekend #1

$50,195,956 (-43%)  in 4,305 theaters (no change); PTA (per theater average): $11,660; Cumulative: $380,546,000

2. The Legend of Tarzan (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 43; Est. budget: $180 million

$45,565,000 in 4,068 theaters; PTA: $12,796; Cumulative: $45,565,000

3. The Purge: Election Year (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 55; Est. budget: $10 million

$34,796,000 in 2,796 theaters; PTA: $12,445; Cumulative: $34,796,000

4. The BFG (Buena Vista) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 66; Est. budget: $140 million

$22,268,000 in 3,357 theaters; PTA: $6,663; Cumulative: $22,268,000

5. Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox) Week 2 – Last weekend #2

$20,200,000 (-60%) in 4,091 theaters (+23); PTA: $4,938; Cumulative: $76,357,000

6. Central Intelligence (Warner Bros.) Week 3 – Last weekend #3

$15,010,000 (-31%) in 3,166 theaters (-342); PTA: $4,741; Cumulative: $94,447,000

7. The Shallows (Sony) Week 2 – Last weekend #4

$10,450,000 (-48%) in 2,962 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,528; Cumulative: $36,702,000

8. Free State of Jones (STX) Week 2 – Last weekend #6

$5,076,000 (-45%) in 2,781 theaters (-34); PTA: $1,825; Cumulative: $16,142,000

9. Conjuring 2 (Warner Bros.) Week 4 – Last weekend #5

$4,570,000 (-50%) in 2,008 theaters (-1,025); PTA: $2,276; Cumulative: $96,004,000

10. Now You See Me 2 (Lionsgate) Week 4 – Last weekend #7

$3,600,000 (-46%) in 1,788 theaters (-957); PTA: $1,788; Cumulative: $59,339,000

READ MORE: Arthouse Audit: Nuns Story ‘The Innocents’ Most Robust of Specialty Openers

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