Box-Office Pileup: Three Major Films Crash and Burn in Same Weekend

Silence -Still 1 -H 2017
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Martin Scorsese's 'Silence,' Ben Affleck's 'Live by Night' and 'Monster Trucks' are DOA. Elsewhere, 'Hidden Figures' will easily win the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with $26 million, while 'La La Land' enjoys a big Golden Globes bump and 'Rogue One' approaches $1 billion.

The 2017 Martin Luther King holiday will go down in history as the weekend when three high-profile studio movies bombed, including Martin Scorsese's Silence and Ben Affleck's Live by Night. And it is only the second time in a decade that a movie hasn't grossed $30 million or more over the holiday.

Live by Night, playing in 2,822 theaters, earned an estimated $6.1 million for the four-day weekend. That's bleak news for Affleck and his home studio, Warner Bros., which spent a net $65 million to make the period gangster movie (tax incentives and rebates brought the budget down from $90 million). Live by Night, which first opened in select theaters over the year-end holidays, was unable to compete against a glut of other adult dramas after getting dinged poor reviews and a B CinemaScore. It also is struggling overseas, where it opened to $3.3 million from its first 28 markets, including a dismal U.K. opening of $873,000.

"We’re in the Ben Affleck business and we look forward to future projects. Unfortunately, Live by Night didn't connect with audiences," said Warners domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein. (Affleck is set to direct and star in a stand-alone Batman movie for the studio.)

The forecast is even worse for Silence, which likewise expanded nationwide over the weekend into a total of 747 theaters. The epic historical drama is tipped to earn $1.9 million over the three days and $2.3 million over four after costing $50 million to make. Silence, which was financed independently and distributed by Paramount, will be one of Scorsese's lowest-grossing features in the U.S. unless it nabs top Oscar nominations.

"This is a movie we will continue to support and expand," said Paramount president of marketing and distribution Megan Colligan, adding that the studio will begin to target faith-based moviegoers after initially selling Silence as more of an art house title. "Marty truly is one of the greatest living filmmakers, and this is a movie he desperately wanted to make."

Paramount didn't have a good holiday, no matter how you look at it. The ill-fated family film Monster Trucks is the first $100 million-plus loser of 2017 with an estimated four-day gross of $15 million from 3,111 locations. While that's slightly more than expected — thanks to strong showing in rural markets and an A CinemaScore —  the movie cost a hefty $125 million to make and prompted parent company Viacom to take a $115 million write-down even before it opened. Overseas, the CGI/live-action hybrid has grossed $14.7 million to date for a global cume of $29.7 million.

On a brighter note, Hidden Figures — the biographical drama about three black female NASA mathematicians who helped put the first man into space — continues to hold at No. 1. From Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment, the movie won the box-office race last weekend with $22.8 million and is easily winning the MLK weekend race with an estimated $26 million. The pic, now available in 3,286 cinemas, has now grossed nearly $60 million domestically.

Final numbers for the MLK frame will be tallied Tuesday.

Illumination Entertainment and Universal's animated hit Sing placed No. 2 with an estimated four-day gross of $19.2 million for a domestic cume of $238.4 million. Overseas, the film took in another $13.2 million for a foreign tally of $164.3 million and global total of $402.7 million through Monday.

Next up is Lionsgate's La La Land, which enjoyed an impressive bump after its record seven Golden Globe wins. The awards frontrunner grossed an estimated $17.5 million from 1,848 theaters, putting its domestic north of $77 million through Monday. La La Land saw a 43 percent spike over last weekend, in part because it upped its theater count to 1,848 runs, including a berth in 148 Imax theaters. 

Overseas, La La Land sang loudly, earning a further $17.8 million from 50 markets — including a stellar $7.3 million debut in the U.K. — for a foreign total of $54.8 million and a global cume north of $132 million.

Disney and Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story finished fourth with a four-day tally of $17.1 million. On Friday, the movie passed fellow Disney release Finding Dory ($486 million) to become the top-grossing domestic release of 2016 and on Monday will top the $500 million threshold domestically as it approaches the $1 billion mark globally.

Internationally, Rogue One was toppled from the top spot for the first time since it opened by Sony's Passengers, which earned $32.5 million from 65 territories — including China, where it launched at No. 1 with $17.5 million — for a worldwide total of $237.1 million. (Last weekend, Rogue One grossed $31 million in its Middle Kingdom debut and added another $9.8 million this weekend for a China total of $53.4 million, the second-best showing of any foreign market behind the U.K.)

Fueled by younger females, STX Entertainment's new horror thriller The Bye Bye Man came in ahead of expectations in North America, earning $15.3 million from 2,200 cinemas. The movie, which cost a modest $7.4 million to make, earned a C CinemaScore, not unusual for a horror offering. Females made up 61 percent of ticket buyers, while 75 percent of the audience was under the age of 25.

Pete Berg's Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day, starring Mark Wahlberg, came in behind expectations as it expanded nationwide, earning an estimated $14 million from 3,120 theaters to place No. 7. The CBS Films and Lionsgate release nabbed a coveted A+ CinemaScore as it expanded nationwide after opening in select theaters over Christmas. (Two years ago, Clint Eastwood's American Sniper scored a record $107 million when expanding nationwide over the MLK weekend.)

Like Bye Bye Man, Open Road's new crime drama Sleepless also fared better than expected, with a projected four-day debut of $9.9 million from 1,803 locations. It earned a B+ CinemaScore.

Among other award contenders, La La Land wasn't the only title enjoying a Golden Globes bump. Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, which won the Globe for best motion picture in the drama category, grossed an impressive $1.4 million in its 13th weekend from 582 locations for a total $14.9 million. A24 will expand the movie nationwide on Jan. 27 following Oscar nominations.

Jan. 14, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.
Jan. 15, 7:30 a.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.
Jan. 16, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.