Friday Box Office: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Leads New Releases Entering Super Bowl Weekend

     February 6, 2016


Kung Fu Panda 3 will secure a second weekend in first place, thanks largely to a lack of enthusiasm for the three new releases the box office has put up against this year’s Super Bowl. Only Hail, Caesar!, the period comedy from the Coen Brothers, will hit double digits through Sunday, while The Choice and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies both seem destined to open well below expectations.

After debuting in first place last weekend, Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda 3 earned an estimated $5.2 million yesterday and is expected to top $20 million by Sunday. That would mark a sophomore drop of more than 50%, which is a bit steep when compared to similar animated titles. For example, Hotel Transylvania 2 dropped 31.5% in its own sophomore frame last October though, to be fair, the Sony sequel did not have to compete with America’s favorite sporting event.

hail-caesar-posterIn second place on Friday, Universal’s Hail, Caesar! took in an estimated $4.3 million from 2,232 locations. That indicates an opening weekend of about $11 million, or about what the industry expected. Hail, Caesar! is one of just a handful of Coen Brothers films to get an initial release in more than 2,000 theatres, including Burn After Reading. Like Caesar!, Burn starred George Clooney and an all-star ensemble, but it opened closer to $20 million back in 2008. Though the Super Bowl makes a convenient scapegoat for Caesar!, the film’s discouraging C- CinemaScore may be the bigger factor in determining its final box office future.

In third place yesterday was The Choice, the latest in a seemingly endless series of film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks’ novels. The romance pic took third place with an estimated $2.48 from 2,631 locations on Friday. Sparks has a history of successfully counterprogramming the Super Bowl: in 2010 Dear John opened with $30.4 million, or the second-highest Super Bowl debut of all time. Clearly, The Choice will not come close to that figure. In fact, it should wind up as the lowest debut ever for a Sparks novel with just over $5 million over three days.

The final new release of the weekend is also a literary adaptation: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on Seth Grahame-Smith‘s 2008 bestseller. The horror riff on the Jane Austen classic took in an estimated $2 million from 2,931 locations on Friday. That should make topping $5 million difficult for Zombies – a film that was projected to open closer to $10 million.

As we told you yesterday, the biggest box office news of the week is the fact that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has now earned over $900 million in North America. Compared to that incredible achievement, even The Revenant looks like an underachiever on Friday’s top five chart, though these things are all relative… We’ll have full details on the weekend box office tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Kung Fu Panda 3 $5,200,000 $53.2
2.  Hail, Caesar! $4,310,000 $4.3
3.  The Choice $2,480,000 $2.48
4.  The Revenant $2,080,000 $144.6
5.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies $2,035,000 $2
6.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens $1,760,000 $900.8

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