January Releases: How’d They Do?

Now that we’re on April 1st, we can pretty much look back on our January releases and figure out what actually was a hit, and what flopped. Most of these films are no longer in theatres, Some are still making bank overseas, and yes, Split was 29th last week in 292 screens, but it has pretty much slowed down.

Underworld: Blood Wars
We know it had the worst opening weekend of the franchise at 13.6M. It is also the lowest grossing, domestically, at 30.3M. Previously, the lowest opener in the franchise was the 4th entry at 20.8M, which was also the lowest grosser at 45.8M. These films aren’t too terribly expensive, with Blood Wars costing only 35M to make. It ended up not doing great overseas either, and the current worldwide tally is only 81M. Granted, Rise of the Lycans made only 91M worldwide, but I still have to believe this was the final stake in the Underworld series.

The Bye Bye Man
With a production budget of 7.4M, this one was destined to be a quick cash cow. After being delayed a few times, it finally dropped in the dead of January. With a solid opening weekend of 13.5M, it should be disappointing that it finished at not even a 2X multiplier, closing with 22.3M. It did awful overseas, and has a worldwide total of 24.5M. I don’t know what the marketing budget was on this film, but I can’t imagine it was that high. While not a hit, I don’t think this was a loss either.

Monster Trucks
I had heard this film was somewhat expensive, though I couldn’t find an actual budget. I think the studio was just cutting their losses here. A sad opening weekend of 10M led to a 33M final gross, and only 64M worldwide. I doubt this film made back its budget + marketing, and the studio is likely out some cash here.

Poorly handled and marketed, this Jamie Foxx film flew under the radar. It opened to only 8M, eventually making 20.7 domestically, but only 26.9M worldwide. It’s a shame that this film was just dumped out and not given any kind of a marketing push. Still, I can’t imagine this was a huge budget, so because of a lack of P&A, it might have come close to making back it’s budget. It’s not a flop, but it didn’t do well.
STATUS: Disappointment

The one true bright spot of January. It opened very strong, with 40M. The buzz around this Shyamalan film eventually pushed it to 137.3M domestically off of a 9M budget. That’s right, this film cost 9M to make. Not only was it the most profitable January release, but it is also likely to end up one of the most profitable films of the year. The buzz also translated overseas, where the film pushed the worldwide total to 265.3M (which is still technically growing). It revived Shyamalan’s career, and rightly so.
STATUS: Mega-Hit

XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage
Here’s where we get into murkier territory. The XXX sequel was expected to relaunch the franchise, yet it only opened to 20M against Split, and was deemed a disappointment. It ended up with 44.8M domestic. However, the film did outgross the non-Vin Diesel sequel State Of The Union, which only made 36.2M, but is a far cry from the original’s gross of 211.5M. So it’s a flop, right? This franchise is dead, right? Not so fast. Yes, this film had an 85M budget, so it would be easy to dismiss this as a flop, but you’d be ignoring the 301M it has made (so far) overseas. That’s more than twice what Split has done overseas, and also more than double what the original XXX did overseas. In fact, in terms of worldwide grosses, this is actually the top grossing film in the series. That’s right. This film actually managed to outgross the original. So, does it get a sequel? Maybe. I know that’s something they’re struggling over with regards to Warcraft, which performed terribly in the US but did really well overseas. Do you make an American film that doesn’t play well locally, but destroys overseas? Time will tell, but for now, this film is actually a success.

A Dog’s Purpose
This 22M family film came under fire just before its release for its supposed mistreatment of animals. That didn’t stop the film from opening well (18.2M) and proving it had staying power (63.5M domestic). Apparently, people across the world love dogs too, because this translated overseas pushing its worldwide total to 175M. Not bad for a film with a 22M budget. It may not be one of the top money makers of the year, but it is very much a sleeper hit.

It made only 7.2M domestically, and the studio didn’t even bother giving this a foreign run. That’s disappointing, since it did star Matthew McConaughey, who might have brought in some eyes overseas. I doubt this was an expensive film, but still, I can’t ignore the awful gross for this film, and the lack of overseas distribution.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
If you were enraged by my analysis of XXX, prepare yourself. Again, it’s easy to say that this film is a flop. It was the series low opener at 13.6M (the fifth film actually opened to 21M), and its the lowest domestic grosser at 26.8M. However, these films make BANK overseas. To give perspective, the fifth film made 240M worldwide, and the fourth made 300M. So when I say that the worldwide tally for The Final Chapter is 312M, please, don’t kill me. With a 40M budget, it definitely was profitable for the studio. Look, it’s not my fault that people in other countries have different tastes in films. But, nevertheless, this series-ender managed to save itself from being a flop.

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