March Releases: How’d They Do?

As May comes to a close, it’s time to look back a few months and pass judgment on the films from March. Were they a flop? A hit? Or somewhere in between?

Starting March off strong, Logan came in with his claws out, ready to stake his claim in the box office. And boy did he exceed expectations. Logan outgrossed both previous Wolverine solo outings, and is also the 4th highest grossing film in the X-Men canon. It ranks as the 5th highest opening weekend for March, making 88.4M as an R rated film, which it is the 4th highest opening R rated film of all time. It is also the widest R rated release of all time, hitting the most screens. It has topped out at about 226M domestically, but worldwide has managed an impressive 607M. I’m sure FOX was wishing this wasn’t Hugh Jackman’s last call as the titular hero. All of this off a pretty decent 97M budget. Not too expensive.
STATUS: Mega Hit

Before I Fall
They can’t all be hits. Granted, this film couldn’t possibly have cost that much, but still… it did not do well in theatres. After opening to a very sad 4.6M, Before I Fall finally topped out at 12.2M. It’s one of the few films on this list that wasn’t even in theatres in May, as it was pulled from screens officially on April 27th, not even two months. To top off the shit list, Before I Fall hasn’t been released in foreign territories, so all it has is the domestic gross.

The Shack
Based on a Christian themed book, the Sam Worthington starrer was one of the sleeper surprises of the spring. It surpassed expectations, opening to 16M against Logan, and capped off at 57M domestically. This film was never expected to play well overseas, but it added another 36M, bringing its worldwide total to 93M. I’m not sure what the budget was on The Shack, but I’m still impressed.

Table 19
This mismanaged Fox Searchlight comedy did get to 868 theatres, and that is enough to qualify it as a wide release. It’s an indie film that could have done more if the film was properly promoted, as the cast is extremely likeable (Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow). Unfortunately, this film was dumped into March. It did receive a small foreign release, so it has a worldwide total of 4.9M. I don’t want to be too harsh on it, because expectations were extremely low from the beginning.
STATUS: Disappointment

Kong: Skull Island
Sometimes, I see a film advertised, and I start having a picture in my mind where the film should end up at the box office. Kong: Skull Island basically landed where I thought it would, which means I have a hard time calling this film any kind of flop or disappointment despite the fact that it actually failed to make back its budget domestically. For some reason, this film was allowed a 185M budget, which seems steep, and automatically puts the film at a disadvantage. Instead, it made 167M domestically (which I honestly think is still really good), and ended with 565M (so far) in worldwide grosses. It is still in release, so that number is growing. After all is said and done, Kong: Skull Island is profitable because of the worldwide grosses. I’m not punishing it for its ballooned budget.

Beauty And The Beast
I think you know where this one is going. This film is currently the 8th highest grossing movie of all time domestically, with 501M in the bank. It just finally fell out of the top 10 last weekend. It almost feels premature to cast judgement on a film that is currently 11th at the Box Office, but it’s so far ahead that everything now is just extra. With 1.2M in the bank worldwide, this is the 10th highest grossing film of all time with foreign box included. It had a 160M budget, but it has already made that back in spades. And this is one of those rare films that just screams “merchandising”, which means Disney has made an absolute shit ton of money from this. I could write all day about how incredibly successful this film is, but I won’t.
STATUS: Mega-Hit

The Belko Experiment
Had this film been given a foreign release, it could have actually crept into the Even territory. Yes, 10M domestically is not a great total. It’s actually kinda shitty. However, this horror movie cost only 5M to make, which means that even after advertising, the studio isn’t losing a ton of money on this film. Instead of a flop, it’s more like a disappointment. Also, to be fair, it had a lower screen count (only 1300 screens), which meant the studio didn’t have a lot of faith from the beginning.
STATUS: Disappointment

T2: Trainspotting
Technically, T2: Trainspotting didn’t meet my requirement for “wide release” like Table 19 did. The widest it went was 331 screens, far below the typical 800 needed to be qualified as a “wide” release. However, I felt it necessary to point out that it still managed 2.4M domestically (not bad) and another 39M in foreign territories. All off of an 18M budget. You might have missed this in theatres, but it actually didn’t do too bad.

A film destined to win some Razzies, CHIPS was called a flop right out of the gate. It opened in 7th with 7.7M and finished with 18.6M domestically. It hasn’t played well overseas either, so its foreign total sits at 25M, which happens to also be its budget (before ads). Technically, it made back its budget, but just barely, and that’s not with ancillaries accounted for. I want to bring down the hammer of justice and declare it a flop, but I also want to applaud the studio, and Dax Shepard, for at least managing to not spend a ton of cash on a bad idea. You might think I’m crazy, but I’m labeling this a….
STATUS: Disappointment

What you need to know about Life is that it only cost 58M to make. That’s actually pretty good for a Sci-Fi film with two big actors. It definitely is not a hit, after making only 30M domestically, but with 93M (and counting) worldwide, it’s also not a flop. Had this film managed to make about 20M more worldwide, I’d probably feel safe in calling this “even”, but right now it stands as a…
STATUS: Disappointment

Power Rangers
I know they had extremely high hopes for this reboot. I know this because they pumped 100M into a fucking Power Rangers movie. That’s insane. For a film where the main cast are all no name actors, and the final battle is pretty much the only CGI heavy sequence… what did they spend the money on? This film doesn’t look like a 100M film. Wasted money has kept this film from being a hit. I should be able to write about how a Power Rangers movie came in and made 140M worldwide, and relaunched the franchise. Instead, I have to write about how it barely made back its 100M budget, and there probably won’t be any more…because they don’t know how to make a Power Rangers movie for 50M. In case you were wondering, this is the highest grossing Power Rangers theatrical release to date. which is a feat in itself, since the original came out when the Power Rangers were actually still somewhat popular. In fact, Power Rangers made more domestically and worldwide than the first two films COMBINED. Even when adjusted for inflation, Power Rangers still beats out the original.

The Boss Baby
It was one of those films that everyone thought was going to disappoint. Why not? Peabody and Sherman did. But The Boss Baby actually resonated enough with audiences to open to 50M, and managed to take advantage of the lack of competition through April and May to reach 169M domestically. And as of last week, it was still in the Top 10. It has made 477M worldwide, which is pretty solid. However, it is not a mega-hit. For Dreamworks, this film is a mid-pack performer, grossing just under Home. It’s probably one and done for The Boss Baby.

Ghost In The Shell
I also wish that Ghost In The Shell had cost less. 110 ? Really? That just seems deeply unnecessary. Domestically, it flopped, making only 40.5M. However, it did much better overseas, pulling its worldwide total to 169M. It had one of the shortest runs in theatres of the films on this list, pulling in only 56 days (shorter than even CHIPS). It’s a tough call between bringing down the hammer completely, or giving it some props. That 129M foreign gross is somewhat keeping it afloat.
STATUS: Disappointment

The Zookeeper’s Wife
Another one of those “barely wide” releases. With 1,057, how far was it really supposed to go? However, it opened to 3.2M (not bad) and ended with 17M domestically. That’s way more than a 3X multiplier. I’m not sure what the budget is, but I’m hoping it wasn’t a lot, because I’m going with Even on this.

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