April Releases: How’d They Do?

Basically on the first (or second, if I’m lazy) of every month, I take a look back three months at the films that have basically already made their lasting impact on the box office. These films have typically already fallen out of theatres, so I can already pass judgment on them. I generally only do wide releases, because limited releases just aren’t really fair.

If you’re just joining us, I’ll judge a film as either a Mega-Hit, a Hit, Even, a Disappointment, or a Flop. Five levels.

The Case For Christ
From distributor PureFlix, I’m sure they had the bar low for this Christian themed film. Still, in a world where God’s Not Dead can make 60M domestically, I hae to say that 14M for The Case For Christ is still somewhat disappointing. I have a feeling this was really a cheaply made film, and it might have even made back its budget. But when you consider that it failed to make any real impact theatrically, it is still a disappointment.
STATUS: Disappointment

Going In Style
Director Zach Braff went after the 60+ crowd, and managed somewhat of a sleeper hit. Budgeted at 25M, Going In Style opened to 11M, but went on to have a terrific 4X multiplier domestically, topping off at 44M. That shows some really strong word of mouth. It also released internationally, pushing its total to 82M worldwide. Not bad.

Smurfs: The Lost Village
This isn’t the first animated Smurfs film. The Smurfs and the Magic Flute made 11M back in 1983. It took many years for the live action reboot to come along, which made 421M worldwide. The sequel, didn’t do as well, making only 276M worldwide. So they threw out the live action elements, and went with a fully animated film again. It had a very sad opening weekend of 13M, before capping at 44M domestically. Not quite a 4X multiplier, but more than 3X. So, word of mouth was actually OK. It made more money overseas, and has a worldwide total of 194M off a production budget of 60M. So, despite not doing very well Domestically, I’d say this film played well enough to be considered “even”, as it still has home video (where kids films typically do pretty well).

Gifted did go wide. That’s because it was doing so well in limited release that the distributor felt it would do well, and it did. This Chris Evans drama eventually made 24M, and another 5M overseas. It’s one of the few “didn’t see that coming” spring releases. While it’s impact is not huge, I’m still calling this a hit.

Your Name
Your Name did not get a wide release, so I’m bending my rules here in mentioning this film. Its widest point was 311 theatres. You might know it as that weird anime film your quirky friend kept trying to get you to see. Well, perhaps that’s because it made a whopping 354M worldwide. 253M of that was from Japan alone. I believe it is the highest grossing anime release worldwide, ever. So, in case you couldn’t see this coming, Your-Name is a…
STATUS: Mega-Hit

The Fate Of The Furious
While it didn’t soar to the heights of Furious 7, which made 1.5 BILLION worldwide, it did soar pretty damn high. Like, it still went above the clouds. With a worldwide gross of 1.2 billion, there’s really nothing else to discuss. That’s it. Case closed.
STATUS: Mega-Hit

Born In China
I don’t really know what the expectations are for these DisneyNature films. They clearly will never be huge hits. They all make about the same amount of money. Still, Born In China is the lowest grossing of all seven DisneyNature films domestically, and the fifth when Worldwide is counted. I think they probably were expecting more, and not for it to be the lowest of an already low-grossing series of films.
STATUS: Disappointment

Free Fire
Probably shouldn’t have been given a wide release. Free Fire made just 1.7M domestically, and it did drop in over 1,000 theatres. So, taking that into consideration, yeah… it’s a huge flop. No international release either.

Phoenix Forgotten
This little seen found footage film barely made a dent at the box office. 3.6M made it marginally more successful than Free Fire. And, given that it’s a found footage film, it might have even made back it’s budget. But 3.6M is so low, I can’t help but still call it a flop.

The Promise
There were high hopes for The Promise. They targeted Armenian’s to come out and see this. It opened to 4M and finished with 8.2M. That’s barely a 2X multiplier. There was no word of mouth here, and no international release. Maybe it’ll find its voice on DVD.

An unfortunate title for a film with a worldwide gross of 15M. Yes, this film did actually have a foreign release, and still no one cared.

The Circle
Adapted from a book, starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, this critically bashed disaster finished with only 20M, barely above a 2X multiplier. No word of mouth here. Also, no foreign release. Which is SHOCKING considering how well Tom Hanks plays overseas, and even Emma Watson is known for the Harry Potter franchise. I’m guessing the studio just wants this forgotten.

How To Be A Latin Lover
While it failed to hit the 44M domestic that Instructions Not Included made (or the 99M worldwide), it still did respectable business. It opened to 12M, and finished with 32M. Not quite a 3X multiplier, more like a 2.5X. I couldn’t find foreign grosses for this, which seems odd. I don’t know why this film wouldn’t have a Mexican release, and some other Latin American countries. Missed opportunity? Or is it still to come?

That’s it. Join me again on August 1st when we discuss the movies of May. There were a bunch of limited release films in April that never got a wide release, like The Lost City Of Z, Spark, Sleight, Colossal, and Their Finest that I just didn’t feel right measuring up to the wider releases of the month.

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