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US Box Office: analysis for the week end of Feb 14-16

Box Office Analysis for the week of February 17th. Monday is President's Day, completing a long, holiday weekend of movie going. President George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia.  It is said that he could not tell a lie. President Abraham Lincoln - also known as "Honest Abe" - was born on February 12, 1809 in Sinking Spring Farm, Kentucky.

A flock of new films opened in theatres to capitalize on the long weekend. Paramount topped the weekend box office with its debut of Sonic The Hedgehog, which grossed $57M through Sunday and is projected to earn $68M through Monday. This PG-rated, live-action animated film follows the story of Sonic as he navigates the challenges of life on Earth. Sonic was made famous as the star of a 1990's video game series by Japanese game developer Sega. Sonic's arch enemy is the villainous Dr. Robotnik, played by a flamboyant Jim Carey.  The film overperformed its already high expectations, and appears on its way to a fabulous run in theatres.  

Warner Bros. took second place with its week two earnings from Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.  It produced $17.1M through Sunday and is expected to grow to $19.6M after including Monday's results. Sony's Fantasy Island came in third place in its opening weekend, with $12.4M through Sunday and an expected $14M through Monday. Universal followed close behind with its debut of The Photograph, with $12.3M through Sunday and an expected $13.4M through Monday.

Our Industry News roundup features an inspirational tale of the struggles and successes of The Firehouse Theater in Kingston, Washington.  This small, community theatre was founded in 2008 when local resident Craig Smith converted the local firehouse into a movie house for this town of 2000 residents. Since then, Craig has run his theatre with a very personal touch. As he approaches retirement, Craig and the town have banded together to launch a GoFundMe campaign to appeal for the financial support necessary to ensure the continued operation of the theatre for years to come.  In just a few weeks, their campaign has been wildly successful, raising more than $200K in two weeks.  It proves the essential value that the community sees in preserving and growing its local movie theater.

We look deeper into one of this year's smashing successes in Independent Film distribution. The South Korean film Parasite won Best Picture at last weekend's Oscars, a success not only for the film and its director Bong Joon-ho but also for its US distributor Neon.  In the brief 2 1/2 years since Neon was founded, the NY-based distributor has successfully navigated the sometimes-treacherous waters of theatrical releasing for independent films.  Speaking of the Oscars, on the heels of another year of plumeting ratings for the awards broadcast, IndieWire offers its suggestions on a way forward for the industry, using social media to promote itself, its stars and its film offerings.

Gower Street's Rolling 8-Week Box Office Forecast now extends through the first week in April, 2020. For that week, Disney is expected to boost results to 5% higher than the same week in 2019, based on continued strong turnout for the second week of its blockbuster live-action remake of Mulan. In the Hollywood Report, Martin Grove runs down the Best Picture and Best Director winners chosen by all the major awards organizations this season.

We conclude with our regular film data and tables: the Weekly Film Calendar covering releases over the next six weeks, recently announced Studio Release Changes, a list of Recent Industry Screenings, the latest MPAA film ratings and a list of Notable New Trailers released last week.

 

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