Kung Fu Panda 3 topped the box office this past weekend with an estimated $41 million, besting the aging Revenant which was relegated to second place and $12.4 million. In fact, the Panda grossed as much as the rest of the top 5 films combined and its $10,367 per theater average was also tops and miles ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which sat in second in the category with a $4,218 average. Both BoxOffice (predicted $51 million) and Moviepilot (predicted $47 million) were a tad high in their predictions for the Panda’s third outing. While this was the lowest opening number in the Kung Fu Panda series (and the second successive decline) one has to consider that January is not typically a month rife with huge openers, and its $41 million estimate puts it in third place all time for the month.
Word of mouth has been exceedingly strong for Panda, receiving an A grade from Cinemascore and its RottenTomatoes rating being 79% fresh so far. BoxOffice’s Twitter numbers for Kung Fu Panda 3 were stellar through its opening weekend, seeing growth everyday from Friday through to Sunday, exceedingly rare amongst wide releases. Only 4 wide release films in the past year have managed to accomplish that feat: American Sniper, Kingsman: The Secret Service, War Room and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip: each of which had very leggy runs at the box office. When looking at the release week’s overall Twitter numbers, however, Moviepilot notes that Kung Fu Panda 3 received half as many mentions as last year’s Home (52.1M Opening Weekend), Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie ($55M Opening Weekend), and How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($49M Opening Weekend).
The period coast guard thriller The Finest Hours opened in fourth place with $10.3 million. BoxOffice and Moviepilot just about nailed the opening with their predictions of $9 million and $9.2 million respectively. This was the lowest opening of Chris Pine's career for films in over 3,000 theatres (9 films total). While its Cinemascore was strong at A- and it had a fresh RottenTomatoes grade of 61% its marketing campaign never really caught on with moviegoers as was evident by its lackluster Twitter and Facebook performances. It didn't even have 40,000 likes before its release on Facebook which hinted at it missing the boat completely with younger audiences. Twitter had lackluster totals as well with its highpoint on Friday of just over 5,500 tweets being a far cry for other similar targeted films such as 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi which had over 26,000 tweets on opening day. Moviepilot’s search data reveals that the film came up with only two thirds of the figures for Chris Pine’s star-turn in Jack Ryan, indicating lower interest in the actor from older audiences. The lone bright spot here is that the film had a very solid Cinemascore, a fresh RottenTomatoes rating and its Twitter positive to negative ratios were the best of the new openers (even that of Kung Fu Panda 3).
50 Shades Of Black flopped to the tune of 9th place on the weekend and $6.2 million. The Marlon Wayans spoof of 50 Shades Of Grey never really took off, its Twitter numbers were even below that of The Finest Hours and considering that its target audiences was much younger this was bad news from the outset. Moviepilot notes the film amassed less than half of the Twitter mentions as Marlon Wayans’s previous spoof, A Haunted House 2, indicating lower buzz from fans among young people. Facebook was equally disappointing with only ~150k likes by release day. To put that into perspective, A Haunted House had over six times the Twitter traffic on its opening weekend and three times the likes. YouTube views also came up short according to Moviepilot, 2.2 million against AHH2’s 5.3 million. It's possible the Pro Bowl and other football and basketball sporting events kept eyes from target audiences away from this one. Moviepilot anticipated a stronger connective tissue from box office sensation Fifty Shades of Grey --but that didn't pan out.
While it was never going to be a critical darling, its Cinemascore was tied for worst on the year with a C and its Twitter positive to negative ratio was indeed worst on the year for wide releases at 4:1. The writing was on the wall that it was not going to be making it anywhere near to the $18 million that A Haunted House made but was just a question of how low it would slide. BoxOffice had predicted $8.5 million on the weekend while Moviepilot had gone a bit higher with a $12.5 million total.