With an estimated $41 million, Kung Fu Panda 3 crushed the previous January, animated opening weekend record of $19.4 million held by The Nut Job (2014). It's also bordering on a enough to become the second largest January opening of all-time, just shy of Ride Along's $41.5 million from 2014. Compared to the first two Panda films, the opening does signify yet another drop off following the original film's $60.2 million and Kung Fu Panda 2's $47.6 million, but with an "A" CinemaScore and not another animated release until March 4's Zootopia, it has a month all to itself to take in the animated, family dollar.
In second and third position, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens had amazing holds, both dropping less than 25% after the snowstorm had a significant impact on their totals last weekend. The Revenant brought in an estimated $12.4 million while Star Wars added another $10.7 million to its cume, which is now less than $5 million shy of $900 million. Internationally, Star Wars added another $12.6 million as its worldwide gross is now up to $1.983 billion.
The next new wide release on the chart finds us in fourth place where The Finest Hours performed largely as expected, bringing in $10.3 million along with an "A-" CinemaScore. While the result was expected it's not exactly a winning opening for a film with a budget reported to be in the $70-80 million range. Directed by Craig Gillespie (Million Dollar Arm) and starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana, the "based on a true story" flick ended up reeling in almost exactly as much as December's In the Heart of the Sea, which opened with $11 million in 40 fewer theaters.
Moving to the bottom of the top ten, Fifty Shades of Black is in a fight for ninth place, coming in just ahead of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi with an estimated $6.1 million. Industry expectations for the Marlon Wayans spoof were as wide as $6-12 million heading into the weekend, but in the end the film came in on the very low side of that range. With a budget said to be around $5 million it's hardly a flop, but in comparison to Wayans' A Haunted House films, it's well short of the $18.1 million the first one brought in back in January 2013 and even the $8.8 million the sequel earned a year later. Additionally, the "C" CinemaScore doesn't bode well for its holdover next weekend.
The biggest disappointment of the weekend, however, is the Natalie Portman-led Western, Jane Got a Gun. With an estimated $803,000 from 1,210 theaters, the film scored a mere $664 per theater average. This is, by far, the worst wide release opening in Portman's career and the worst opening on a per theater average with 2011's Hesher, which opened in 42 theaters with $126,046 ($3,001 PTA), a distant second.
On a more positive side, ShortsHD and Magnolia Pictures released the 2016 Oscar Nominated Shorts into 112 theaters and pulled in an impressive $505,000, the best result for the theatrical release of the short films yet. Last year's release opened in 118 theaters and pulled in $416,850 and went on to make over $2.4 million. Next week, another 80 theaters will be added to the list with several more being added the weekend of February 12, playing through Oscar weekend. Included in the list are select Cinemark, AMC, Regal and Carmike locations, a first time screening the shorts program for both Regal and Carmike.
Jumping back into the top ten, Ride Along 2 dropped only 33% to finish with an estimated $8.3 million followed by last weekend's new release, The Boy, which dropped a mere 26.8% for an estimated $7.8 million. Fellow sophomore efforts from Dirty Grandpa and The 5th Wave dipped less than 33%, finishing with $7.5 and $7 million respectively.
From an awards season perspective, The Big Short, Room and Spotlight won Screen Actors Guild Awards over the weekend and all three, along with Brooklyn, performed very well, bunched up in the 12-15 positions on the weekend chart. Only Spotlight dropped over 10%, but at the same time it also lost 315 theaters from last weekend.
Next weekend sees the release of the Coen brothers' new comedy Hail, Caesar!, the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Choice and the zombie comedy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
For a complete look at this weekend's estimated results click here and we'll have weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
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