Second weekend in box office performance

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In the United States, a film's box office gross in its second weekend of theatrical release is one of several factors used to predict overall box office performance. Most films experience a decline in box office gross in its second weekend. If the percentage of the drop is below the average, it indicates a subpar box office performance for the rest of its theatrical run. Some films are exceptions that they perform better in their second weekend of release than on opening weekend.

Second weekend drop[edit]

During a film's theatrical run, its box office performance generally declines from weekend to weekend. In addition to the film's opening weekend gross, the percentage of the change between the opening weekend and the second weekend is used as a gauge for a film's commercial success. Assuming that the number of theaters stays the same, a normal drop in box office gross from the first weekend to the second would be 40%. A drop of greater than 60% indicates a weak future performance.[1] Horror films are susceptible to having large drops in the second weekend and beyond even after a strong opening weekend.[2] Chris Anderson, in his 2008 book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, said twenty years ago, the average film experienced a second weekend drop of less than 30% and that the contemporary drop was now around 50%. Anderson ascribed the change to moviegoers being able to better identify mediocre and bad films through more information, both from more reviews and greater word-of-mouth.[3] Slate in 2012 also reported a steeper drop over the course of the years. In the 1980s, the average drop was 15.7%, and in the 1990s, the drop was 21.5%. In 2012, the average drop was 49.1%.[4]

The Los Angeles Times said the second weekend drop was seasonal in the United States. Between May and July, the country's summer season, films have more significant drops than during the rest of the year. It reported that in May 2014, three opening blockbuster films—The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, and X-Men: Days of Future Past—all had drops of over 60% where films earlier in the 21st century rarely had drops that steep. The newspaper cited possible reasons for the drops: that the films did not "inspire long-term moviegoing", and that alternative platforms such as Redbox, Netflix, and video on demand attracted film audiences who missed a film's opening weekend.[5]

The box office website Box Office Mojo ranks the following films by biggest second weekend drops during their wide release in the United States, which means screening in at least 600 theaters. The website bases its ranking on box office performance data from 1982 onward.[6]

Top ten films by second weekend drop
Rank Film Year in
Wide Release
Opening
Weekend ($)
Second
Weekend ($)
Change
(%)
Theaters
(Second Weekend)
1 Undiscovered 2005 676,048 91,748 -86.5 754
2 Slow Burn 2007 778,123 119,150 -84.7 755
3 Gigli 2003 3,753,518 678,640 -81.9 2,215
4 Bad Moon 1996 607,081 112,397 -81.5 649
5 Return to the Blue Lagoon 1991 1,277,428 245,814 -80.8 1,222
6 Friday the 13th 2009 40,570,365 7,942,472 -80.4 3,105
7 Brothers Solomon, TheThe Brothers Solomon 2007 508,601 100,230 -80.3 700
8 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace 1996 1,428,658 289,238 -79.8 1,589
9 Radioland Murders 1994 835,570 179,315 -78.5 815
10 Another You 1991 1,537,965 334,836 -78.2 1,278

The 2012 family film The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, though not in wide release, set a record for biggest second weekend drop. It opened in 2,160 theaters and grossed $443,901 over the opening weekend. In its second weekend, it screened in 281 theaters and grossed $43,854, which was a 90.1% drop.[7][8]

Second weekend increase[edit]

An increase in a film's box office gross in its second weekend, provided that the number of theaters did not grow substantially, is considered exceptional. The 1997 film Titanic had an opening weekend gross of $28.64 million and with only a small increase in the number of theaters, its second weekend gross was $35.45 million, a 24% increase from the previous weekend.[1]

Box Office Mojo reports that 12 films (out of between 600-700 assessed) have opened in over 3,000 theaters and increased in gross in its second weekend.[9]

Films with second weekend increase in 3,000+ theaters
Rank Film Year in
Wide Release
Opening
Weekend ($)
Second
Weekend ($)
Change
(%)
Theaters
(Second Weekend)
1 Cheaper by the Dozen 2 2005 9,309,387 14,486,519 +55.6 3,211
2 We Bought a Zoo 2011 9,360,434 13,238,241 +41.4 3,163
3 Wild Thornberrys Movie, TheThe Wild Thornberrys Movie 2002 6,013,847 7,364,432 +22.5 3,012
4 Night at the Museum 2006 30,433,781 36,766,905 +20.8 3,768
5 Blind Side, TheThe Blind Side 2009 34,119,372 40,111,364 +17.6 3,140
6 Adventures of Tintin, TheThe Adventures of Tintin 2011 9,720,993 11,436,160 +17.6 3,087
7 Fun with Dick and Jane 2005 14,383,515 16,522,532 +14.9 3,056
8 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius 2001 13,832,786 15,035,649 +8.7 3,151
9 Prince of Egypt, TheThe Prince of Egypt 1998 14,524,321 15,119,107 +4.1 3,218
10 Walking with Dinosaurs 2013 7,091,938 7,276,172 +2.6 3,243
11 Bolt 2008 26,223,128 26,581,002 +1.4 3,654
12 Shrek 2001 42,347,760 42,481,425 +0.3 3,623

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mathijs, Ernest (2006). Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context. Wallflower Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-904764-82-3. 
  2. ^ Langford, Barry (2006). Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond. Edinburgh University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7486-1903-0. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Chris (2008). The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Hyperion. p. 233. ISBN 978-1-4013-0966-4. 
  4. ^ Pagels, Jim (July 23, 2012). "Why Batman Had No Competition at the Box Office". Slate. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (June 3, 2014). "What's causing sales for recent big films to drop sharply after their first weekend?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Biggest Second Weekend Drops". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ Cunningham, Todd (September 10, 2012). "'Oogieloves' Sets Another Box Office Record: Biggest 2nd-Week Drop". The Wrap (The Wrap News Inc.). Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Smallest Second Weekend Drops". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 27, 2014.