With the summer box office heating up, it’s a good time to cast our gaze back to the first three months of 2017 and try to assess the performance of the year’s early releases—with a specific focus on the opening weekend grosses and their social media returns.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was the biggest opener of any film in any first quarter ever, with its $174 million easily besting the competition. Its Twitter returns of just under 1.4 million tweets in its release week also easily topped the year, which was even more impressive given the fact that family-friendly films often have a harder time generating Twitter buzz. The most relevant Twitter comparison was Cinderella, which had just 144,000 tweets. Many had predicted the film would do well, but no one saw such a massive success, which is now all but assured to rank among the top three titles of the year, giving Disney yet another massive win. It has already secured the eighth biggest total ever at the box office, and with Star Wars: The Last Jedi looming, Disney will likely own six of the 10 highest grossing films of all time by early 2018.
Logan allowed Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart to bow out of the X-Men franchise on a high note, as it proved to be the biggest opener of the Wolverine trilogy at $88 million. This was even more notable as it was somewhat of a departure from the other X-Men films, with its R rating and darker story line. Its 534,000 tweets were also second overall in the first quarter, making it the most talked about X-Men film ever in its release week—10 times that of The Wolverine. The big social media numbers coupled with stellar reviews were a dead giveaway for its strong opening.
Kong: Skull Island has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the year so far, opening to $61 million. The film caused doubt among some analysts due to its lack of star power and big budget but proved them all wrong with a very strong showing. Its 200,000 release week tweets were solid though nowhere near the 475,000 that 2014’s Godzilla secured. With the promise of future sequels and a potential merging with the Godzilla franchise, this could be the beginning of another high-profile, not to mention highly profitable, franchise for Warner Bros.
The LEGO Batman Movie was the fourth biggest opener in the first quarter with a $53 million opening. It’s hard not to be disappointed with this start, solely because of the high expectations the film had thanks to its predecessor The LEGO Movie, which opened to $69 million in 2014. But Twitter provided an invaluable reality check for the sequel, as it secured only 132,000 tweets during its release week, a far cry from the 327,000 the first movie had pulled down.
Lastly, Boss Baby ended up as one of the most profitable movies of the year—it pulled down a $50 million start and took just about everyone by surprise. The film made the most of a market that was starved for family-friendly animated options, a strong trailer, and that fact that its veteran star Alec Baldwin has been in the limelight thanks to his Donald Trump impersonations on Saturday Night Live. Its 84,000 tweets were the 11th highest.