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Top Domestic Movies of 2016 - Q1 Report

Interesting lessons learned as Q1 ends down 7.4%.

Story by Matt Cummings

With the largest box office ever recorded now in the books, 2016 has always been viewed as the bastard stepchild, the fat kid someone has to pick because all the studs and girls are taken. After the close of Q1, that view is probably accurate.

Note: The Winter Season is defined as the first day after New Year's week or weekend through the Thursday before the first Friday in March.


According to our friends at BoxOfficeMojo.com, Quarter 1 of 2016 took in $1.0342 billion domestically, as compared to 2015's take of $1.1167b and 2014's $1.0992b. Here's the master list, but notice the problem. We'll share it afterwards:

1. Deadpool (Fox) $311,158,132
2. Kung Fu Panda 3 (Fox) $133,831,833
3. Ride Along 2 (Uni.) $89,514,865
4. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Par.) $52,513,494
5. How to Be Single (WB) $43,318,465
6. Dirty Grandpa (LGF) $35,379,525
7. The Boy (2016) (STX) $35,143,558
8. The 5th Wave (Sony) $33,278,221
9. Hail, Caesar! (Uni.) $28,800,390
10. Risen (Sony) $28,650,923

Obviously, no one could have predicted the incredible success of Deadpool - although I've gone on record in our InsidetheBucket Podcast that it would take in $120m - but look at what happened to the competition. Granted, Winter is usually the dumping ground for a lot of garbage, but numbers like these suggest plenty of people stayed home to watch good television, rather than taking the gamble on a potentially crappy film. Take out Deadpool, and you have to wonder whether the same sort of money would have been in play for other films. Unlikely, because so many of them were killed in the press. A film like Ride Along 2, which enjoyed decent numbers, was off from the original by almost 30%. A good film like 13 Hours just didn't catch on, and Hail! Caesar flat out disappointed everyone.

There's another trend worth noting here: these numbers no longer include 2015 movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a smart move on BOM's part. This provides a more accurate picture (no pun) of the industry's immediate future.

$100m Films
We've always said that the best way to look at Q1 numbers is to see how many of the top 10 releases made $100m or more. It's much harder to achieve this, as families tend to stay home with their holiday presents in January, their Netflix in February, and de-snow themselves in March. In 2016, the number of movies which made $100m or more was 2; in 2015, it was 4, and 2014 had 3. That and the BO's overall number tell us enough: Q1 2016 was not a healthy market. Again, we give Deadpool all the credit in the world, but there were other good films that got largely ignored, including 13 Hours and Triple 9.

Omen, or Trend?
We'll restate our comment from 2015: Last year at this time, we said that Hollywood only mildly cared what happened in Q1, content to endure early losses for brighter shores overseas, and knowing that April's long lines domestically weren't too far down the road. What's clear in our analysis is that American audiences shouldn't be counted out quite yet. But 2016 Q1 left us with a mostly rotten taste in our mouths, with few of them occupying a pre-order for their Blu-ray release. That's not a good omen for Spring, but with BvS on its way we have to feel hopeful for clearer skies. Will the downward trend continue into next quarter? We'll be here to answer that and other questions.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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