T-1: 2015 Holiday Blockbusters ranked by Domestic Box Table As of 12/28
Star Wars: TFA* 12/18 Buena Vista 136 PG13 $200M $544.5 $546 $1,090 50.1% Sci-Fi 94%
Hngr Gms Mockjy 2* 11/20 Lionsgate 137 PG13 $160M $264.6 $352.2 $616.8 57.1% Action/Adv 70%
Spectre* 11/6 Sony 148 PG13 $245M $196.2 $653.9 $850.1 76.9% Action 64%
The Peanuts Movie* 11/6 Fox 93 G $99M $127.6 $45.1 $172.7 26.1% Animation 85%
Good Dinosaur 11/25 Buena Vista 100 PG $200M $105.3 $109 $214.3 50.9% Animation 77%
Creed* 11/25 WB 133 PG13 $35M $96.3 $10.2 $106.5 9.6% Drama 93%
The Night Before 11/20 Sony 101 R $25M $42.7 $7.3 $50 14.6% Comedy 67%
Krampus 12/4 Universal 98 PG13 $15M $40.5 $15.4 $55.9 27.5% Horror 65%
Alvin & Chipmunks Road Chip* 12/18 Fox 86 PG $90M $39.3 $8.1 $47.5 17.1% Family 16%
Daddy’s Home 12/25 Paramount 96 PG13 $50M $38.8 $4.4 $43.2 10.2% Comedy 30%
Sisters 12/18 Universal 118 R $30M $37.1 $2.9 $40 7.2% Comedy 60%
Love the Coopers 11/13 Lionsgate 107 PG13 $17M $25.9 N/A $25.9 N/A Comedy 19%
Heart of the Sea* 12/11 WB 121 PG13 $100M $22.3 $53.8 $76.1 70.6% Drama 42%
Secret in their Eyes * 11/20 STX 111 PG13 $19.5M $20 N/A $20 N/A Thriller 41%
Joy 12/25 Fox 124 PG13 $60M $17.5 $2 $19.5 10.5% Com/Dram 57%
The 33 11/13 WB 120 PG13 $26M $11.9 $12.6 $24.6 51.5% Drama 42%
Concussion 12/25 Sony 123 PG13 $35M $11 N/A $11 N/A Drama 60%
Point Break* 12/25 WB 113 PG13 $105M $10.2 $43.1 $53.4 80.9% Action 4%
Victor Frankenstein* 11/25 Fox 109 PG13 $40M $5.7 $27.3 $33.1 82.6% Drama 27%
My All American 11/13 Clarius 118 PG $20M $2.2 N/A $2.2 N/A Drama 34%
            $1659.6 $1893.3 $3552.9 53.3%a   52.3%

*Indicates a prequel, sequel, reboot or “spinoff”. aActually calculated from table’s data of Foreign Box ⁄ Tot Box.

With 2015 movie ticket sales currently at $10.95 B, ( it has become the highest grossing domestic year, ever. The old record of $10.92 B was set in 2013. It was led by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($424 M), Iron Man ($409 M) and Frozen ($401 M). Rentrak predicts this year’s totals will easily surpass the $11 B mark. That being said, while 2015 will be recorded as the #1 movie year of all time, its Holiday Season is wallowing as the worst in recent memory. Despite the extraordinary opening by The Force Awakens, this Holiday Season’s (1st Friday of Nov to the New Year’s Weekend) box office is currently at $1.74 B, down 23.3% from last year. Ranked yearly, this holiday season is the poorest box office since 1996 ($1.57 B). The last Holiday flick of any likely box office consequence, Hateful 8, has just opened. Most experts agree that Hateful 8 will be yet 1 more movie caught in the headwinds of The Force Awakens meaning it will add but popcorn kernel $$ to this season’s box office. No matter how you view the Holiday Season of 2015 is a failure, a flop! It has The Force’s fizz w/o any real box office biz.





Regardless of this Holiday Season’s box office emptiness, it still has been noteworthy in several ways:

  • Without The Force Awakens this season’s box would have been catastrophic. SW’s latest release broke all sorts of box office records (as we detailed in issue 111 of the Scope). So Thank God for The Force Awakens. Having said that, let’s offer another and completely contradictory explanation for the meagerness of 2015’s Holiday Box based on The Force Awakens. It is possible if not probable that the aforementioned shallow Holiday Box is b/c of SW. That, is with multiple showings at theaters and multiple goings by fans, The Force Awakens sucked all the oxygen from the rest of the Holiday Season’s flicks. And, of course in some cases possible Holiday Flicks said no thank you, we shall open another time. Too much of a good thing is exactly that TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING leaving most of the other movie balloons deflated.


  • There are only 5 films (maybe 6) that have or will break the $100 M mark this Holiday Season (vs 7 the last year). For a successful season you need blockbusters not blockbusted.


  • With 4 of the Top 5 grossing films, and 10 of TOP 20 being prequels, sequels, “spinoffs” and/or reboots, Hollywood continues its tried and true legacy this holiday season of growing old brands and reloading the box office cash register with them.


  • There were 2 films with production budgets of $100 M± that fell way short of box office expectations. Heart of the Sea grabbed $22.3 M in receipts and Point Break counted $10.2 M. Big budgets MUST be supported by big marketing efforts. Neither one was.


  • Big things were expected of Concussion. It featured Will Smith as he reprised the role of the physician who discovered CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in former NFL players, but a small $35 M production budget was well matched by its tiny Week 1 box office of $11 M. Recently, someone on ESPN commented that it was more like a documentary. AMEN! AMEN!!


  • Buena Vista was the highest grossing studio of the season with 2 Top 5 films, The Force Awakens & The Good Dinosaur. Both of them were mon$ter$ in their respective categories. Regrettably, most movies this Holiday Season were midgets and not MON$TER$!


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s