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.
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. Horror films are susceptible to having large drops in the second weekend and beyond even after a strong opening weekend. Chris Anderson, in his 2008 book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, said twenty years prior, 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. 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%.
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. The Hollywood Reporter said in 2017, "Generally speaking, a superhero film can fall 60 percent," highlighting Wonder Woman's second-weekend drop of 45% as "scant" compared to others in the genre. In 2019, Dark Phoenix set a new record for the biggest second-weekend box office drop for a superhero film with 72.6%.
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.
|4||Jane Got a Gun||2016||835,572||137,523||-83.5||1,031|
|5||Before I Go to Sleep||2014||1,843,347||331,708||-82.0||820|
|8||Return to the Blue Lagoon||1991||1,277,428||245,814||-80.8||1,222|
|9||Friday the 13th||2009||40,570,365||7,942,472||-80.4||3,105|
|10||The Brothers Solomon||2007||508,601||100,230||-80.3||700|
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.
An increase in a film's box office gross in its second weekend, provided that the number of theaters did not grow substantially and the film did not open on a Sunday, is considered exceptional. For example, 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.
Box Office Mojo reports that out of over 4,700 wide-release films that were assessed, only 208 (or around 4%) saw an increased gross in their second weekend. The top ten are listed below.
|2||Rumor Has It||2005||3,473,155||9,364,661||+169.6||2,815|
|3||One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)||1985||2,389,226||5,715,836||+139.2||1,180|
|4||Kiss Me Goodbye||1982||1,345,672||2,845,627||+111.5||803|
|5||Grumpy Old Men||1993||3,874,911||7,488,527||+93.3||1,244|
|7||A Christmas Story||1983||2,072,473||3,935,944||+89.9||938|
|8||All the Pretty Horses||2000||1,304,971||2,477,053||+89.8||1,593|
|9||Lady and the Tramp||1986 (re-release)||2,804,272||5,030,706||+79.4||1,375|
|10||Out of Africa||1985||3,637,290||6,504,397||+78.8||922|
Box Office Mojo reports that 20 films (out of over 1,000 assessed) have opened in over 3,000 theaters and increased in gross in its second weekend.
|1||The Greatest Showman||2017||8,805,843||15,520,732||+76.3||3,316|
|2||Cheaper by the Dozen 2||2005||9,309,387||14,486,519||+55.6||3,211|
|3||We Bought a Zoo||2011||9,360,434||13,238,241||+41.4||3,163|
|4||Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle||2017||36,169,328||50,051,364||+38.4||3,765|
|6||The Wild Thornberrys Movie||2002||6,013,847||7,364,432||+22.5||3,012|
|8||Night at the Museum||2006||30,433,781||36,766,905||+20.8||3,768|
|9||Mary Poppins Returns||2018||23,523,121||28,353,117||+20.5||4,090|
|10||Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb||2014||17,100,520||20,202,008||+18.1||3,941|
|11||The Blind Side||2009||34,119,372||40,111,364||+17.6||3,140|
|12||The Adventures of Tintin||2011||9,720,993||11,436,160||+17.6||3,087|
|13||Fun with Dick and Jane||2005||14,383,515||16,522,532||+14.9||3,056|
|15||Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||2001||13,832,786||15,035,649||+8.7||3,151|
|16||The Prince of Egypt||1998||14,524,321||15,119,107||+4.1||3,218|
|18||Walking with Dinosaurs||2013||7,091,938||7,276,172||+2.6||3,243|
- List of highest-grossing second weekends for films
- List of highest-grossing openings for films
- List of highest-grossing openings for animated films
- Mathijs, Ernest (2006). Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context. Wallflower Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-904764-82-3.
- Langford, Barry (2006). Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond. Edinburgh University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7486-1903-0.
- 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.
- Pagels, Jim (July 23, 2012). "Why Batman Had No Competition at the Box Office". Slate. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- 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.
- McClintock, Pamela (June 10, 2017). "Weekend Box Office: 'The Mummy' Entombed With $32M U.S. Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- Sharf, Zack (June 17, 2019). "'Dark Phoenix' Box Office Gets Worse With Biggest Second Weekend Drop Ever for Superhero Film". IndieWire. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- "Biggest Second Weekend Drops". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- 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.
- "Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- "Smallest Second Weekend Drops – Wide Releases 600+". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
- "Smallest Second Weekend Drops – Super Saturated 3,000+". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 13, 2018.