Even Though The Accountant was #1 at B.O, WB Accountants May Still See Red

Ben Affleck’s The Accountant was the number one movie at the US box office this past weekend.  It brought in $24.7MM on a budget of only $44MM.  The WB, who distributed the title, should be ecstatic, right?  Well, similar to our analysis on Star Trek and Ghostbusters, let’s take a closer look and see:

Rank Title US Box Office Weekend (MM)
1 The Accountant  $24.7
2 Kevin Hart: What Now?  $12.0
3 The Girl on the Train  $12.0
4 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children  $8.9
5 Deepwater Horizon  $6.4
Source: BoxOfficeMojo

Now that the movie’s first US weekend is over it’s much easier to calculate what its entire domestic run will be.  To do that we need to see how similar movies performed from opening to end.

The below chart shows male driven action titles, their US box office during launch weekend, their US gross and most importantly, their multiple.  This gauges how long it stayed relevant at the theaters.  For Kingsman: The Secret Service, we divided its domestic run of $128.3MM by its opening weekend of $36.2MM to give you a 3.5 multiple.  That’s pretty good.  In comparison, Taken 3 underperformed with only a 2.3. That means it left the theaters sooner.

Title Year US Launch Wknd (MM) US Gross (MM) Multiple
Kingsman: The Secret Service 2015  $36.2  $128.3 3.5
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation 2015  $55.5  $195.0 3.5
Jack Reacher 2012  $15.5  $50.6 3.3
John Wick 2014  $14.4  $43.0 3.0
Taken 2 2012  $49.5  $139.9 2.8
Jason Bourne 2016  $59.2  $162.0 2.7
Taken 3 2015  $39.2  $89.3 2.3
Source: BoxOfficeMojo


The average multiple from the above unscientific sample is 3.0.  When applied to The Accountant’s $24.7MM opening, it’s predicted to make $74.2MM in its entire domestic run.  Add in their 49% Rotten Tomatoes reading and the launch of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back next week it’s not hard to see why it will not break $100MM domestically.

Now on to the foreign box office results.

For these same titles there’s a big swing when it comes to US box office vs. foreign.  Half of John Wick’s global take came domestically. Whereas Jack Reacher was only one quarter. The average among these films is a roughly 35/65 split, US/Foreign.

Title US B.O. (MM) Foreign B.O. (MM) Global Cum (MM) US B.O. as % of Global Cum
John Wick  $43.0  $43.0  $86.0 50%
Jason Bourne  $162.0  $247.5  $409.5 40%
Taken 2  $139.9  $236.3  $376.1 37%
Kingsman: The Secret Service  $128.3  $286.1  $414.4 31%
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation  $195.0  $487.3  $682.3 29%
Taken 3  $89.3  $237.2  $326.5 27%
Jack Reacher  $50.6  $138.3  $218.3 23%
Source: BoxOfficeMojo

Based on that split, The Accountant’s box office results are as follows:

$74.2MM US Gross + $137.7MM Foreign Gross = $211.9MM Global Gross.

With nearly $212MM in receipts and only a $44MM production budget, WB should be happy.  That is until theater chains remove their share and marketing costs are added in.

The average US theater chain keeps 45% of ticket prices, leaving 55% for the distributors. It’s much smaller for the foreign markets where the theaters will keep anywhere from 65%-75%, leaving only 30%.

Location B.O. Gross (MM) % to Distributors B.O. Net (MM)
Domestic  $74.2 55%  $40.8
Foreign  $137.7 30%  $41.3
Global  $211.9  $82.1


As for marketing spend, a typical marketing budget for this level movie will range from $20-50MM.  In this case we will be conservative and say they spent the midpoint of $35MM.  Add that to their $44MM production budget and the total cost was $79MM.

That leaves the WB with a whopping $3.1MM in profit ($82.1MM – $79.0MM). Even though that is technically not a loss, I can’t imagine the real accountants are popping champagne any time soon.



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