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Projection: The Legend of Tarzan Final U.S. Domestic Box Office Gross Will Be . . . . . .


I spent last night doing some number crunching to satisfy my desire to know, as definitively as possible, what the final domestic box office gross will be for Legend of Tarzan. I’ve been saying $130 to $140M without doing any particularly refined analysis.  So let’s try some more serious analysis.

I took some comparable films — July releases, similar target demo, similar opening numbers, and did a a “check-in” on each at exactly the same point where LOT is now — which is day 28.  This is actually where LOT was yesterday, i.e. after day 28, which was Thursday, the last day we have actuals for.  Then I made a chart.  Check it out.

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Based on this, certain patterns are clear.

Now let’s apply the patterns to Tarzan.

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And there you pretty much have it.  The best case is a little better than we can hope for, and the worst case is more conservative than we need to be.

When you consider that the average prediction coming in to opening weekend was that it would end up somewhere in the $60-70M range,  and when you layer in the strong headwinds from critics, it’s a pretty remarkable performance.

It’s enough to get us a “win” if the foreign will cooperate.

Will deal with foreign separately.

Let’s bask in our domestic glory for a minute.


  • Nice analysis. And I agree it has outperformed the early predictions of box office disaster which were kind of gleefully given – an attitude I don’t quite understand still. I saw some predictions of domestic total gross of even lower, i.e. $50,000 domestic. Given that it ought to be about $125,000 or so final domestic that is 2.5 X those early predictions and significantly higher than many recent movies. The real question remains the budget number and I still haven’t found any definitive number with a verifiable source for that.

  • Deadline has these Friday numbers, they’re predicting a little over 2 million for the weekend-I’d seen an earlier report that had it at 800,000 for Friday but that’s obviously been brought down:
    10.) The Legend of Tarzan (WB), 1,503 theaters (-1,341) / $670K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.35M / Total cume: $121.75M / Wk 5
    The budget is the big ‘if’, I do think that it gets less online griping if it turns out that the actual shooting budget wasn’t 180 but lower, even around 150. I’ll add that Ghostbusters isn’t doing that well either, and part of it is that is a higher budget for an action comedy than seems normal, and there’s now plenty of griping about that.
    As for LOT reaching 130, it’ll get very close. It’s now on the big downward slide, but looking at BOM’s numbers there are few movies still out there just slowly but steadily still out there bringing in enough audience to not pull from the theaters just yet.
    If only the foreign box office had done better.

  • Thanks for the numbers Michael. This middle school math teacher gives you an A+ on your analysis. Very nice.

  • Some other films I looked up for comparison:
    1) Tomorrowland. Budget $190 m , domestic $93.4 , ww gross $209, barely made back its budget.
    2) Alice Looking Glass. Budget $170 m, Dom $76.2, ww gross $270 , so budget plus $100 m, considered a loss for studio
    3) Warcraft. Budget $160 m. Dom $46.7, ww gross $420 m. Interesting one because most of its foreign was China where it was huge. Reading about this one I learned that China can give high numbers but the studios get only 25% from China vs. about 40% from most others. Domestic pays the best, more like 45 to 50%. So you would really need to crunch these numbers to see how the bottom line would look.
    4) Huntsman, Winters war. Budget $115 m. Dom $48 m. Ww gross $166 m. Budget was only 64% of LOT but Dom take was lower ,about 40% of LOT. Ww gross about half of LOT’s. Looks like a wider loss that LOT’s numbers even with the much smaller budget.
    5) XMen Apocalypse. Budget $178 m. Dom. $154 m. Ww gross $530 m. A big hit. I assume these were the numbers WB was hoping for from LOT. Two things – this looked like a way more expensive film than LOT IMO, and had way more promo $ spent on it. Also, a lot of the foreign was China, same caveat as Warcraft. The numbers may look great but China numbers are like 50 cents on the dollar being about half the usual going to studio. I may be wrong on how I am figuring this but I think $100 m China is worth almost about the same as $40-$50 m elsewhere. Really inflates the numbers for X Men or Warcraft but kind of deceptive in trying to figure out profit and loss.
    6) Pan. Poor Pan. Want to feel better look at Pan numbers. Or Gods of Egypt. Or Jupiter Ascending. Or Lone Ranger. OK, most of these were not any good. So unfair to compare I guess.
    7) in the Heart of the Sea. $100 m budget. Dom. $25 m. Ww gross $94 m. A Ron Howard, Chris Helmsworth film, period adventure sort of like LOT but way underperformed it.
    8) Finest Hours budget $70-80 m. Ww gross $52 m. Another period adventure, not great but not awful, another that way underperformed LOT.
    Anyway, I found the comparisons interesting. One last observation – LOT is now among the top 20 films of the last calendar year and 10 of those 20 were children or young adult films. The only way anyone can fault it’s box office performance is on account of a reported $180 m budget that may or may not even be accurate.

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