Predicting Box Office After Two Weeks

What’s up Geeks + Gamers? It’s ODIN!

In my last article, I talked about some of the methodology behind box office analysis to figure out things such as marketing costs, break-even points, etc. Today, I’ll explain how I determine the total box office a film is likely to make after the first two weeks of its initial release. Interestingly enough, I have to thank Solo: A Star Wars Story and the box office coverage by the likes of John Campea for motivating me to do the research and crunch the numbers to figure out not only how much money Solo lost but if there was a way to predict eventual box office outcomes.

Solo: A Box Office Story

In the aftermath of the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it was clear that the Star Wars fan base was beginning to fracture as many people were fed up with the decisions made by the film’s director, Rian Johnson, and the head of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy. This culminated with the release of Solo after a comically disastrous production. Not only did Kathleen Kennedy fire the movie’s first directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, over “creative differences” with just weeks left of principal photography, but she also hired new director Ron Howard to overhaul and reshoot an estimated 70% of the film. This ballooned the already high-budgeted movie to roughly $270 million, meaning Solo had to make roughly between $675 million and over $810 million just to break even. The film ended its run with only $393,151,347 at the global box office.

Predicting the Box Office

As the opening weekend numbers for Solo started to come out, many in the media began to defend the film and spin the numbers. One of the most prominent voices at the time was John Campea, who kept insinuating that the film’s box office did not indicate that it would be a flop. As I began looking at the numbers, I realized not only just how wrong Campea was but also that there was a clear pattern to most of the box office hits of the last several years. As I started to crunch the numbers, I noticed that for most worldwide box office releases, the bulk of a film’s total box office is made in the first two weeks. This makes a lot of sense since many movie fans like to see movies when they first get released to avoid spoilers and experience the crowds that can make movies more enjoyable. Looking closer at the numbers, I noticed that most movies would make 50-70% of their box office in the first two weeks of release. Though some films can make more or less, the pattern became especially clear when looking at the Star Wars sequel trilogy under the reign of Disney.

According to my old notes from 2018, The Force Awakens made 52.5% of its entire box office after the first two weeks, Rogue One made 49.6%, and The Last Jedi made 56.2%. When I realized just how close these numbers were, I decided to look at other films to see if a similar pattern was present. Using a variety of movie options from around that time, my notes say the first two weeks of Ready Player One accounted for 68% of its total box office, Hail Caesar was 52%, Jurassic World was 59%, Deadpool was 63%, Wonder Woman was 61%, Geostorm was 81%, and Black Panther was 55%. From this random assortment of movies, and after some more digging, I concluded that most wide releases fell into the 50-70% range, even across different genres and IPs.

Once I figured out this “two-week” pattern, I started testing it with the movies that had been in release for two weeks at the time, with my first test being none other than Solo: A Star Wars Story. Back in 2018, I had concluded that based on the Solo box office, it would make: assuming the first two weeks was 50% of its total gross, around $521,608,608; assuming 60%, around $434,673,840; and assuming 70%, around $372,577,577. Knowing now that the film only made $393,151,347, we can see that this metric gives a very accurate range for what a film can make after its initial release. Since I have been tracking this data officially using my own chart from 2019, the average for all movies has consistently hovered around 60%. Put simply, this means that for most theatrical releases, a movie will make, on average, 60% of its entire eventual global box office in just the first two weeks of release.


It is clear that the first two weeks of any movie’s release are almost always going to be the most important in determining not only how well a movie is doing (or not doing) but also what its total global box office will likely be. There are, of course, some exceptions to this, especially if a film has a staggered release, where it releases in different countries at different times over its opening weeks. There is also the rare case where a film blows away all projections because of excellent word of mouth. In 2022, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish made over 70% of its box office after the first two weeks, which is one of the better ratios I have seen since I started covering the box office. Regardless, with these numbers, we can also calculate what the likely box office gains or losses will be. I hope that this and my previous article have helped you better understand how my charting for films works and why the first two weeks are critical in determining a film’s chance of success or failure. Now that we have covered all the wonky details, it is time to start breaking down the weekly box office! Stay tuned every Sunday/Monday for the box office analysis of the latest movies and the occasional bonus articles on various box office topics. Have a wonderful rest of your day, and God bless!

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