Defying critics, box office pundits, and even the studio that made the film, Chris Wedge’s live-action/cg hybrid Monster Trucks landed in third place at the box office today with an estimated $4.1 million.
If the number holds when final figures are released on Tuesday, that would be good enough for a third-place Monday, behind Hidden Figures and Sing, and beating out Rogue One, which would take fourth place with $3.8 million. Over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Monster Trucks will end up in sixth place with $15 million. [UPDATE: Paramount overestimated the Monday gross on Monster Trucks by nearly a million dollars. The numbers didn’t hold, and Rogue One edged it out $3,338,523 to $3,223,334.]
While the film won’t come anywhere close to recouping its $125 million production cost, a $15 million opening would still be remarkable considering that Paramount had written off the film months ago as a total loss and decided not to promote it as they would a typical tent-pole. In that light, a $15 million four-day suggests that there was actually greater demand for this film than anyone had anticipated. It certainly could have opened much lower, as other January family releases have shown, like 2015’s Strange Magic which launched in over 3,000 theaters with just $5.5 million, and Norm of the North which opened with $6.8 million in 2016.