It’s been two months since the highly anticipated poker movie Molly’s Game hit theaters nationwide, and the early numbers appear solid for Oscar-winning screen writer Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut.
The film, based on the life story of former underground poker organizer Molly Bloom, hit select theaters on Christmas Day, and then there was a full release on Jan. 5. Since its debut, the movie, which stars the likes of Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner, has grossed $28.7 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie had a budget of about $30 million.
Nearly $7 million of the domestic revenue came during the Jan. 5 weekend, which put the movie at no. 7 among its competitors. At its peak, Molly’s Game was in more than 1,700 theaters nationwide. It was in 90 theaters during the first weekend in March.
According to data from The Numbers, the film has so far grossed $24.6 million internationally, with the lion’s share coming from the United Kingdom. Combined with the domestic numbers, the R-rated Molly’s Game has generated more than $53 million in revenue.
Comparison To Rounders
It’s not exactly easy to compare Molly’s Game with the poker cult classic Rounders, which was released back in September 1998, because the way many people consume entertainment has evolved. Rounders was in nearly 2,200 theaters nationwide at its peak, helping the film generate $8.4 million in opening weekend ticket sales. It was no. 1 for its opening weekend, but it’s worth noting that it wasn’t over or near a major holiday weekend.
Rounders finished its theatrical run with $22.9 million in sales, but it gained a greater following in the years after on DVD. The movie was credited with helping ignite the poker boom of the early 2000s. Molly’s Game likely won’t have the same staying power, but it was a successful high-profile poker film with an all-star cast and crew. The film was nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Sorkin wrote it based off of Bloom’s memoir.
Molly’s Game also won’t likely reduce the appetite for a Rounders sequel any less than time will. There have been numerous rumors in the 2010s that a follow-up would be made, but that project has never come to fruition.
Other poker movies
Molly’s Game is close to outperforming the online poker movie Runner, Runner, which was released in 2013 and grossed $62.6 million worldwide. Sorkin’s film was able to avoid the fate of the tournament poker movie Mississippi Grind, which hit theaters in 2015 and only grossed $450,000 in all markets during a short run in theaters.
Poker movies aren’t made that often. The 2007 film Lucky You generated $8.3 million worldwide during its theatrical run. That movie had a budget of $55 million. The movie Shade (2004) brought in $9.5 million at the box office on a budget of $6.8 million, while the comedy The Grand (2007) had a limited theatrical run and didn’t break even at the box office on a budget of $3 million.