It was an incredibly slow weekend at the domestic box office. There were many reasons for that. A lack of overly appealing new releases, Hurricane Harvey hammering Texas and the highly-anticipated fight between Floyd "Money" Mayweather and UFC champion Conor McGregor. Ironically, even though the fight may have kept some people from heading out to the movies this weekend, the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight (the gladiator event of the year) actually managed to be a big hit at the box office itself.
The Mayweather vs. McGregor fight was screened in theaters across the country, offering boxing fans an alternative to paying for the fight on Pay-Per-View. According to Variety that strategy paid off quite handsomely, as the fight managed to bring in $2.4 million from just 481 theaters. To put that in perspective, that is only a little less than the $2.5 million that the Bruce Lee inspired Birth of the Dragon managed to pull in this weekend on 1,600 screens.
There are several reasons that Mayweather vs. McGregor managed to make so much money in so little time on so few screens. For one, there was an incredible demand to see the fight, which has been hyped for a very long time and is easily going to go down as one of the biggest sporting events of 2017. Also, tickets for the fight at most theaters, which was a partner venture between Fathom Events and Mayweather Promotions, were $40 each. That is quite a bit more than your average movie ticket. It was also a bargain compared to what Pay-per-view was charging.
Those who ordered the Mayweather Vs. McGregor fight on Pay-Per-View had to shell out $99.95 for the privilege of watching history in the making. Floyd Mayweather was the heavy favorite heading into the fight and, ultimately, he emerged victorious. But Conor McGregor lasted nearly 10 full rounds with the 40-year-old boxing champion, who will easily go down as one of the greatest to ever take part in the sport. After his win against McGregory, Floyd Mayweather now has a record of 50-0. That is the best the sport has ever seen. Pay-Per-View knew that people were willing to pay big bucks to see this fight and they were right.
Mayweather vs. McGregor is said to be the biggest Pay-Per-View event ever, but official numbers haven't yet been released. Even though fight earned $2.4 million at the box office, that pales in comparison to the money this fight brought in overall. Early estimates have the fight bringing in somewhere near $1 billion in overall revenue. So that $2.4 million is going to be a drop in the bucket when all is said and done. But considering that this is one of the worst weekends at the domestic box office in more than a decade, theater owners were probably happy to have it.