October 18, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 10/17/14


OPENINGS:  FURY (Columbia/Sony) should reach $25M for the weekend after a $8.8M Friday.  Sony is claiming total costs (including worldwide marketing) of $150M, and that’s probably low by at least $25M.  With a box office total of $75M probable in the US, the movie will need overseas strength to hit profit, and luckily Brad Pitt is one of the few remaining stars whose name sells tickets, so that should happen.  Also in Fury‘s favor:  the fact that the next 2 weeks will have nothing in the way of major openings to stand in its way.

THE BOOK OF LIFE (20th) appears to be on exactly the same trajectory as The Boxtrolls, with $5M on its first day compared to $4.9M  (the comparison is even closer than that, as Book needed to be rounded up to hit $5M).  It should have a similar $17M weekend and roughly $50M US total, unless its strong Hispanic appeal skews the numbers.  Book, too, will benefit from no new competition arriving over the next 2 weekends.

THE BEST OF ME (Relativity), with $4.1M on Friday and a likely $11M weekend, will be the lowest-opening Nicholas Sparks adaptation ever, barring a weekend surge in interest.  Perhaps his pop zeitgeist moment is ending, although it didn’t help Best that it had no meaningful star value (and that it was, you know, terrible).

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN (Paramount) expanded to semi-wide release at 608 theatres and shouldn’t have bothered, with a spectacularly bad $99K on Friday and a weekend average that may not get past $500.  Jason Reitman is going to have to rethink his recent career choices after Labor Day (and even Young Adult) and this.

HOLDOVERS:  GONE GIRL (20th) is still holding extremely well, down just 32% on its third Friday to $5.6M, with a $17.5M weekend on the way.  (It should be a neck-and-neck fight between Gone Girl and Book of Life for 2d place over the weekend, but since 20th is releasing both films, the studio will decide which one it wants to declare on top.)  Gone Girl is now a cinch to become David Fincher’s biggest hit in the US, and will probably fall behind only Ben Affleck’s mega-projects Armageddon and Pearl Harbor in his credits.  As all but about a half-dozen Oscar contenders have now been seen, the next question will be how much it can figure into the awards picture.

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Disney) withstood the arrival of Book of Life very well, down 39% on Friday to $3.2M, with a $13M weekend ahead.  It could reach $65M in the US, a fine result for a moderately-budgeted piece of programming.

DRACULA UNTOLD (Legendary/Universal) found a stake in its heart, down 68% Friday-to-Friday to $2.9M, heading for a $9M weekend and probably less than $60M in the US.  It’s another title that will rely heavily on overseas success to hit profit.  THE JUDGE (Warners), after a disappointing opening, held moderately well with its older-skewing audience, down 45% to $2.5M on Friday and on its way to an $8M weekend and perhaps $40M in the US.  With little likely foreign appeal, that won’t bring it anywhere near profit.

THE EQUALIZER (Columbia/Sony) and THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) are still holding well, down respectively 44% to $1.6M and 39% to $1.3M on Friday.  Both are still on the scent of possibly hitting $100M in the US, but Maze Runner is by far the bigger success story, with a lower budget and much bigger overseas success (at the moment, $145M vs $57M).

LIMITED RELEASE:  It didn’t take a soothsayer to figure out that BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) was going to be the big ticket-seller at art-houses this weekend, and the critically acclaimed directing tour de force is indeed flying high.  At just 4 NY/LA theatres, it’s heading to a spectacular per-theatre average that should top $100K.  DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (RSA) won’t be in that league, but it’s looking awfully impressive in its own right, heading for an average that could be as high as $40K at 11 theatres, despite having no bankable stars and a tiny distributor.  It’s an extremely promising start for a movie with very low costs.  ST. VINCENT (Weinstein) expanded to 68 theatres and should have a fair $10K weekend average. WHIPLASH (Sony Classics) should also have a $10K average, but in just 21 theatres, a less notable start. PRIDE (CBS), now in 115 theatres, is fading with a likely $2K weekend average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As 2 weeks of quiet descend, the only wide openings will be the Keanu Reeves action vehicle JOHN WICK (Lionsgate) and the teen horror OUIJA (Universal).  Limited releases are led by festival favorite LAGGIES (A24).


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."