October 4, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 10/4/14


On what’s shaping up to be a very good weekend for Hollywood, the two leaders showcase different kinds of hits.

OPENINGS:  ANNABELLE (New Line/Warners) took Friday with $15.5M ($2.1M from Thursday night), which is a terrific number for a movie that reportedly cost $6.5M to produce, even though the usual swollen Warners marketing campaign will increase its total costs quite a bit.  The Friday number is only 10% below The Conjuring, which ended up with a $41.9M weekend and $137.4M US total.  Annabelle, a wpin-off of Conjuring that didn’t get anything like its precursor’s reviews, is unlikely to hold up as well, and will probably be closer to a $33M weekend.  That should still make it very profitable, and lead to another line of the low-budget Conjuring-related franchise for Warners.

GONE GIRL (20th) started a bit more slowly, with $13.2M on Friday ($1.2M from Thursday night), but it has an excellent chance of carrying the weekend.  The Town, another critically-acclaimed fall thriller with Ben Affleck, had a $8.3M opening day and $23.8M for its weekend and a $92.2M US total, while last year’s Prisoners went from $7M on Friday to $20.8M for the weekend and a $61M US total.  Gone Girl should get to $38M+ for the weekend, and it’s in line to finish well over $100M.  The only issues:  exit poll scores (as unreliable as those are) that could have been better, probably reflecting the unusual tone of the movie, which shifts from procedural to the blackest comedy, and next week’s arrival of The Judge, which will aim directly for Gone Girl‘s audience.

LEFT BEHIND (Freestyle), with the unlikely mix of Nicolas Cage and a fundamentalist Christian storyline, opened well enough with $2.4M at just 1825 theatres.  That’s comparable to the $2.8M start for the same distributor’s God’s Not Dead (although that was in less than half the number of theatres), which had a $9.2M weekend.  Left Behind could reach $8M for the weekend, but won’t have the upside of God’s Not Dead, which expanded its run in several successive weekends and got all the way to $60.8M.  Still, the tatters of Cage’s reputation aside, a US total around $30M wouldn’t be at all bad for the low-cost venture.

HOLDOVERS:  THE EQUALIZER (Columbia/Sony) fell a standard 55% from its opening day to $5.6M, and that drop should go below 50% for the full weekend, giving it around $18M and a $63M total.  It could be on track for $100M.  THE BOXTROLLS (Laika/Focus/Universal) fell a soft 44% from last Friday to $2.7M (that compares to a 50% Friday-to-Friday drop for Paranorman and 33% for Coraline), suggesting a $12M weekend and a US total around $65M.

THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) continues to hold extremely well for a teen-aimed movie, down just 34% from last Friday to $3.4M.  It could have $11M for the weekend and a $73M total, and has a chance to reach $100M.  THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (Warners) is hitting an audience, but not one that’s big enough, down 45% from last Friday to $1.2M.  on its way to a $4M weekend and a $35-40M total.

The best hold in the Top 10?  Still GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney), down a tiny 22% from last Friday to $800K, and likely to be near $325M in the US by Sunday.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE GOOD LIE (Warners), in a near-wide opening at 461 theatres, had a dim start, heading for a weekend that may not reach $1M and a per-theatre average that won’t be much beyond $2K.  MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN (Paramount), at just 17 theatres, is likely to have a mere $2500 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  THE JUDGE (Warners) will chase the adult drama audience, while ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Disney) will be after families, ADDICTED (Lionsgate) will be targeted at the urban crowd, and DRACULA UNTOLD (Legendary/Universal) will be the weekend’s offering for devotees of the undead.  Limited releases include KILL THE MESSENGER (Focus/Universal) with Jeremy Renner, the musical biography ONE CHANCE (Weinstein), and Bill Murray’s vehicle ST. VINCENT (Weinstein).  

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."