February 15, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 2/14/14


Valentine’s Day is an enormous moviegoing event each year, so it remains to be seen whether Friday’s brisk business will translate to the rest of the holiday weekend.

OPENINGS:  ABOUT LAST NIGHT (Screen Gems/Sony) barely missed 1st place with $13M on Friday, beaten by $30K, but it’s off to an impressive start, especially when you consider that it’s in 1500 fewer theatres then The Lego Movie and doesn’t have the benefit of 3D ticket prices.  It should be over $35M by Monday, and with 2 certified hits in just a few weeks, prepare for a flood of Kevin Hart projects to hit the multiplexes in the near future.

ENDLESS LOVE (Universal) was nowhere near About, earning $7.3M on Friday, but that was still a solid result for such a terrible movie.  Now that Valentine’s Day is over, the question will be whether anyone else shows up.  The moderate budget will help keep it in the game.

ROBOCOP (Sony/MGM) had an OK Friday with $7M, and it should be the most immune to post-Valentine’s Day blues among the openings, but a $20M 4-day weekend isn’t going to do much to crack its $100M+ production cost (meaning over $200M once worldwide marketing costs are factored in).  Like so many mediocre action movies before it, it will depend on international success to hit breakeven.

WINTER’S TALE (Warners) is the weekend’s flop, with a dismal $3.7M start and perhaps $10M by Monday.  Akiva Goldsman’s directing debut got awful reviews and cost (depending on the source) $45-60M to produce, and barring the box office equivalent of a miraculous winged horse flying to its rescue, it’s headed for the wilderness of red ink.

HOLDOVERS:  THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) continues to be a smash, down just 24% from last Friday to $13.03M, and it will thrive over the holiday weekend, headed for $60M and a $140M US total by Monday.  That should put it in shouting distance of profit after just 11 days.

MONUMENTS MEN (Sony/20th) continues to overperform its unfavorable reviews, down just 28% from last Friday to $5M.  It should have around $17.5M over the 4-day weekend, and could be headed for $75M in the US, a very decent total that should bring it to profit if it finds an audience overseas–which, at least in Europe, it should, given its WWII setting.

The opening of About Last Night seems to have just whetted audience appetites for more Kevin Hart, as RIDE ALONG (Universal) actually rose 31% from last Friday to $3.4M.  It should be close to $120M by Monday, with gas left in its tank.  No tank, though, is as large as FROZEN‘s (Disney), also up from last Friday (by 23%) to $1.7M.  Like Lego, it will fully enjoy the holiday weekend and with close to $380M by Monday, and a potential Oscar bump in 2 weeks, it can start to entertain thoughts of reaching $400M in the US before it’s done.  Valentine’s Day also helped THAT AWKWARD MOMENT (Focus/Universal), down just 11% from last week to $1.5M, with the chance of hitting $30M overall.  And however unlikely a date movie it is, LONE SURVIVOR (Universal) dropped a light 14% to $1.2M on Friday.

With final Oscar voting underway, PHILOMENA (Weinstein) more than doubled its theatre count to 1225, and while its per-theatre average still isn’t much, it also doubled its Friday box office to $400K, and its US total will go over $30M this weekend.  Other Oscar hopefuls also held well, with AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony) up 5% to $800K, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Paramount/Red Granite) down 12% to $600K, and HER (Warners) up 6% to $200K.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Another slow weekend for the indie circuit, with no notable openings.

NEXT WEEKEND:  2 lower-end pieces of schlock will try to make an impact before larger-scale competition arrives:  POMPEII (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict) is racing to corner the 3D sword and sorcery genre before 300: Rise of an Empire hits on March 7, and the Kevin Costner-as-Liam Neeson vehicle 3 DAYS TO KILL (Relativity) is grabbing a week before the real Neeson shows up in Non-Stop on Feb. 28.


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."