February 22, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 2/21/14


Note:  all holdovers will show unusually sharp Friday-to-Friday declines due to Valentine’s Day last week, and should recover somewhat over the course of the weekend.

OPENINGS:  3 DAYS TO KILL (Relativity), with a $4M Friday and likely $12M weekend, won’t accomplish its goal of establishing Kevin Costner as the next elder statesman action-hero a la Liam Neeson.  But the budget (not counting marketing) was a reportedly reasonable $28M and the setting is Paris, so it can hope to be a wash in the US and at least hit breakeven overseas.

The only survivor of POMPEII (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict) may be its US distributor, after a disastrous $3.4M Friday that may not get it to $10M for the weekend.  Financier Neue Constantin is reportedly on the hook for the $100M (!) budget, and FilmDistrict is paying for the US marketing, so TriStar is a distributor-for-hire that will be happy enough to collect its fee and walk–make that run–away, as the movie hopes not to get buried under volcanic ash overseas.

HOLDOVERS:  Cue the “Everything is Awesome” music, as THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) will romp to its third consecutive victory with a $7.3M Friday and a weekend that will likely exceed $30M.  Warners has already announced a 2017 opening for the inevitable sequel–but writer/directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord aren’t writing the script, which makes the prospect less enticing.

Of last weekends openings, ROBOCOP (Sony/MGM) held up best as a non-romance, down “just” 62% from last Friday to $2.6M and a likely $8.5M weekend.  That will give it around $43M in the US, still an unimpressive total for movie with a production and worldwide marketing budget over $200M, and while not the catastrophe that Pompeii is, it will also need to be much more successful overseas than it’s been here.

The Valentine’s Day romances all collapsed, down 80% or more from last Friday.  They were again led by ABOUT LAST NIGHT (Screen Gems/Sony), with $2.3M on Friday and $7.5M for the weekend, heading to what now looks like a $50-60M final landing–still very solid for a moderately-budgeted comedy, but nowhere near Kevin Hart’s breakout hits.  ENDLESS LOVE (Universal) had only $1.5M on Friday for a $4.5M weekend and a total that probably won’t reach $30M (less than the original movie made 33 years ago), and WINTER’S TALE (Warners) is a calamity, with $670K on Friday, a weekend of perhaps $2M and no more than $15M at the US box office.

Veterans still selling tickets include THE MONUMENTS MEN (Sony/20th) down 55% from last Friday to $2.3M, and still heading for $70-75M at the US box office, giving it a chance to find some profit overseas; the unstoppable FROZEN (Disney), which had the lowest Friday-to-Friday drop of the day (even better than Lego) to $1M and should find $5M more for the weekend, bringing its US total to $385M; and RIDE ALONG (Universal), with $1.3M on Friday and a likely $4M+ weekend, which will bring it over $120M in the US.

Apart from Frozen, the Oscar contenders continue to be led by AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony) with $460K on Friday.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The Oscar-nominated Japanese animation THE WIND RISES (Disney) had an OK start and might make it to a $15K average at 21 theatres for the weekend.  IN SECRET (Roadside) got mostly brutal reviews and perished at 266 theatres with a weekend average that may not even reach $1000.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Liam Neeson himself has next week’s “Liam Neeson movie” with NON-STOP (Universal), but the weekend’s wild card will be SON OF GOD (20th), which is largely a re-edited compilation of footage from the hit TV miniseries The Bible, with some new material added (and the Obama-lookalike Devil excised), and which may benefit from the kind of bulk ticketbuying from churches and other groups that have given recent religious dramas enormous opening weekends.


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."