March 15, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 3/14/14


OPENINGS:  NEED FOR SPEED (DreamWorks/Disney) won Friday with $6.6M (which includes $1.1M from Thursday night), but it’s destined to come in 2d or even 3rd for the weekend, probably under $20M.  At a $175M cost (including worldwide marketing), $50M in the US will barely make a dent, meaning that the movie will need to overperform internationally in a big Fast & the Furious-type way to hit breakeven–and the fact that Disney has been silent about the overseas results so far, even though the movie opened almost everywhere in the world yesterday, isn’t a good sign.  DreamWorks has been edging toward the graveyard since its success with Lincoln, with CEO Stacey Snider being very publicly wooed by Fox, and this won’t help.

THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB (Lionsgate) is Tyler Perry’s first real disaster, probably headed for a $9M weekend after $3.2M on Friday.  Perry’s longterm deal with Lionsgate wasn’t renewed (his movies have–until now–consistently made some money, but he’s an expensive and demanding producer/director/star), and this failure won’t make his next partnership easier to close–which might set him in the direction of self-financing, a potentially lucrative but also risky way to go.

VERONICA MARS (Warners) found a fair number of fans who wanted the communal experience of watching the movie in a theatre rather than clicking on the VOD version, with $1M on Friday in just 291 theatres.  A $2.5-3M weekend, combined with presumed success at home, could make this story not just heartwarming but profitable, and could well set Warners and other studios to sniffing out library properties that could be resurrected for a small theatrical run combined with VOD.

HOLDOVERS:  MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN (DreamWorks Animation/20th) held nicely, down just 32% from last Friday to $5.5M, and likely to win the weekend.  This is still a $275M movie, however (including marketing), and $100M in the US just won’t get it very far.  So far its overseas results have been running about 50% higher than US, and that’s also nothing to cheer about (international phenomena like the Ice Age movies make 4x the amount that they do at home).  300: Rise of an Empire (Warners/Legendary) plunged 67% from last Friday to $5.8M and is headed for perhaps $120M in the US, also dependent on overseas for any profit (it’s not even 40% ahead of the US internationally, although there are still some territories to come).  NON-STOP (Universal), with its older audience, is holding well, down just 32% on a Friday-to-Friday basis to $3.2M and headed for as much as $90M in the US.

THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) and FROZEN (Disney) continue to be monuments to longrunning consistency, down just 19% (to $2.1M) and 17% (to $500K) respectively, as they head toward their US milestones of $250M and $400M (and in Frozen‘s case the worldwide goal of eclipsing Toy Story 3‘s $1.06B as the highest-grossing animation in history).

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) had a grand initial expansion, with what should be a $55K per-theatre weekend average at 66, putting it in the territory of the highest platform releases of recent years.  It will continue to widen next weekend.  BAD WORDS (Focus/Universal) had a solid start, heading for around a $20K average at 6 theatres.  LE WEEK-END (Music Box) might have a $15K average at 2.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The box office blahs should be swept away by the arrival of DIVERGENT (Summit/Lionsgate), the year’s first big YA franchise launch.  Also arriving, for the younger brothers and sisters of Divergent fans, is MUPPETS MOST WANTED (Disney).

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."