May 17, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 5/16/14


OPENINGS:  GODZILLA (Warners/Legendary) had the opening of its dreams with $38.5M on Friday (including $9.3M from Thursday night)–higher than the openings for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($35.2M) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($36.9M).  The latter had a $95M weekend, so Godzilla is on track for $98M–but don’t be surprised if Warners seizes the opportunity to estimate a 9-figure total tomorrow.  Not unexpectedly, the movie is also selling tickets overseas, with a preliminary number of $22.3M reported for Friday.  (Godzilla will be playing everywhere worldwide this weekend with the extremely important exceptions of China and Japan.)  It’s a particular redemption for Legendary, which ended its relationship with Warners after the disappointing results for Pacific Rim ($102M US/$411M worldwide)–it’s now based at Universal–and which put up a reported 75% of the Godzilla production budget, so it’ll get the lion’s share of the profits.  Godzilla might seem like the easiest movie in the world to sell, but Sony could tell you otherwise after its 1998 flop, so Warners Marketing has to get a lot of credit for making people excited about the old monster again.

No one expected MILLION DOLLAR ARM (Disney) to come anywhere near Godzilla this weekend, but even on its own terms, a $3.5M Friday is a very soft start, especially after Disney spent the extra marketing dollars for a nationwide preview last Saturday.  Even if the likely $10-11M weekend is just the start of a relatively extended run in theatres due to its older-skewing audience, it’s still a reminder that for years, until Moneyball and 42 (both of which had a special distinctiveness), baseball movies were considered box office poison.  Disney could still hope for some success overseas, especially in India given the movie’s subject matter.  The limited appeal of Million is also a blow to Jon Hamm’s post-Mad Men hopes for movie stardom.

HOLDOVERS:  NEIGHBORS (Universal) retained a reasonable amount of business in the face of Godzilla, dropping 57% from last Friday to $8.4M and a likely $25M weekend.  It’s still looking at a $125M+ US total.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony) was inevitably damaged by Godzilla, down 55% from last Friday to $4.5M and perhaps $15M for the weekend.  Spider-Man is clearly an underperformer in the US, likely not to get much higher than $200M here (compared to $262M for the first Amazing), and the question now is whether it will overperform enough internationally to hold even with Amazing‘s $752.2M worldwide total (currently, Amazing 2 is at $564.5M).  In any case, despite the hundreds of millions it will take in and some likely profit, Amazing 2 is a significant disappointment for Sony.

THE OTHER WOMAN (20th), down 27% from last Friday to $2.1M, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (TriStar/Sony), down 24% to $1.3M, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Disney/Marvel), down 32% to $1M, and RIO 2 (20th/Blue Sky), down 25% to $900K, are all holding extremely well, with Heaven now looking like it may top $90M on its tiny investment.

MOMS’ NIGHT OUT (TriStar/Sony), down 50% to $600K, and LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN (Clarius), down 53% to $500K, were non-factors.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE IMMIGRANT (Weinstein) is off to an OK start, heading for a $14K weekend average at 3 NY/LA theatres.  BELLE (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 173, and might have a so-so $6K average.  CHEF (Open Road) widened to 72 with a decent $10K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The one thorn in Godzilla‘s side is that it has a very small window of box office domination before Friday’s arrival of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (20th).  That could eat significantly into the beast’s 2d weekend.  And thinking of beasts, Adam Sandler returns to multiplexes with BLENDED (Warners), a family-oriented rom-com that reunites him with Drew Barrymore and will answer the question of how much box office power he has these days in a movie that isn’t called Grown-Ups.


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."