May 24, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 5/23/14


OPENINGS:  With $36M on Friday, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is assured of going over $100M by Monday, and the only question is by how much.  The day fell a bit below the openings for Godzilla ($38.4M) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($36.9M), but above The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($35.2M).  (On their 2d days, those movies respectively declined 16%, 6% and 6%.)  The more important question is long-term playability, as the final US box-office spread between those 3 movies is likely to be $50M or more.  X-Men has an advantage in the coming weeks, because next week’s Maleficent and A Million Ways To Die In the West are aiming at just slivers of its audience, Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow is tracking badly, and there’s no direct competition after that until Transformers:  Age of Extinction arrives on June 27, by which time X-Men will pretty much be done.

There’s nothing good to be said about the $4.4M start for BLENDED (Warners).  Its 3-day total will likely compete with That’s My Boy‘s $13.5M for the worst comedy opening of Adam Sandler’s career, and Boy didn’t open on a 4-day holiday weekend.  Sandler’s movies usually do at least half of their business in the US, so there won’t be bail-out from overseas, either.  The scary part for studios in the Sandler business is that aside from the Grown-Ups movies, he hasn’t had a live-action opening significantly over $30M in 6 years.  Middle age is tough for comedy stars whose images rely on infantilism (just ask Jim Carrey), so things are unlikely to get easier for Sandler going forward.

CHEF (Open Road) was one of three indies to expand to semi-wide release.  It earned an OK $562K in 498 theatres, likely putting it below $2.5M for the 3-day weekend with an average around $4500.  BELLE (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 453 theatres and will likely be a notch lower, below $2M in 3 days and a $4K average.  Both will need strong word of mouth to survive at that level of release.  THE RAILWAY MAN (Weinstein) broadened to 600 stations with perhaps $600K in 3 days and a lousy $1K average, not long for this track.

HOLDOVERS:  GODZILLA (Warners) was hammered by X-Men‘s arrival even more than expected, down a monstrous 77% from its opening day to $8.8M.  It’s headed for $40M over the 4-day weekend, and now seems unlikely to get near Captain America 2 among the year’s blockbusters.  A $225M US total, to be sure, is much better than original expectations, so Godzilla is doing just fine–and once China and Japan check in, it will be even stronger overseas–but word of mouth and scheduling issues aren’t helping it.

MILLION DOLLAR ARM (Disney) is benefiting from its older-skewing audience and presumably good word of mouth, down a relatively mild 48% from last Friday to $1.8M.  At that level, though, it’s still headed for just $8M over the 4-day weekend and perhaps a $40M total in the US, with uncertain prospects overseas.  (Despite its partial Indian setting, it’s not doing much business in India, a bad sign.)

NEIGHBORS (Universal) fell 51% from last Friday to $4.2M, and should have $17M for the 4-day weekend, on its way to $140M in the US.  That would put it just below Knocked Up‘s $148.8M among Seth Rogen’s live-action hits.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony) is quickly hitting the tail end of its US run, down another 56% Friday-to-Friday to $2M.  It should have $10M by Monday, and will get over $200M in the US, but not by much.  It may not reach the $752.2M worldwide total of the first Amazing, making it a considerable disappointment for Sony.

Without much for kids in the market, RIO 2 (20th/Blue Sky) is holding well, down just 39% Friday-to-Friday, but still at only $500K for the day, and still headed for not more than a mild $130M in the US (about 10% less than the first Rio).  THE OTHER WOMAN (20th) dropped 48% to $1.1M, and should reach $85M in the US before it’s done.  Both HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (TriStar/Sony) and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Disney/Marvel) lost big chunks of their theatres, and they fell 60% and 56% respectively, at $450-500K for the day as they head for the exits.  However, by the end of the weekend, the Captain should have topped The LEGO Movie to become the #1 movie of 2014 so far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The only mildly notable opening was WORDS AND PICTURES (Roadside), headed for an OK 3-day $8K average in 10 theatres.  THE IMMIGRANT (Weinstein) widened to 147 theatres and may not reach $500K over 3 days with a soft $3K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, MALEFICENT (Disney) will pursue the family audience, while A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (Universal) will be after the older siblings.  NIGHT MOVES (Cinedigm) and THE GRAND SEDUCTION (EOne) enter limited release.


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."