May 31, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 5/30/14


OPENINGS:  MALEFICENT (Disney) didn’t come cheap–with worldwide marketing, its price-tag will top $300M.  But it seems to be money well spent, as its $24.2M Friday should propel it into a $70M+ weekend.  It’s also launching well overseas, with $20M on Friday from 35 markets (plus $21M from some of those markets in the 2 preceding days).  The only factor working against it, apart from the possibility of bad word of mouth, may be timing:  it could lose the older edge of its young female audience to Friday’s The Fault In Our Stars, and the following week brings How To Train A Dragon 2, which should be a family blockbuster.

Even successful westerns don’t travel well overseas, so after a $6.1M Friday that likely means a $16-17M weekend, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (Universal) is already more or less finished, the only question being how much of its $150M in costs (including marketing) will be lost.  Luckily for those concerned, the next project on all their plates is Ted 2, about as sure a smash hit as any non-Marvel project around.  Don’t expect to see Seth MacFarlane, in his non-animated form, starring in many more projects going forward.

HOLDOVERS:  Unless Maleficent or Dragon 2 overperforms in a big way, it’s likely that at least until we get to the rebooted Transformers at the end of June, the highest-grossing movie of 2014 will still be April’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which should top February’s The LEGO Movie by Monday), as all of the giant summer openings so far are quickly running out of gas.  This week it was the turn of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (20th), down a plus-sized 74% from last Friday to $9.4M.  It’ll probably take in $31M for the weekend, putting it on track for $220M in the US at best.  That would leave it behind the $234.4M for X-Men: The Last Stand, and not necessarily beating the $214.9M f9r X2: X-Men United.  However, it should still become the franchise’s best earner worldwide, as its international total will pass The Last Stand‘s $225M this weekend, and should end up well ahead of The Wolverine‘s $282.3M.

GODZILLA (Warners) and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony) are falling with similar speed.  Godzilla dropped another 62% from last Friday to $3.3M, and may get to $11M this weekend.  It’s likely to need a concerted effort by Warners if it’s even to reach $200M in the US, and it will only beat that overseas once it’s opened in China and Japan during the next few weeks.  Spider-Man is doing much better overseas than Godzilla ($489M, which includes China and Japan, compared to $166M), but in the US it will also struggle to get past $200M, after a Friday that was down 50% to $1M and a likely $4M weekend.

BLENDED (Warners) fell 46% to $2.4M, not a bad hold, but far from what it would have needed to show signs of real life.  Its weekend is unlikely to get past $8M, and its ability to reach $50M in the US is doubtful.  NEIGHBORS (Universal) had a similar Friday, down 44% to $2.4M with an $7-8M weekend in store, but that’s after 4 weeks of release, and a total that will likely bring it to $140M+ before it’s done.  MILLION DOLLAR ARM (Disney) hasn’t become the sleeper its studio had hoped, down 43% to $1M on Friday and with a weekend of $3.5M ahead, probably headed for a $35M US total.

The two indies that widened last weekend did so again, but with diminishing returns.  Despite adding 20% more theatres for a total of 624, CHEF (Open Road) fell 11% Friday-to-Friday to $500K and will probably be under $2M for the weekend, with a per-theatre average at perhaps $3K.  BELLE (Fox Searchlight) grew by 15% to 525 theatres, but still sank 18% for the day to $350K, with a $2500 weekend average ahead.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Nothing is setting the art houses on fire.  THE GRAND SEDUCTION (EOne) opened in 100 theatres and may have a $3500 per-theatre weekend average, while NIGHT MOVES (Cinedigm) may have a $14K average at just one theatre each in NY and LA.  In its 2d weekend at 150 theatres, THE IMMIGRANT (Weinstein) is facing a $2K per-theatre average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Rumors are rife that the tiny-budgeted teen soap THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (20th) has a real shot to outdo Tom Cruise’s mega-costly sci-fi action-adventure EDGE OF TOMORROW (Warners), and no matter what spin Warners would put on such a result, it would be an awful embarrassment for the studio and the star.  Also arriving in limited release is Sundance favorite OBVIOUS CHILD (A24).

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."