June 14, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 6/13/14


OPENINGS:  22 JUMP STREET (Sony/Columbia) went even higher on Friday than early estimates had it, reaching $25M.  Even if it’s front-loaded as a young-skewing sequel, a $60M weekend is all but guaranteed, which would be 65% higher than the $36.3M opening weekend for 21 Jump Street, and if strong word of mouth kicks in, the 22 number could get to $62-63M.  In any case, the movie will have the biggest comedy opening of the summer so far.  21 Jump didn’t do much overseas, just $63.1M, less than half its US total–not unusual for US comedies–and the sequel could make big gains there as well.

For the sake of its studio, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (DreamWorks Animation/20th) needed not just to be a big hit, but to blow people away.  It’s the unfortunate pressure that kicks in when you weather 3 expensive flops (Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, Mr. Peabody and Sherman) in just a couple of years.  Dragon 2 will have a strong weekend, probably in the neighborhood of $50-55M after $18.5M on Friday, and that’s considerably higher than the $43.7M opening weekend for the first Dragon–but it’s going to be below the $60.3M opening for Madagascar 3 (which ended up with $216.4M in the US), let alone blockbusters like Monsters University or Despicable Me 2That will pay the bills, but barely keep the Wall Street dogs at bay.  One thing Dragon 2 does have going for it is the astonishing lack of animated movies this summer; the only other major opening (and even it’s not all that major) is Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue in mid-July.  That should keep Dragon 2 selling tickets for quite a few weeks to come.

HOLDOVERS:  THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (20th) was due for a giant crash compared to its hugely front-loaded opening day, and it was 76%, down to $6.4M.  The percentages will get better over the weekend, as comparisons include last week’s lower-grossing Saturday and Sunday results, and Fault should be at $18-20M by Sunday, putting it on track for $120M in the US–a hit by any definition, considering its cost.  EDGE OF TOMORROW (Warners) is in much more precarious shape because of its giant production/marketing budget and underwhelming start, and its 57% Friday-to-Friday decline to $4.6M seals its fate in the US.  It might reach $15M for the weekend, and will be lucky to hit a $85M total in the US, desperately in need of an overseas transfusion in order to avoid drowning in red ink.

MALEFICENT (Disney) held quite well in the face of Dragon 2‘s arrival, down 43% from last Friday to $5.8M.  It should have a $20M weekend, and now seems as though it might get to $200M in the US.  That’s a number X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (20th) will reach today, as its $2.6M Friday (down a steady 42% from last week) put it at $199.1M.  GODZILLA (Warners) dropped another 51% to $900K, and with $189M so far, will require special studio effort to arrive at $200M.  More important for Godzilla is its China opening, which seems to be on pace for around $35M–a very big, although not overwhelming, number for that market.  THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony/Columbia) is struggling to hit that $200M target, down 55% from last Friday to $245K, and currently at $197.7M.

Comedies are haves and have-nots.  NEIGHBORS (Universal) is the biggest “have,” down 52% to $800K on Friday and still with a chance to reach $150M in the US.  CHEF (Open Road) had a sensational Friday hold, down just 16% to $600K in 1102 theatres and showing real word of mouth strength.  On the other hand, BLENDED (Warners) and A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (Universal) are playing out their strings, down respectively 59% and 58% from last Friday to $900K/$500K, neither likely to get above $45M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE ROVER (A24) is headed to an OK $20K weekend average at 5 NY/LA theatres.  WORDS AND PICTURES (Roadside) expanded to 217 theatres, and should have an unremarkable $2K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A very quiet weekend, presumably because none of the studios wanted its big guns around the following week, when Transformers 4 arrives.  The only wide openings are Clint Eastwood’s JERSEY BOYS (Warners), which is going to have a tough time given its lack of star power and the movie’s melancholy tone, and the sequel THINK LIKE A MAN TOO (Sony/creen Gems), which will hope to outdo the $33.6M opening of the first Think.  Paul Haggis’s THIRD PERSON (Sony Pictures Classics), which found a muted response at film festivals, enters 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."