July 5, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 7/4/14


OPENINGS:  Star/co-writer/co-producer Melissa McCarthy reportedly took a fraction of her usual fee on TAMMY (Warners) to keep the production budget down to the low $20Ms.  After a $6.4M 4th of July (up 17% from Thursday), the movie is well on its way to recouping that budget–it should have a $22M weekend, and $34M since Wednesday–but the cost of the extensive studio marketing campaign (probably $50M+) will be harder to earn back.  McCarthy may find herself rooting against a wide international release, which isn’t likely to result in much box office, and may throw the movie farther into the red.

EARTH TO ECHO (Relativity) may have $10M for the weekend ($15M since Wednesday) after climbing a bare 1% to $2.6M on Friday, and will have one more week in theatres before Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue arrives.  The movie had minimal production and marketing costs, so that might be enough to pull it near breakeven when homevideo and VOD are included.

Although the genre will inevitably bounce back eventually, low-budget schlock horror has been weak this year, and DELIVER US FROM EVIL (Screen Gems/Sony) probably cost more than most, being a Jerry Bruckheimer production and starring a higher-than-usual-grade cast of Eric Bana, Edgar Martinez and Olivia Munn.  All of that will work against it, as it fell 4% from Thursday to $2.5M, with a $9M weekend and $14M 5-day total likely.

Logically enough, the right-wing patriot “documentary” AMERICA (Lionsgate) zoomed on the 4th of July, up 61% from Thursday but still at a very low $1M at 1105 theatres.  It’s unclear whether it can ride that holiday total to a $3.5M weekend box office, or if July 4th brought out its acolytes and it’s going to drop now that the day is over.  In any case, its weekend will be far below the $6.5M the director’s 2016: Obama’s America made in its first wide weekend 2 years ago.

HOLDOVERS:  With $10.6M on Friday (up 10% from Thursday), ,TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount) will have no trouble sweeping the weekend, and a $38-40M 3-day total is likely.  But while the spectacle’s 8-day total of $148.9 M is still $19.5M above the 8-day total for Captain America: The Winter SoldierCaptain‘s 2d Friday was $1.2M higher than the one for Transformers, and that may be the beginning of the end of Transformers’ hope of supplanting the April opening’s $257.2M total as the biggest movie of 2014 in the US.  (Extinction will also be the lowest Transformers movie in the US by far, probably $60M+ below the first in the series, which is currently lowest.)  More than ever, foreign results will be everything for Transformers, and we’ll have information about those tomorrow.

The other holdovers that fared best on the holiday were those aimed at the older and younger audiences.  22 JUMP STREET (Columbia/Sony) dropped 51% from last Friday to $2.5M (a likely $9M weekend ahead), THINK LIKE A MAN TOO (Screen Gems/Sony) fell 61% to $1.3M (for a $4.5M weekend), and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (20th) plunged 65% to $640K (hoping for a $2M weekend).  Meanwhile, though, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (DreamWorks Animation/20th) was down just 33% from last week to $2.8M (with a $10M weekend likely, although the movie is still seriously underperforming as a whole), and MALEFICENT (Disney) slipped 29% to $1.8M (for a $6-7M weekend).  And on the other end of the age spectrum, JERSEY BOYS (Warners) reached its (low) stride, down a mere 20% from last Friday to $1.8M (and a likely $6-7M weekend), and EDGE OF TOMORROW (Warners) fell 36% to $1M (and $3.5M for the weekend).

CHEF (Open Road) continues to deserve a paragraph of its own, incredibly up 23% from last Friday to over $500K in just 686 theatres and in its 9th week of release.  It should be close to $22M by Sunday, and will get beyond $25M before it’s done.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BEGIN AGAIN (Weinstein) expanded to 175 theatres and should have a fair $8-9K weekend average.  SNOWPIERCER (Weinstein/Radius) also expanded, to 250 theatres, and may have a milder $4500 average.  The Roger Ebert biography LIFE ITSELF (Magnolia), also available on VOD, may have a $7K average at 22 theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) has been getting some of the strongest advance reviews of the summer, and it should easily dethrone Transformers.  In limited release, Richard Linklater’s unique and acclaimed BOYHOOD (IFC), filmed over the course of 12 years and following the same actor as he aged from 6 to 18 on camera, enters theatres.

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."