August 2, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 8/1/14


OPENINGS:  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) has something the summer’s other blockbusters could only dream of:  weeks ahead without any A-level competition.  When the biggest titles coming up are the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Expendables 3, there’s a real opportunity to romp for the entire month of August.  With its $37.8M start–the 3d biggest day any movie has had all year with the exceptions of the opening days for Transformers: Age of Extinction ($41.9M) and Godzilla ($38.4M), and a weekend that will certainly top $90M, Guardians has the chance to sweep past Transformers (currently at $239.6M and nearly done) as the biggest movie of the year in the US.  Guardians probably can’t compete with Transformers overseas (the alien robots are at $745.4M and still selling tickets), but this is a giant win for our Disney and Marvel overlords.

Even with the crushing competition, GET ON UP (Universal) has to be considered something of a disappointment at $5M on Friday and a weekend that won’t get far beyond $15M.  Universal chose this slot because it had been so profitable for the African-American-themed historical dramas The Help ($26M) and The Butler ($24.6M), but Get On Up isn’t close to those–nor to the $27.5M opening for 42 (which starred Get On Up‘s Chadwick Boseman) or even the $20M start for Ray, which opened at different times of the year.  Get On Up looks like it it will struggle to get past $50M, performing roughly the same as Jersey Boys, which had a $13.3M opening and is now at $45.9M.  Don’t expect many more big-studio biographies about musical figures of the 1950s-60s in the near future.

A MOST WANTED MAN (Lionsgate/Roadside) expanded to a wider 729 theatres, but even though it doubled its theaters, its Friday results were only up 17% from last week.  It’s probably headed for a $2.5M weekend and a per-theatre average that may not reach $4K.

HOLDOVERS:  LUCY (Universal) was smashed by Guardians, down 68% from last Friday to $5.5M and on its way to a $18M weekend.  It may hit $120M in the US when it’s done, still a terrific result for a mid-budget movie.  HERCULES (Paramount/MGM), though, cost more than twice as much as Lucy, and it plunged 72% from last Friday to $3.2M, and perhaps a $10M weekend.  It may not even get to $75M in the US, and will have to triple that overseas just to approach breakeven.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) led the longer runs with a 49% drop to $2.4M on Friday and a likely $8.5M weekend.  It won’t exceed $200M in the US by much.  THE PURGE: ANARCHY (Universal) fell 48% to $1.8M and a $5.5M weekend–by next week it should beat the original Purge‘s $64.5M US total, and might get to $75M.  PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE (Disney) is holding better, down 36% to $1.8M on Friday and headed to $6M for the weekend, but it may only reach $65M, far from the $90.3M of the first Planes.  SEX TAPE (Columbia/Sony) fell 44% to $1.1M, with a $3.5M weekend and $40M total ahead.

CHEF (Open Road), incredibly, is still dropping just 15% Friday-to-Friday.  It will go over $28M this weekend with $30M in its sights.

LIMITED RELEASE:  CALVARY (Fox Searchlight) had a meek start at 4 NY/LA theatres, and may have a $15K per-theatre weekend average.  CHILD OF GOD (Well Go) may have a $5K average at 10 theatres, and that’s even counting the boost from in-person James Franco Q&As.   BOYHOOD (IFC) expanded again to 311 theatres, and although it’s starting to hit a wall as it moves past the big-city arthouses, it should still have a solid $7500 per-theatre average, and could reach $15-20M before it’s done.  MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Sony Classics) expanded to 65 theatres and should have a $10K average, far below the $37K average that Blue Jasmine had at 50 theatres, but much better than the $3700 average for You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger at 74.  Magic will probably settle for $10-15M, a fair result for an off-peak Woody Allen effort.  I ORIGINS (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 122 theatres very badly, and won’t even be close to a $1000 per-theatre average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Paramount) will make their return appearance.  The weather thriller INTO THE STORM (Warners) and dance sequel STEP UP: ALL IN (Summit/Lionsgate) will go after slightly older audiences, while true oldsters are targeted with THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney).  WHAT IF (CBS), a rom-com starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, 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."