August 16, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 8/15/14


After 2 weeks of unexpectedly smash hits, the dog days of summer attacked multiplexes with a vengeance.

OPENINGS:  THE EXPENDABLES 3 (Lionsgate) squeezed ahead of Let’s Be Cops on Friday, $5.8M (including $875K from Thursday night) to $5.6M, but since this was Expendables‘ opening night and Cops had started on Wednesday, the likelihood is that Expendables will have a steeper drop on Saturday, and Cops will take the weekend (among the newcomers).  There’s no good spin to be had for Expendables:  it’s an expensive movie that may not crack $15M this weekend or $45M as a US total.  Its opening day is down almost 45% from the $10.9M start for Expendables 2, and even if it triples its US total overseas (as Expendables 2 almost did), it’ll still be a flop.  Time for Sylvester Stallone to disinter Rocky or Rambo

LET’S BE COPS (20th) won’t make much more in the US than Expendables 3, and it’s likely to have much less international appeal, but it has the advantage of operating on the cheap–at least in terms of its production cost, which was a reported $18M.  (It still has a pricey big-studio marketing campaign to pay off, one that likely cost at least double its production budget.)  After earning $8.4M on Wednesday and Thursday, Cops added $5.6M on Friday and should have a $17M weekend and get close to $50M in the US.  In its favor:  it has the comedy market to itself for several weeks to come.

THE GIVER (Weinstein) was a misbegotten enterprise, an attempt to reach the Hunger Games/Divergence YA adventure audience with a much smaller-scale, less action-driven story.  It has the feel of an ambitious TV movie, and that’s the way movie audiences responded to it, with a $4.7M opening day (including $750K from Thursday night).  Teen-oriented dramas are typically front-loaded, so Giver may not get past $13M for the weekend, and in case all that wasn’t bad enough, it has direct competition from If I Stay coming next week.

A pair of expansions to wide release went badly.  MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Sony Classics), now in 964 theatres, will go in the books on the negative side of Woody Allen’s record, with $500K on Friday and a weekend that probably won’t reach $2M (perhaps a $2K per-theatre average).  WHAT IF (CBS) fared even worse, widening to 786 theatres for a Friday that didn’t even hit $300K, and a likely weekend of under $1M (a $1000 per-theatre average).

HOLDOVERS:  TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Nickelodeon/Paramount) dropped 69% from its opening day to $7.9M, a not atypical 2d Friday these days.  Its weekend drop should be more like 60%, for around $26M, as it heads toward $165M in the US.  The Turtles were ahead of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) on Friday, $7.9M to $7M, but Guardians is showing a lot of word-of-mouth strength, down just 44% from last Friday, and it could quickly close the gap with Turtles for the weekend.  Guardians is now at $204.5M, the highest 15-day gross of 2014 in the US.

INTO THE STORM (Warners) took a 65% hit from last Friday to $2.3M, and will likely be down close to 60% for the weekend to $7M, probably unable to reach $50M in the US.  The older audience for THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney) came out for the 2d weekend, giving the film a mild 44% drop to $2.1M, and that will only look better on Sunday, probably a decline under 40% to $7M.  Hundred-Foot is still dealing with very small numbers, and $50M is probably as high as it can get, but combined with the success of Chef, it demonstrates a sizable indie-level audience for movies that both concern and are comfort food.  STEP UP: ALL IN (Summit/Lionsgate) collapsed by 75% from last Friday to $750K, and will barely top $2M for the weekend.

LUCY (Universal), down 44% from last Friday to $1.6M, is now over $100M in the US, and DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th), nearing the end of its run, has gone over the $200M mark.

BOYHOOD (IFC) increased its theatre count by almost 50% to 771, but will only hold even for the weekend, heading for perhaps $2M and a $2500 per-theatre average.  That would bring it to about $13.5M, and it may not be able to make its way to $20M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE TRIP TO ITALY (IFC) may have a $17.5K weekend average at 6 theatres.  CALVARY (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 131, for what might be a $3K weekend average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  9 years after the first Sin City opened to $29.1M and a $74.1M US total, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (Weinstein) will hope to do as well in the waning weeks of summer.  IF I STAY (Warners) will seek the teen girl audience, and the “inspirational” sports drama WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (TriStar/Sony) will hope to lure football fans along with the religious audience.  The major limited release is Sundance favorite LOVE IS STRANGE (Sony Classics).


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."