August 30, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 8/29/14


OPENINGS:  AS ABOVE/SO BELOW (Universal) cost just $5M to produce, but its big-studio marketing campaign will add at least $30M to that, and after a $3.2M Friday, it’s headed for $9.5M by Sunday and $11.5M for the 4-day holiday, which will likely give it $20M at best for its entire US theatrical run.  Those numbers will add red ink to the blood spilled during its running time.

THE NOVEMBER MAN (Relativity) is similarly placed, with $2.2M on Friday (plus $1.7M already earned from Wed-Thurs).  That’s far below the $3.8M earned by The American on its Labor Day Friday, and also below the $2.8M for Lawless and the $2.6M for The Debt (all of which also opened on Wednesdays). November Man should have a better multiple than As Above due to its older target audience, but is still headed for $9-10M by Sunday and perhaps $11M by Monday, with $25M as its probable US ceiling on total costs that won’t be all that much lower than the Universal release.

HOLDOVERS:  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) is now officially the top movie of 2014 in the US at $262.1M, and with its $3.8M on Friday (down just 20% from last Friday), it should be over $275M by Monday.  That gives it a solid shot to reach $300M, especially with the lackluster competition arriving over the next few weeks.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Nickelodeon/Paramount) is holding fine, down 41% from last Friday to $2.7M, and now at $153.3M.  It should be over $165M by Monday, and should get past $185M before it’s done, not far below blockbusters like Godzilla and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which barely nudged $200M.

The holds of last week’s openings were mixed.  IF I STAY (MGM/Warners), with its teen girl audience, fell 61% from last Friday to $2.6M, and should be at $32M by Monday, hoping to reach a not-bad $50M.  WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) has a very different audience, and should have held better than Friday’s 53% drop to $1.4M.  It may reach $16M by Monday, and may not crack $25M. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (Dimension/Weinstein) fell apart on its 2d Friday, plunging 77% to $610K, and will be a total loss for the studio, perhaps not reaching $15M on costs that topped $100M with marketing.  (However, the advances the studio received from foreign distributors may make its own books look considerably better.)

Longer runs are holding nicely, with Friday-to-Friday drops of 39% (to $2M) for LET’S BE COPS (20th), 37% (to $1.3M) for THE GIVER (Weinstein), 29% (to $1.1M) for THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney), and 36% (to $650K) for LUCY (Universal).

The perpetual CHEF (Open Road) took advantage of the slim dining being offered this weekend and re-expanded to semi-wide release at 752 theatres.  It won’t average much over $1000 per theatre over the 4-day weekend, but that will get it over the $30M mark.

LIMITED RELEASE:  CANTINFLAS (Lionsgate), that studio’s latest entry into the Latino market, had a solid start with $800K at 382 theatres, and may have a $8-9K per-theatre average over the 4-day weekend. THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD (IDP) may have a $12K average at 2 NY/LA arthouses.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Hard as it is to believe, the first full weekend of September looks even worse than this week.  The widest release is the low-budget true story THE IDENTICAL (Freestyle), and the limited releases are last year’s film festival also-rans like WETLANDS (Strand).  In other words, great news for Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which should continue to roll on.


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."