August 9, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office – 8/8/14


OPENINGS:  TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Paramount) may or may not turn a big profit–it carries a $300M pricetag (including worldwide marketing), and could falter quickly now that the fans have shown up–but there’s no question that Paramount marketing did its job in rousing those fans, successfully appealing both to a young audience and to the older crowd that remembers the original movies (and toys).  Its $25.6M opening day (including $4.7M from Thursday night) was bigger than the start for 22 Jump Street ($25.1M on its way to a $57.1M weekend), and almost as big as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($26.6M and a $72.6M weekend).  Word of mouth is uncertain (reviews were terrible, and exit polling–for whatever that’s worth–was mediocre), but it will certainly be over $60M for the weekend, and possibly as high as $65M.  Turtles has also already taken in $12M at just 19 overseas territories (including Russia, but not many other major markets).

INTO THE STORM (Warners) cost only $50M to produce, but it carries the heavy burden of the usual Warners blanket marketing campaign.  That leaves its $6.5M Friday and likely $16-17M weekend looking awfully windswept.  THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney) was designed as a longterm play for older audiences, so its $3.7M Friday and probable $11M weekend are just a first step, but it’s going to require a robust run into September to get anywhere profitable.  STEP UP: ALL IN (Summit/Lionsgate) is more of an international property than an American one at this point (the last entry in the series made 75% of its box office total overseas).  Still, its $2.8M Friday and $6-7M weekend won’t even pay for the domestic marketing campaign, making a US theatrical release counterproductive.

BOYHOOD (IFC) stepped over the 500-theatre line (507, to be exact) to barely qualify as a wide release, and its days of huge per-theatre numbers are behind it.  It’s headed for a $2M weekend and a $4K average (by comparison, the per-theatre for Turtles will be $15K+).  Of course, such an unusual art film reaching $20M (it should cross $10M this weekend) would be a triumph, but the film is unlikely to become a mainstream hit.  The next question will be whether IFC has the financial resources and the stomach for an awards campaign that would have to continue for months after Boyhood has left theatres.

HOLDOVERS:  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney), despite the unexpectedly strong competition from Turtles, had the best 2d Friday hold of any of this year’s blockbuster openings, down 67% to $12.3M.  Its weekend should be around $42M.  It may pull ahead of the 10-day total of Transformers: Age of Extinction by Sunday with $176M, and with limited competition the rest of August, it seems to be in good shape to win the title of the year’s biggest movie to date.

GET ON UP (Universal) had a terrible 2d Friday for a movie that was supposed to attract older viewers who show up in Week 2, down 69% from its opening to $1.5M and a likely $5M weekend.  Despite strong reviews and exit polling (an “A” really means something!  Just read our media mouthpieces!), it’ll be a memory in 2 weeks.

LUCY (Universal) dropped 49% from last Friday to $2.8M, and should be at $97M in the US after a $6M weekend.  HERCULES (Paramount), which cost more than twice as much to produce, fell 47% but to a much lower $1.7M, and will be at $64M after a $5-6M weekend.  A MOST WANTED MAN (Lionsgate/Roadside) increased its theatre count by 10% but will still drop 30% for the weekend for $2M and a $3K per-theatre average.

LIMITED RELEASE:  WHAT IF (CBS) is headed for a bland $8-9K average at 20 theatres (some houses where Daniel Radcliffe made surprise appearances had to be papered so he wouldn’t look out on empty seats).  MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Sony Classics) more than doubled its run to 170 theatres and may not even have a $5K average for the weekend, putting it above Woody Allen’s recent flops (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger), but very far from his hits.  CALVARY (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 41 theatres with an $5-6K per-theatre average and is probably facing a $5M potential in the US.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A diverse trio arrives, including THE EXPENDABLES 3 (Lionsgate) for fans of old guys with guns, THE GIVER (Weinstein) for the YA audience, and LET’S BE COPS (20th) for those seeking a raunchy comedy.


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."