September 13, 2014

Behind the Friday Box Office: 9/12/14


OPENINGS:  NO GOOD DEED (Screen Gems/Sony) surged ahead of expectations with a $8.8M Friday.  The level of its frontloadedness, however, isn’t yet clear.  2009’s Obsessed, an April 2009 Screen Gems thriller that also starred Idris Elba (with Beyonce instead of Tarji P. Henson), had an $11.2M Friday, and reached $28.6M for its weekend (and $68.3M in the US overall).  If those same multiples apply to No Good Deed, it could have a $22.5M weekend.  In any case, with a reported $13M production budget and relatively focused marketing, the movie should hit profit.

A DOLPHIN TALE 2 (Warners) swam slowly with $4.3M on Friday, about 18% below the $5.1M opening day for 2011’s Dolphin Tale.  That may mean a $15-16M weekend.  Dolphin 2 also had a moderate budget, and could reach $60M in the US and $80M worldwide, nothing to get excited about but a reasonable result.

THE DROP (Fox Searchlight) had a solid $1.5M start in just 809 theatres, about 40% of the number playing No Good Deed, and may hit $5M+ for the weekend.  It’s the kind of low-key, slow-boil thriller that could generate good word of mouth, but it may not have much chance to simmer along, considering that Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington are just around the corner with much higher-profile action movies.

HOLDOVERS:  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) is at $299.976M after $2.1M on Friday (down 23% from last Friday), and may have already hit $300M as these words are being typed.  It will go over $600M worldwide this weekend, and the remaining question is whether it can get beyond $700M once it opens in China and Japan.

With the weekend’s openings aimed at relatively narrow demos, holdovers thrived on Friday.  In the day’s Top 10, nothing had a Friday-to-Friday drop over 34% (that was November Man, at $830K), and most week-to-week drops were merely 20-25%, with LET’S BE COPS (20th) at $1.3M, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Nickelodeon/Paramount) at $1.2M, THE GIVER (Walden/Weinstein) at $730K, WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) at $715K, and THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney) at $680K all benefiting from the stability of the marketplace.  The exception:  last week’s opening THE IDENTICAL (Freestyle), which lost one-third of its theatres and plunged 75% from last Friday to $130K.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY (Weinstein) had a fair start with a $5K average at 4 theatres, although those numbers were boosted by live Q&As with the film’s director and its star Jessica Chastain.  It should have a $18K average for the weekend.  Similar stunting helped THE SKELETON TWINS (Roadside) get off to a $7K per-theatre start, although it’s in a slightly wider release at 15 theatres, so the Q&As were more dispersed.  It should average a solid $25K for the weekend.  MY OLD LADY (Cohen) may have a $10K average for the weekend at 11 theatres.  LOVE IS STRANGE (Sony Classics) more than doubled its run to 102 theatres but increased Friday-to-Friday about 27%, with an OK $3K average ahead for the weekend.

NEXT WEEKEND:  An assortment of titles make their debuts, with THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (Warners) aiming at an older and mostly female audience, Kevin Smith’s TUSK (A24) looking for horror (and sheer weirdness)-loving indie fans, THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) for the YA crowd, and A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (Universal) hoping to hit that mother lode of Liam Neeson fans that gave Non-Stop a $28.9M opening in February.  Limited releases include HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS (Relativity), and the very worthy TRACKS (Weinstein), which will attempt to make its mark before the somewhat similarly themed Wild with Reese Witherspoon arrives in December.

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."