June 1, 2014

Behind the US/International Weekend Box Office – 6/1/14


OPENINGS:  MALEFICENT (Disney) is claiming a $70M weekend, and like all round-number estimates, that should be viewed with some skepticism.  But even if it dips slightly in final numbers tomorrow, it’s a fine start.  It’s not, however, the equal of Disney’s other revisionist fairy tales Alice In Wonderland ($116.1M) or Oz: The Great and Powerful ($79.1M).  Also a bit worrisome is the fact that it seems to be skewing toward the older end of young women, with just a 6% Saturday bump from matinees, and that’s exactly the target audience for next week’s The Fault In Our Stars.  All of that makes the movie’s international performance even more critical than for most big-budget spectacles (Maleficent cost $300M+ including worldwide marketing), so its $100.6M weekend in 47 territories is a good sign.  (Disney claims that’s 40% above the foreign launch of Oz, which ended up with an OK $258.4M overseas, but because of different release patterns, those comparisons are hard to judge.)  The all-important China and Japan openings are yet to come.

The word for weeks has been that EDGE OF TOMORROW (Warners) was going to have to overperform mightily internationally to make up for what’s looking like a soft US opening, thanks to Tom Cruise not being the star at home that he used to be.  Warners has to be sweating even more now that early overseas results are in and Edge managed just a mediocre $20M in 28 markets.  Admittedly, there are still many major territories still to open, but Edge, with $325M+ in production/marketing costs, has very little room to spare.  Next weekend’s openings, aside from the US, include China, and that will likely tell the tale.

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (Universal/MRC) is ready for burial after $17.1M in the US (and even that may be optimistic) and $10.3M in 21 international markets.  The comedy western cost $150M+ for production/marketing, and its backers will be lucky if half of that is recouped.

HOLDOVERS:  Considering that last weekend was unusually strong due to Memorial Day, a 64% drop for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (20th) to $32.6M isn’t bad (it’s better than the 67% Weekend 2 drop for Godzilla, and not much worse than the 61% decline for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the 57% for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and none of them had to compare with holiday weekends).  It’s on track for $225M or so in the US.  More importantly, though, X-Men had a huge $95.6M weekend overseas, down less than 50% from last weekend, and is already the highest grossing chapter in the X-Men franchise worldwide at $500.2M.  Days of Future Past was hugely expensive, with $400M+ in production/marketing costs, so it’s not at profit yet, but it’s on the road to $650M+ worldwide, which puts it firmly in the 2d echelon (not the Avengers/Iron Man 1st) of superhero franchises.

BLENDED (Warners) slipped a very acceptable 41% to $8.4M for the weekend, but that still puts it in line for just $45M in the US.  MILLION DOLLAR ARM (Disney) similarly fell 47% to $3.7M, but is unlikely to get much higher than a $35M total.  NEIGHBORS (Universal) fell 45% to $7.7M (it also has $79.3M overseas after a $7.6M weekend), a total of over $200M worldwide.

The fate of GODZILLA (Warners) rests entirely on its performance in China and Japan.  In the US, it’s sputtered very quickly, down another 61% to $12.2M, and Warners will have to stretch mightily to get it to $200M.  It’s also much diminished overseas, with a mere $15M weekend and a severely underperforming $200M total.  Even if Godzilla has the same $111.9M performance in China that Pacific Rim did (that was by far its biggest market), it would just barely top Rim‘s $309M overseas total.  (Rim wasn’t very strong in Japan, just $14.5M, but the hope is that Godzilla will have more local appeal.)  Even in the best case scenario, Godzilla will be a notch behind the summer’s other CG blockbusters, and it could be much worse off than that.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony) will just slightly better the overseas performance of the first Amazing (it’s at $500M and almost done with its global run, compared to $495.9M for the last installment), and that won’t begin to make up for its likely $60M shortfall in the US–not a flop, but a significant step backwards for the franchise, and a crushing disappointment for Sony.

The two barely-wide indie releases are holding their own.  CHEF (Open Road) widened its theatre count by 25% to 624 but still fell 11% for the weekend to $2M (a $3200 per-theatre average), and BELLE (Fox Searchlight) expanded by 15% to 525 but fell 23% to $1.3M ($2400 average).  Both could reach $10M, a tidy enough total these days.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Not much going on, as the indies largely stand back and watch the big-studio behemoths do battle with one another.  THE GRAND SEDUCTION (EOne) had a mild $3700 average at 100 theatres.  IDA (Music Box) almost doubled its run to 58 theatres with a $4100 average.  THE IMMIGRANT (Weinstein) had a $2200 average at 150.  WORDS AND PICTURES (Roadside) added 3 theatres for a total of 13 and had a $6300 average.  CHINESE PUZZLE (Cohen Media) almost tripled its theatres to 29 with a $2500 average.  At one theatre each in NY and LA, NIGHT MOVES (Cinedigm) had an OK $12K average.



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."