October 19, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/19/14


OPENINGS:  The $23.5M opening for FURY (QED/Columbia/Sony) puts it at risk of being passed next weekend by the low-grade Keanu Reeves vehicle John Wick.  Fury has the distinction of being the lowest-grossing movie to open at #1 this year since Mr. Peabody & Sherman back in March, and that’s not what Brad Pitt in a mainstream action role is supposed to do.  None of this means that Fury will lose money, as long as the movie delivers internationally (where it won’t begin its run until next week).  But it will need to show considerable strength there and in the rest of its US run to be considered anything but a disappointment.

THE BOOK OF LIFE (REEL FX/20th) opened a bit below The Boxtrolls at $17M, and its number may go lower tomorrow, considering that the studio is claiming a much stronger Sunday hold than Boxtrolls  (a 25% drop vs 35%).  Like Boxtrolls, it’s probably going to end up with around $50M in the US (also like Boxtrolls, it had a much lower budget than Pixar and DreamWorks animations).  Life also earned $8.6M in 19 international territories, and not surprising given its theme, it was particularly strong in Mexico and Brazil.

THE BEST OF ME (Relativity) was ill-titled, as it only managed a $10.2M weekend, the lowest opening of any Nicholas Sparks adaptation.  Sparks has two more movies before the cameras now, and in about a year, we’ll know whether this was a blip in his rom-dram domination, or the beginning of its end.  Relativity’s claim, by the way, that it’s only out of pocket $5M on the film because of foreign presales doesn’t account for the marketing costs, which will likely keep the studio in the red on the production.

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN (Paramount) hit semi-wide release for the first, and likely the last, time.  The expansion was a flat-out disaster with $320K at 608 theatres, most of which will be clawing to get it out of their multiplexes.  Adam Sandler’s streak of having no box office value whatsoever in serious films continues.

HOLDOVERS:  GONE GIRL (20th) remained the adult film of choice this fall, slipping a mere 33% to $17.8M, with $107.1M earned so far.  It also took in $20.2M in 57 territories for a $94.5M total, with some major markets still to come.  It’s likely to exceed $300M worldwide, which could put it in reach of the $333.9M total of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, currently David FIncher’s biggest global hit.  (Gone Girl will definitely be Fincher’s biggest US hit, passing Benjamin Button as soon as next week.)  The attention of all involved will now turn to its awards possibilities.

Despite the arrival of Book of Life, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Disney) held very well, down just 34% from last week to $12M and a $36.9M total.  It also brought in $1.3M overseas ($6.6M total) in just 15 territories.

Although DRACULA UNTOLD (Legendary/Universal) weakened in the US, dropping 58% to $9.9M ($40.7M total), it’s very strong overseas, earning $22.5M in 55 territories for a $95.7M total.  Its international result could end up tripling its US total, which is one formula for profit these days.  ANNABELLE (New Line/Warners) is also underscoring the international appeal of horror, down 50% to $7.9M in the US ($74.1M total), but with $19.2M overseas in 51 territories, where it’s brought in $92M so far.  The thriller’s final worldwide result won’t be as skewed as Dracula‘s, but its foreign take should more than double its US result.  (Annabelle was also much cheaper to produce than Dracula, making it an easy moneymaker.)   Also thriving overseas:  THE MAZE RUNNER (20th), with $17.1M in 52 overseas markets (China still to come) and a $160.7M total, plus $90.8M in the US after falling 40% to $4.5M.

Conversely, THE JUDGE (Warners) is showing little punch in the US or overseas.  Here it fell 40% to $7.9M ($26.8M total), and internationally it earned $6.5M in 37 markets, totaling $8.7M.  THE EQUALIZER (Columbia/Sony), down 44% to $5.5M in the US ($89.2M total), continues to demonstrate that Denzel Washington’s appeal is mostly here, as it took in $8M in 88 foreign territories for $69.6M.

Last but far from least, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) is close to the end of its run in the US (down 45% to $1M and a $327.8M total), but it’s still hot in China, which contributed $22.3M of its $23.1M foreign take, giving it an international total of $405M.  Its worldwide $733M is, apart from the untouchable Transformers: Age of Extinction, behind only Maleficent and X-Men: Days of Future Past this year, and just by $25M.  It’s likely to become the world’s #2 movie of the year… at least until the new Hobbit and Hunger Games installments open in the next few months.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) had its expected giant opening, a $104K average at 4 NY/LA theatres.  That’s the second biggest opening average of the year, behind only The Grand Budapest Hotel (although little more than half that film’s $203K average), but it means little for the movie’s ultimate box office level:  other recent openings in that vicinity have resulted in numbers ranging all the way from $150M (American Hustle) to $13M (Inside Llewyn Davis).  The real surprise of the weekend was the remarkable $31K average for DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (RSA) at 11 theatres, with just a fraction of Birdman‘s pedigree and critical buzz.  Its expansion next weekend will bear attention.  THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (GK), splitting its days between dubbed and subtitled versions, started strong with a $17K average at 3.  Meanwhile, ST VINCENT (Weinstein) expanded to 68 theatres with a fair $10K average, which was also the average for WHIPLASH (Sony Classics), but at a smaller 21-theatre expansion.  PRIDE (CBS) held well at a lower level, increasing its theatre count by about 20% and falling 8% for the weekend for a $1800 average at 115 theatres.


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."