November 2, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11/2/14


OPENINGS:  NIGHTCRAWLER (Open Road) and Ouija are in a dead heat for the weekend title, with Nightcrawler claiming a temporary $9000 edge at $10.909M.  We won’t know the real winner until tomorrow, but Ouija is already admitting a 52% Sunday drop, while Nightcrawler maintains that it will only fall 35% today.  That number is the more likely to slip, which could give the weekend to the horror movie.  In any case, a nearly $11M opening is good news for the low-budget, lightly-marketed Nightcrawler, which was helped by extremely strong reviews.  Nightcrawler also earned $1.8M in a handful of foreign territories.

The combination of Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth convinced hardly anyone to buy tickets for BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP (Clarius), which opened to a dreadful $2M–and even that number probably won’t hold, since it rests on a very optimistic Sunday estimate of a tiny 21% decline.  Sleep probably won’t outgross this year’s other Kidman/Firth collaboration The Railway Man, which managed $4.4M and never expanded beyond 600 theatres.

HOLDOVERS:  The weakness of the weekend’s newcomers was a bonanza for the movies already in theatres.  With the exception of last weekend’s openings, nothing in the Top 10 fell more than 33%.  ST VINCENT (Weinstein), which increased its theatre count by about 10%, held essentially even at $7.8M, and is already near $20M.  The Day of the Dead-themed BOOK OF LIFE (20th) slipped a mere 17% to $8.3M, and is at $40.5M.  ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Disney) also held up beautifully, down 10% to $6.5M, with $53.6M so far.  Alexander also has $15.9M internationally after a $1.8M weekend in 21 territories.  (Both family movies, however, may be decimated next weekend by the arrival of Disney’s Big Hero 6.)

OUIJA (Blumhouse/Universal), as noted, is contending for the weekend win, down an extremely good (for a horror movie) 45% to $10.9M, and with $35M so far.  It will certainly go over $50M in the US, guaranteeing it a profit even with its big-studio marketing push, thanks to a miniscule $5M production cost.  Ouija is just getting started overseas, and took in $5.7M (fot a $7.7M total) in 19 territories.  DRACULA UNTOLD (Legendary/Universal) also sold tickets over Halloween weekend, down 33% to $2.9M and with $52.9M to date in the US.  Overseas, it’s taking in much more plasma, at $136.1M after a $12.4M weekend in 61 markets.

JOHN WICK (Lionsgate) had a fine Weekend 2 hold, down 44% to $8.1M, at $27.6M so far.  With a likely $150M pricetag for production and worldwide marketing, it’s still going to need international help to breakeven,and its overseas business is rather sluggish so far, at $8M after a $6.6M weekend in 34 territories.  However,  Lionsgate should make its money back on its US-only rights.

The longer runs continued to hang tough.  FURY (QED/Columbia/Sony) fell 32% to $9.1M and a $60.4M US total, angling to reach $80M.  However, although it’s got plenty of international release ahead, it’s not a blockbuster overseas so far, which is somewhat surprising for a Brad Pitt WWII vehicle, and could be worrisome–this weekend it brought in $14.6M in 44 territories, with $37.8M to date.  GONE GIRL (20th) is now David Fincher’s biggest US hit at $136.6M (after $8.8M for the weekend, down a tiny 20%), and isn’t anywhere near done.  Overseas, it earned $15.3M this weekend for a $142.4M cume, and it will challenge The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and its $333.9M as Fincher’s biggest title worldwide.   THE JUDGE (Warners) also held well, down 22%, but with a $39.6M total after a $3.4M weekend, it’s still an underperformer.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) is now the #2 worldwide hit of the year (still far behind the $1B+ Transformers:  Age of Extinction), having hit $765M to pass Maleficent.  That title may not last long, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, Interstellar, The Hobbit 3 and Big Hero 6 all on the way.  TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Paramount) hit China, where it topped the charts with $26.5M.  Turtles is at $434.5M worldwide, with Japan still to come.THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) is nearing $100M in the US ($97M after barely falling 4% to a $2.3M weekend), and it’s now over $300M worldwide, after a $23.8M weekend ($13.7M of it from China) put it at $208.5M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 231 theatres, and continues to roll along at a strong but not exceptional pace.  Its $10.9K per-theatre average was slightly ahead of the $10K average for Blue Jasmine when it hit 229 theatres, and that film reached $33.4M.  DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (Roadside) fell 40% to a $1900 average.  WHIPLASH (Sony Classics) increased its theatre count by one-third, and climbed 10% for the weekend, with a moderate $4500 average.  The acclaimed documentary CITIZENFOUR (Radius/Weinstein) had a $5700 average at 37.  LAGGIES (A24) fell to a $4K average as it spread to 16 theatres. LOW DOWN (Oscilloscope) had a $5300 average at 2.  Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE (IFC) reaped his usual critical bounty of puzzled rapture, and had a $12.5K average at 2 theatres in New York.

NEXT WEEKEND:  INTERSTELLAR (Paramount/Warners) has a 2-day film-only opening starting Tuesday night at around 300 theatres, because Christopher Nolan gets what he wants.  It goes wide 2 days later, joined by BIG HERO 6 (Disney), and together they should completely remake the box office landscape.  Film festival favorite THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus/Universal) begins its Oscar push with a limited opening.


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."