April 26, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 4/26/15


OPENINGS:  Playing in 44 markets that represent a bit over half the world (and not including China), AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (Marvel/Disney) has already romped to $201.2M in advance of its US opening.  International comparisons are tricky, due to variations in release pattern and exchange rates, but Disney claims this puts Ultron 44% ahead of the first Avengers, and since that blockbuster ended up with $895.2M overseas, the torrent is just beginning.

Back in the US, the numbers were much milder.  THE AGE OF ADALINE (Lionsgate) probably benefited somewhat from an older female audience than the recent The Longest Ride, making it less frontloaded and giving it a 8% Saturday bump rather than an 11% drop.  That pushed Adaline to $13.4M for the weekend, perhaps the best the little fantasy soap could have hoped for on its carefully chosen weekend.  Although all current movies will feel the blast of Ultron next week, it should hold up fairly well as counterprogramming, and could reach $40M in the US and have a healthy life on home technologies.

EX MACHINA (A24) hit wide release quite well, with $5.4M at just 1255 theatres.  That compares nicely with the $3.8M for the 1st wide weekend of It Follows, and Machina should have much better word of mouth–although it, too, may be pulverized by next weekend’s invasion.

LITTLE BOY (Open Road), aimed at the religious audience, had a modest $2.8M start at 1045 theatres, not as good as the $3.6M launch of Do You Believe at 1320 theatres last month–and that film has only earned $12.5M to date.  Now that “faith-based” releases are no longer a novelty, the genre will likely operate like any other, with occasional breakout hits and a steady number of flat performers.

HOLDOVERS:  Thanks to the lackluster competition, FURIOUS 7 (Universal) had enough gas in its tank for a 4th weekend at #1, down 37% from last week to $18.3M.  That puts it at $320.5M in the US, more than $80M ahead of the franchise’s last installment.  (Furious 8 has already been scheduled for an April 2017 release.)  Its big story is overseas, though, where Ultron‘s delay in China allowed Furious 7 to bring in another $69.7M outside the US, putting it at just over $1B internationally.  It’s only the third movie in history to do that, joining Avatar and Titanic–it’s something even the first Avengers didn’t accomplish.  Furious 7 is now also the highest-grossing film in China box office history, moving past the last Transformers to hit $323M.

The tepid arrivals helped all the holdovers.  With the exception of UNFRIENDED (Blumhouse/Universal), which fell a horror-typical 61% to $6.2M (still on target for $35M in the US, a fair return on a small investment), nothing in the weekend’s top dozen fell more than 38%.  That included a 35% drop (to $15.5M) for PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 (MGM/Columbia/Sony), still not as good as the 32% decrease for Weekend 2 of the first Paul Blart, and putting the sequel in line for $75M in the US, compared to the first Blart‘s $146.3M.

HOME (DreamWorks Animation/20th) slipped just 22 % to $8.3M, and should reach a solid but not thrilling $170M in the US.  THE LONGEST RIDE (20th) fell 38% to $4.4M, and may reach $40M before it’s done.  There were particularly strong holds for GET HARD (RatPac Dune/Warners), down 21% to $3.9M and heading for $90M in the US; MONKEY KINGDOM (DisneyNature), down 22% to $3.6M, which was exactly the same percentage drop as the Weekend 2 for last year’s Bears; WOMAN IN GOLD (Weinstein), down 24% to $3.5M and likely to reach $30M in the US; and INSURGENT (Summit/Lionsgate), down 25% to $3.1M, and still $15M behind the US performance of Insurgent at this point in the original film’s run.

TRUE STORY (Fox Searchlight) fell 40% to $1.2M, and with a $1400 per-theatre average, it doesn’t seem to have the legs to expand much beyond its current 856 theatre run.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE WATER DIVINER (Warners) had a not-quite-wide opening at 320 theatres and earned $1.3M, a moderate $3900 per-theatre average, although that number was boosted by the fact that more than 20% of its theatres charged IMAX ticket prices.  CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (IFC) widened to 71 theatres with an OK $3400 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  No sane studio wants to open in the shadow of Ultron, making it the weekend’s only wide release.  The quirky Kristen Wiig indie WELCOME TO ME (Alchemy) will have a very limited opening before expanding to VOD the following week.

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."