May 31, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 5/31/15


OPENINGS:  SAN ANDREAS (Village Roadshow/RatPac Dune/New Line/Warners) had a solid 13% Saturday bump that propelled it to a $53.2M weekend, significantly above expectations–and with no direct competition arriving next weekend, it should hold fairly well (until Jurassic World arrives in 2 weeks).  The surprising part of the picture is that given that level of US success, its $60M opening in 60 overseas territories (not including China) feels a bit soft, considering the giant international popularity of CG spectacles.  2012, for example, did almost 80% of its worldwide business outside the US.  Nevertheless, this is a win for its various financiers, with a $400-500M trajectory ahead on costs that were kept under control to around $300M in production and marketing.

ALOHA (Regency/20th/Columbia/Sony) tried to hold onto a shred of dignity by claiming a $10M weekend (which will require it to have the best Sunday hold in the Top 10).  But it really doesn’t matter whether the final number is $9.5M or even $10.5M, this is a total loss for all concerned.  Bradley Cooper is having an extremely odd box office year, following his biggest hit ever (American Sniper) with the mostly VOD release of Serena and now this flop, a lesson in the limitations of stardom circa 2015.

HOLDOVERS:  Any hopes that TOMORROWLAND (Disney) would be able to parlay its family friendliness to a lengthy run were dashed with a 58% drop to $13.8M.  It now has $63.2M in the US, and appears unlikely to reach $100M.  The news isn’t better overseas, where it earned $29.3M in 75 markets that significantly included China (which accounted for $13.8M of the total).  Although Japan is yet to come, it probably won’t hit $250M worldwide, which will require Disney to dig into its Avengers hoard for a write-down.

POLTERGEIST (MGM/20th) wasn’t expected to hold well, and it didn’t–down 66% to $7.8M and a $38.3M total that probably won’t get beyond $55M, plus $6.6M overseas in 41 territories (a very mild $19.2M international total).  With costs higher than the usual horror quickie, it isn’t headed for much profit.

PITCH PERFECT 2 (Gold Circle/Universal), on the other hand, continues to reap major success on its modest costs.  It fell 53% to $14.4M in the US for a $147.5M total that should end up around $175M, and overseas it had a $10.4M weekend for a $80.7M total, with quite a bit of the world yet to open.

The watchword on MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (Village Roadshow/Warners) continues to be “OK.”  It held well in the US, dropping 45% to $13.6M and a $115.9M total, and added $21.6M in 70 markets that included most of the world (but not China) for a $165M total.  China will eventually boost the latter number, but Mad Max is still the victim of its huge $350M production/marketing investment, and won’t do much more than break even.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (Marvel/Disney) is still selling tickets, in the US down 50% to $10.9M and a $427.1M total, and overseas at $894.2M after a $17.6M weekend.  Japan is yet to open, but it appears that on a worldwide basis, Ultron will end up a smidge below the $1.52B total of the first Avengers–although its profits will be hit further by the fact that the total will include a larger percentage of China sales (almost triple the number for the original Avengers), which return less than half of US revenues to the studio.

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (Fox Searchlight) continues to lead at arthouses, down 38% to $1.4M at 902 theatres and a $8.4M total, but doesn’t seem to have the juice for mainstream success.

LIMITED RELEASE:  I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS (Bleecker Street) expanded to 85 theatres with a sturdy $6100 average.  WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (GKids) had an OK $3700 average at 9.

NEXT WEEKEND:  ENTOURAGE (RatPac Dune/Warners) will try to get a jump on the weekend with a Wednesday opening, but it may hit a wall even with its male-oriented demo when SPY (20th), which adds a fair amount of action to the Melissa McCarthy formula, arrives on Friday.  Meanwhile, INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3 (Focus/Universal) will go for the teen horror audience.  There are 2 notable limited releases:  Brian Wilson bio LOVE AND MERCY (Roadside) and old-school historical drama TESTAMENT OF YOUTH (Sony Classics).


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."