July 27, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 7/27/14


OPENINGS:  LUCY (Universal) is claiming the lowest Sunday drop in the Top 10, so the studio’s $44M weekend estimate may come down a bit tomorrow, but it’s still a very solid hit for all concerned.  That’s especially true for Scarlett Johansson, who now has non-Avenger action movie bona fides.  The only question is whether the studio slightly miscalculated by moving Lucy‘s opening up so that it preceded Guardians of the Galaxy (which will dominate multiplexes next weekend) instead of leaving it to follow that likely blockbuster, where it would have had more time to play with lesser competition.  The movie’s international run hasn’t kicked in yet.

HERCULES (Paramount/MGM) opened to an OK $29M in the US.  More importantly, it started its overseas campaign with a near identical $28.7M, still in just 26 territories.  That doesn’t suggest blockbuster numbers are ahead, but certainly there’s international interest.  Depending on how Dwayne Johnson’s and Brett Ratner’s deals are structured, Hercules probably needs to exceed $200M overseas to come anywhere near breaking even.

AND SO IT GOES (Clarius) will swiftly be a memory with $4.6M for the weekend, even considering that it’s at a moderate 1762 theatres.

None of the weekend’s semi-wide openings and expansions hit very big.  A MOST WANTED MAN (Lionsgate/Roadside), at 361 theatres, had a $7500 per-theatre average for $2.7M, although with its older audience appeal it may hang around for longer than the usual thriller.  THE FLUFFY MOVIE (Open Road) had a $3K average at 432 for $1.3M, attracting only the star’s core fans. WISH I WAS HERE (Focus/Universal) expanded badly to 625 theatres with an $1800 average and $1.1M weekend total.

HOLDOVERS:  DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) isn’t hanging on as well as one might have expected, given the rave reviews and lack of A-level competing product.  It fell 55% from last weekend to $16.4M, and looks like it will top $200M in the US, but not by much.  After adding some post-World Cup territories, the movie had a big overseas weekend with $54.4M, with some major territories like France and Italy still to come, putting its current international total at $181.9M.  It will end up ahead of Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the US (currently Rise is on top by $4.6M), but still has some work to catch up with Rise‘s $305M overseas total.

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount) is near the end of its US run, down 53% this weekend to $4.6M and a $236.4M total.  Overseas, though, it’s still performing strongly, with $37.5M this weekend and a $730M total.  That includes the accomplishment this weekend of becoming the first movie ever to go over $300M in China (although as we’ve noted before, China retains so much of the box office gross that the actual return to Paramount is much lower than that spectacular number would imply).  Transformers 4 is at $966.4M worldwide, with Japan still to come, and may challenge the last installment’s $1.123B as the biggest hit in the franchise.

Other titles are also at the tail end of their US release but still a factor overseas.  Most notable was GODZILLA (Warners), which finally reached its home territory of Japan to a much softer than expected $7M opening.  Japan is one of the few territories in the world where movies linger for lengthy runs, but Godzilla is still unlikely to exceed $50M there, giving it $550M worldwide, very much a 2d-tier blockbuster.  (However, Godzilla 2 was just announced at Comic-Con.)  HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (DreamWorks Animation/20th), which added $2.2M in the US for $165.6M, earned $24M overseas for $260.2M, with some major territories still on the way.  THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (20th), remarkably for its genre, is now at $135M overseas, better than its $122.7M in the US.

Last weekend’s openings were all soft in their second stanzas.  THE PURGE: ANARCHY (Universal) fell 67% to $9.9M, still better than the 76% plunge for the first Purge in its parallel weekend.  Anarchy might exceed $70M by the time it’s done, and it also earned $6M overseas this weekend.  PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE (Disney) was stronger with a 47% drop to $9.3M, still not as good as the 40% decline for the 2d weekend of the original Planes.  Fire & Rescue, which also sold $6.9M in tickets overseas this weekend, may hit $70M in the US.  SEX TAPE (Columbia/Sony) dropped 59% to $6M, compared to the 54% Weekend 2 drop for Bad Teacher (which also started at a much higher level).  Sex Tape will shortly be erased with perhaps $40M.  It also made $6.1M overseas this weekend.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Woody Allen’s MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) had a fair per-theatre average of $25K at 17 theatres.  That’s less than the $37K average Blue Jasmine had when it hit 50 theatres, but comparable to the $24K average To Rome With Love had at 29.  BOYHOOD (IFC) expanded well to 107 theatres with a $16K average.  Impressively, the art film has also taken in $5.7M overseas in just 5 territories.  I ORIGINS (Fox Searchlight) expanded badly to 76 theatres, not even managing a $1000 average.  LAND HO (Sony Pictures Classics) showed little energy in its expansion to 14 theatres with a $2400 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."