August 10, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8/10/14


OPENINGS;  It’s no surprise that a sequel has already been announced (and scheduled for June 3, 2016, for those who like to get their Fandango orders in early) for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Nickelodeon/Paramount), which blew past all expectations with a reported $65M opening weekend.  The CG action spectacle dipped only 14% on Saturday, a very solid result for the genre, demonstrating word of mouth that was better than reviews and exit polls had suggested.  In addition, although Turtles has many important overseas territories still to open, it earned $28.7M in the 19 markets where it’s arrived, including Russia and Mexico.  The movie wasn’t cheap, so its level of profitability will still depend on the international results over the next several weeks, but Paramount could hardly have hoped for a better start.

INTO THE STORM (Warners) was far behind with a claimed $18M weekend (that number relies on having the best Sunday hold in the Top 10, so it’s shaky).  Storm cost much less to produce than Turtles–the reported number is $50M–but it carries the pricetag of a Warners marketing campaign, which will make recoupment tough, and dependent on being much more popular overseas than it is here.

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney) had a blah start with $11.1M.  As an older-skewing drama, its second weekend will be more telling than the first, and the budgets (production and marketing) were kept moderate.  Nevertheless, it’s going to be a long climb to dessert for this banquet.

STEP UP: ALL IN (Summit/Lionsgate) was barely a factor with a $6.6M weekend.  Equally ominous is that although the franchise has been overseas-heavy in its appeal, its 37 territories at this point have only taken in $37.7M, $6.4M of it this weekend.  With next to no revenue in the US, All In will need to be particularly strong internationally to keep the series going.

The first weekend of semi-wide release for BOYHOOD (IFC) was less than encouraging.  The art film increased its theatre count by more than 60% (to 507) but still fell 13% from last weekend to $2.1M, with a $4100 per-theatre average  It has $10.7M so far, and $20M may not be in its future.

HOLDOVERS:  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) seemed to leave little on the table despite the Turtles onslaught.  Its Weekend 2 drop was 56% (to $41.5M), better than the 2d weekends for all of the year’s other $90M+ openings both in percentage drop and dollar amount.  It’s pacing ahead of Transformers: Age of Extinction both in 10-day total ($175.9M to $175.4M) and weekend hold (a 56% drop compared to 63%–and for Transformers, that 2d weekend was the 4th of July holiday).  It all places Guardians in a great position to become the year’s #1 movie in the US.  Overseas, however, it won’t challenge the mighty Transformers franchise–Guardians added $40.1M for a $137M total, and although there are still enormous territories to come, including China, Japan and some of Western Europe, its worldwide total looks to be in the $600-700M range, far from the $1B+ of Transformers.  (That movie, incidentally, although done in the US with a $590K weekend, had a $17.4M weekend overseas after opening in its final major territories of Japan and Spain.  It should have at least another $50M in its tank, which would bring it to around $1.08B–not quite as much as Transformer 3‘s $1.12B, but close enough, with all of the shortfall coming from the US.)

LUCY (Universal) held well, down 49% to $9.3M in the US ($97.4M total), and with $15M from just 15 overseas markets.  HERCULES (Paramount/MGM) dropped 48% in the US this weekend (to $5.7M), but it’s not going to get past $75M here, which will hardly put a dent in its $250M+ production/marketing cost.  So far, it’s not generating the overseas support it needs, with $7.2M this weekend in 41 territories ($72.5M total).  It still has Japan, China, Mexico, and much of Europe to come, but it’s not looking like a smash.

GET ON UP (Universal) is as dead as James Brown after a 63% plunge to $5M.  It may not get past $35M in the US, and its overseas prospects are grim.  DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) dropped 49% to $4.4M, and is at $197.8M in the US.  It also added $29.5M overseas, for a $306.1M international total with both China and Japan still to open.  It’s now topped Rise of the Planet of the Apes both in the US and internationally, and isn’t close to being done overseas.  A MOST WANTED MAN (Lionsgate/Roadside) held well at a low level, down 31% (while increasing its theatre count by 10%) to $2.2M for the weekend, with a $2800 per-theatre average.

LIMITED RELEASE:  WHAT IF (CBS) found few takers with a mediocre $6500 average at 20 theatres.  Neither of the weekends expansions went particularly well.  MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Sony Classics) confirmed that this will be one of Woody Allen’s off years, with a $4700 average at 170 theatres, suggesting a final total that won’t get beyond $10M.  CALVARY (Fox Searchlight) had a $5700 average at 41 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."