September 14, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 9/14/14


OPENINGS:  NO GOOD DEED (Screen Gems/Sony) hit in a big way with an unexpected $24.5M start.  That’s not quite the equal of 2009’s Obsessed ($28.6M), but it’s close enough.  And while Obsessed had to contend with the opening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in its 2d weekend, No Good Deed will face much less blockbusterish competition, which may give it a longer run.

A DOLPHIN TALE 2 (Alcon/Warners) had an OK start with $16.6M, about 15% below the opening for the first Dolphin Tale in 2011 (although that one had the benefit of 3D ticket prices).  The sequel had a slightly better Saturday bump than the first, which could bode well for word-of-mouth, although Dolphin has only one more free weekend before The Boxtrolls comes after its family audience.  (Boxtrolls got an early international start this weekend with $5.2M in the UK and Mexico.)

THE DROP (Fox Searchlight) had a reasonable opening at $4.2M at just 809 theatres.  That compares well with the $3.2M earned by A Most Wanted Man when that film was in 726 theatres.  However, even with such a reduced footprint, its per-theatre average was only half as high as No Good Deed‘s.  Its more serious tone may skew older and extend its stay, but Drop‘s big problem is that A Walk Among the Tombstones and The Equalizer, featuring much bigger stars, open in a 1-2 punch over the next 2 weeks, which could smash the smaller movie’s chance to grow an audience.

THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) won’t open here until next week, but it began its run in 5 international markets (only Mexico a major one) with a promising $8.3M.

HOLDOVERS:  It was a good weekend for holdovers thanks to the narrow appeal of both of the weekend’s wide openings, and nothing dropped more than 36% in the Top 10 (The November Man), with the other declines at a shallower 22-27%.  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) fell by only 26% from last weekend to $8M, and hit the $300M milestone both in the US ($305.9M) and overseas ($305.6M).  Here it might reach $325M before it’s done, but overseas it still has China on the way (along with Italy), so the number could go considerably higher.  This weekend Guardians opened in Japan, which oddly enough has been a dull market for the Marvel franchises, and that was the case here as well, with a mere $2.1M weekend.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Nickelodeon/Paramount) dropped 26% to $4.8M, with $181M in the US so far, and also earned $10.5M overseas for a $138.9M total, with China, Japan and most of Western Europe still to come.

LET’S BE COPS (20th), still the only comedy around, slipped 23% to $4.3M and a $73M total.  IF I STAY (MGM/Warners) was down 27% to $4.1M and a $44.9M total.  THE GIVER (Walden/Weinstein), down 23% to $2.6M and a $41.3M total, THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney), down 22% to $2.5M and a $49.4M total, and WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (Affirm/TriStar/Sony), down 30% to $2.4M and a $26.6M total, are still selling tickets.

Although LUCY (Universal) is at the tail end of its US run, with $1.6M this weekend (down 21% for a $123.5M total), it’s still gangbusters overseas, where it grossed another $25M this weekend for a huge $231M total and several major territories still to come.  Producer/director Luc Besson has said he has no intention of doing a Lucy 2, but as the worldwide total approaches $400M, it’s not hard to imagine him changing his mind about that.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE SKELETON TWINS (Roadside) jumped out to a sprightly $27K average at 15 theatres.  THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY (Weinstein) was less brisk with a $19K average at only 4 theatres (meaning a higher proportion of theatres boosted by live Q&As)–and even that studio estimate depends on a very low Sunday drop.  MY OLD LADY (Cohen) had a $12K average at 11 theatres.  ATLAS SHRUGGED PART III: WHO IS JOHN GALT? (ADC) concluded what may very well be the least successful trilogy in motion picture history with a $1500 average at 242 theatres.

THE TRIP TO ITALY (IFC) expanded fairly well, nearly doubling its theatre count to 155 theatres and increasing its weekend take by 49% with a $3100 average, even more impressive considering that it’s also widely available on VOD.  LOVE IS STRANGE (Sony Classics) also had a sturdy expansion, more than doubling to 102 theatres and increasing 49% with a $3700 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."