September 21, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 9/21/14


OPENINGS:  THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) is off to a healthy start worldwide, leading the US with $32.5M and overseas with $37.9M, the latter in 47 territories (and such major areas as Western Europe and China still to come).  Those aren’t gigantic numbers, but as YA franchises go, Maze Runner was done on the cheap, with probably $150-175M total production/global marketing costs, and with such a relatively low investment, by today it was already a no-brainer for the studio to announce that the second chapter in the franchise will open in about a year–which is lucky, since the ending of this installment essentially reveals itself to be the set-up for the sequel.

A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (Universal) didn’t have much of a tread with a $13.1M start (plus $5M in just 10 overseas markets).  That’s small change compared to Liam Neeson’s other post-Taken action movies, and even if the film does better overseas than it does here, that won’t do any good for Universal, which only has it in the US, where it’s unlikely to break out of red ink.

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (Warners) had an even slower start with $11.9M, just $900K higher than the opening for The Hundred-Foot Journey, despite the much starrier cast Leave You has, and its more intensive (and expensive) marketing campaign. Leave You is also unlikely to have much foreign appeal, so even if it matches the $51.5M mark Journey has reached near the end of its US run, it may never hit breakeven.

TUSK (A24), Kevin Smith’s oddball horror-comedy yarn, barely registered with under $900K at 602 theatres, a woeful $1500 per-theatre average.  Smith has become more of a celebrity personage than a filmmaker these days, and although he’s said that he sees Tusk as part 1 of a Canada-themed trilogy, it’s unclear whether he’ll get the chance to continue the saga.

HOLDOVERS:  NO GOOD DEED (Screen Gems/Sony) dropped a steep 58% from last week to $10.2M, on its way to a $55-60M US total, which should be good enough for profit given its low production budget and limited, focused marketing campaign.  A DOLPHIN TALE 2 (Warners) fell 43% to $9M, but that hardly compares to the 27% drop (to $13.9M) for the first Dolphin Tale.  It may struggle to reach $50M, and its ultimate fate is a toss-up, considering that the original Dolphin was weak overseas, with less than 25% of its worldwide gross outside the US.  Dolphin 2 will have to do considerably better, and also do big business in home viewing,  to have any hope of success.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney), in its 8th weekend, had the best hold in the Top 10, dropping just 36% to $5.2M, and also earning $5.2M overseas.  It’s at $313.7M domestically and $632.3M worldwide, with its China opening finally coming in less than 3 weeks.  LET’S BE COPS (20th) is also holding well, down 39% to $2.7M and $77.2M in the US so far, plus $25M overseas, where it still has the majority of the world to come.

THE DROP (Fox Searchlight) slumped badly in its 2d weekend, losing 50% of last week’s take to $2.1M despite increasing its theatre count by nearly 50%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Audiences aren’t sparking particularly to anything at the moment.  HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS (Relativity) managed an unimpressive $11.5K average at 4 NY/LA theatres, which was way ahead of the $5400 average for the much better TRACKS (Weinstein), also at 4 theatres on the coasts.  THE GUEST (Picturehouse), at 19 theatres, had a $4300 average.

MY OLD LADY (Cohen Media) expanded to 170 theatres with an OK $2900 average.  THE SKELETON TWINS (Roadside) broadened to 49 with a $9K average.  THE TRIP TO ITALY (IFC) is now at 200 theatres, and its $1500 average is better than it looks, because it’s also been available on VOD for weeks. LOVE IS STRANGE (Sony Classics) upped its theatres by 10% to 112 and fell 32% for the weekend, with a $2100 average.  THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY (Weinstein) widened to 136 with only a $1250 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."