April 20, 2014

Behind the Weekend Box Office – 4/20/14


OPENINGS:  THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony) won’t arrive in the US for almost 2 weeks, and so far it’s in only 14 international markets–and it was still the biggest story of the weekend, pulling in $47M in those territories, which included portions of Europe as well as Australia and Mexico.  Amazing 2 is following a different release pattern than its predecessor, which opened in a several Asian markets and Germany to start and earned $51.1M.  For now, Sony is staying away from a comparison with the first Amazing, instead pushing the spin that the new spectacle is 30% ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in its territories–but those movies aren’t apples-to-apples.  One point to keep in mind: Amazing 2 cost much more than the first in its series (in the neighborhood of $425M with worldwide marketing costs included), and that extra spend was meant to boost the franchise into the mega-land of Iron Man, if not The Avengers.  So merely matching or slightly beating the $752M worldwide box office of the first Amazing would be something of a disappointment.  Amazing 2 adds 21 more territories next weekend.

Back in the US, nothing was nearly as exciting.  HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (TriStar/Sony) is a tidy hit considering its low costs, with $21.5M for the weekend and $28.5M since Wednesday.  It should end up in the same $60M-ish territory of the recent Son of God and God’s Not Dead.

TRANSCENDENCE (Warners) made slightly more in China ($11.4M) than it did here ($11.2M), but that was in spite of a full-court press for the Chinese market (special 3D release, Johnny Depp promotional tour), and won’t even come close to bringing the $225M (including worldwide marketing) sci-fi adventure anywhere near breaking even–and its $6M in 26 other international territories this weekend was even worse.  It seems certain to be an expensive loser everywhere it plays.

A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 (Open Road) had a $9.1M weekend, half the $18.1M start of the first Haunted House.  That picture ended up with $40M in the US and $60M worldwide, so you do the math.

BEARS (Disney) made a pit stop on its way to video with a $4.8M weekend, well below the starts for Chimpanzee ($10.7M), African Cats ($6M) and Oceans ($6.1M).  and unlikely even to earn back its marketing costs.

HOLDOVERS:  CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Disney/Marvel) dropped just 36% in its 3rd US weekend to $26.6M, a better hold by far than the 3rd weekends for the first Captain (49%), The Avengers (46%), Iron Man 3 (51%) or Thor 2 (61%)–and even better than the original Iron Man (38%). Captain 2 is already at $201.5M in the US and could reach $250M, and it has $385M overseas after a $35.3M weekend.  It will pass $650M worldwide, and might even reach $700M.

RIO 2 (20th/Blue Sky) had a decent hold, down 43% to $22.5M in the US for a $75.4M total so far.  It’s doing better overseas, with $47.3M this weekend, but still may not reach the $484.6M worldwide total of the first Rio–although animation-happy Japan is still to come.

DIVERGENT (Summit/Lionsgate) continues to be strong in the US (down 22% for a $5.8M weekend and $133.9M total) but flat overseas, where it made $18.1M this weekend for a $75.3M total, with only 2 more major territories (Japan and Spain) to open.  It probably won’t reach $300M worldwide, making it a success but not a mega-franchise.

Last weekend’s openings didn’t show much stamina, as DRAFT DAY (Summit/Lionsgate) fell 40% to $5.9M ($19.5M total) and OCULUS (Relativity) dropped 57% to $5.2M ($21.2M total).  Both are headed for around $30M in the US.

NOAH (Paramount/Regency) led the longer runs with a 34% decline to $5M, giving it $93.3M in the US, plus $197.4M overseas after a $21.6M weekend.  It should get to $350M worldwide, not a giant amount above its $275M production/marketing costs, but a win considering how risky the project was.  GOD’S NOT DEAD (Freestyle) thrived despite the arrival of Heaven Is For Real, down just 13% on Easter weekend to $4.8M and a $48.3M US total.  THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) slipped only 16% to $3.4M and a $45M total in the US, with a real chance of becoming Wes Anderson’s biggest US hit and moving past The Royal Tenembaums and its $52.4M.  (It’s already by far his biggest hit overseas with $73.9M.)  FROZEN (Disney) is now the biggest-ever animated movie internationally with $729.3M, as well as the biggest worldwide with $1.129B.  (It’s still in 4th place in the US, behind Shrek 2, The Lion King and Toy Story 3.)

LIMITED RELEASE:  FADING GIGOLO (Millenium) got off to a very nice start at 5 NY/LA theatres with a $40K average.  There were a few OK expansions, as UNDER THE SKIN (A24) widened to 176 theatres with a $2600 average, THE LUNCHBOX (Sony Classics) went to 158 theatres with a $2500 average, THE RAILWAY MAN (Weinstein) grew to 26 stations with a $6800 average, and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Sony Classics) spread to 18 with a $7500 average.  DOM HEMINGWAY (Fox Searchlight), though, is DOA with a $1100 average at 129.

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."