July 20, 2014

Behind the Weekend US/Worldwide Box Office – 7/20/14


Strong holds by Dawn of the Planet Of the Apes and some longer-running titles made this weekend look less terrible than it was.

OPENINGS:  THE PURGE: ANARCHY (Universal) topped the newcomers with $28.4M, but that was 17% below the $34.1M opening weekend for last year’s Purge.  While Purge 2 will turn a profit, it had higher production and marketing expenses this time around, which will cut heavily into the margin.  The first Purge made more than 50% of its total US box office in its first 3 days, and with 2 new action movies opening next week (Hercules and Lucy), the same will likely happen this time.  Anarchy also had a very limited overseas opening this weekend in 14 markets, earning $420K.

PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE (Disney) opened with $18M, which was similarly down 19% from the $22.3M start for last year’s Planes.  However, like Planes, Fire & Rescue has very little family movie competition for the rest of the summer, and it may end up with the same 4x multiple, which in this case would give it $72M in the US.  That wouldn’t be enough to make it profitable on production/marketing costs of $150-200M, so international (as well as merchandising) will be far more important (Planes made 59% of its worldwide revenue outside the US).  The sequel is off to a modest start overseas with $9M in 24 territories.

SEX TAPE (Columbia/Sony) was a movie that audiences simply didn’t want to see, with a lousy $15M weekend–less than half of the $31.6M opening for Bad Teacher, which featured largely the same creative team.  It’s rolling out slowly overseas, with $3M in 9 markets. Sex Tape is mostly valuable as another demonstration of how little “stars” mean at the contemporary box office, with its woeful ticket sales following not just Bad Teacher but the $24.8M opening for The Other Woman just a few months ago.  Audiences don’t line up for a “Cameron Diaz movie,” they buy tickets for a movie they want to see that happens to star Cameron Diaz–when they find one.

HOLDOVERS:  The strong word-of-mouth expected for DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) kicked in on Saturday, and the movie held extremely well for a blockbuster, down 50% to $36M.  It will top $200M in the US  (unless Guardians of the Galaxy extinguishes it prematurely), and could get to the $220-230M level of X-Men: Days of Future Past and Maleficent.  Overseas, Dawn spread into some of the World Cup territories now that the tournament is over, and earned $61M in 49 markets.  It’s at $102M overseas with plenty of additional territories still to open, and aiming to outdo the $305M that Rise of the Planet of the Apes made 3 years ago.

Say what one will about Michael Bay and TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount), but they continue to be overseas phenomena.  In the US, Age fell a very reasonable 39%, but it’s already at the tail end of its run with a $10M weekend, unlike to get higher than $250M, which will put it $100M below Transformers 3 (although still the summer’s #1 movie, pending the arrival of Guardians).  But internationally, where it’s now expanding into World Cup territories, it had a huge $81M, for a current total of $659M–with some important markets like Japan still to open.  The worldwide total is at $886M, and Age will not only go over $1B globally, but has a real chance of beating Transformers 3 and its $1.1B as the highest-grossing entry in the franchise.

TAMMY (Warners) held well, with a 39% drop to $7.6M, as it continues heading toward $85M.  22 JUMP STREET (Columbia/Sony) slipped just 28% to $4.7M in its 6th weekend for a $181M total, and it’s also at $88M overseas.  HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (DreamWorks Animation/Disney) weathered the arrival of Planes 2 without much trouble, falling 37% to $3.8M.  However, it’s only going to reach $170M in the US, $47M below the first Dragon, and the sequel is currently at $226M overseas after a $14M weekend, seemingly unlikely to match the $277M international total for the first movie.  MALEFICENT (Disney) has been one of the summer’s steadiest hits, and it slipped a mere 21% to $3.3M in the US (total:  $228.4M), and earned another $8M overseas (total:  $469M).

BEGIN AGAIN (Weinstein) increased its theatre count by more than 30% but still fell 2% from last weekend to $2.8M.  CHEF (Open Road), however, dropped just 10% in its 11th weekend.  It’s now near $26M, and could get to $30M if it can hold onto its theatres.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BOYHOOD (IFC) triumphed in its first expansion, widening to 33 theatres with a terrific $36K per-theatre average.  The new openings were less impressive, as WISH I WAS HERE (Focus/Universal) had an OK $7300 average at 68, and although its $7200 average was similar, I ORIGINS (Fox Searchlight) was much weaker because it’s only at 4 NY/LA 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."