October 12, 2014

Behind the Weekend US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/12/14


Despite the new competition flooding in from all sides, GONE GIRL held on beautifully for its second consecutive weekend win.

OPENINGS:  DRACULA UNTOLD (Legendary/Universal) earned $23.5M in the US, a fair result.  Dracula plays as much as an action movie in the 300 genre as a horror thriller, which may explain its 2% Saturday drop, unusually good for the horror realm.  But its more important sign of undeath was the $33.9M it took in overseas, in 42 international territories.  Dracula has $62.6M overseas with last week’s results included, and quite a few markets still to open, heading for perhaps $250M+ worldwide.  Based on the studio-supplied production/marketing cost estimates, that would be enough to make it profitable.

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Disney) rode its family audience (a 52% Saturday bump) to $19.1M for the weekend, and it should benefit most from the Columbus Day holiday tomorrow, which affects schools more than businesses.  A lot of its ultimate level of profit will depend on the details of Disney’s deal with Steve Carell, but the production budget was moderate and marketing was focused, which suggests that it should be a reasonable if not enormous money-maker.  Alexander does, however, face direct competition from The Book of Life next weekend, so its good days may be numbered.  Overseas, Alexander is just getting started, but had a $2.8M weekend in 14 territories.

THE JUDGE (Warners) was the weekend’s bust at $13.3M, not even able to beat the same studio’s 2d weekend of Annabelle.  Largely lousy reviews (47% positive at Rotten Tomatoes, and even the favorable reviews were hardly raves) and the extraordinary strength of Gone Girl doomed this one, but it’s also a demonstration of how narrow Robert Downey Jr’s stardom is, even after half a dozen blockbuster franchise smashes.  Those mega-productions fuel Hollywood, but they’re creating an industry where the star system that thrived for decades is becoming increasingly less viable.  The Judge also tiptoed into foreign release with $1.6M from 7 territories.

ADDICTED (Lionsgate) opened in just 846 theatres, and did nicely with $7.6M for the weekend, with the highest per-theatre average in the Top 10.  The 5% Saturday drop puts some doubt on whether there’s any possibility for successful expansion, which may be the difference between breakeven for the low-cost proposition and genuine success.

HOLDOVERS:  GONE GIRL (20th) had an exceptional 2d weekend, down 29% to $26.8M in an era when a 50% drop in Weekend 2 is considered “good.”  The studio really couldn’t ask for more at this point, as Gone Girl is running ahead of the adult-aimed fall dramas of recent years like Argo, The Town, The Social Network, Prisoners and The Departed, and has a solid chance of passing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5M) as David Fincher’s biggest hit.  It might even become Ben Affleck’s top non-Michael Bay spectacle success, which would require it to pass Good Will Hunting ($138.4M) and Argo ($136M).  With the male-oriented Fury as next weekend’s biggest opening, Gone Girl will probably lose the #1 ranking, but should remain sturdy through the rest of October (Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar will take over the universe on November 7), fueling discussion and awards visibility.  Overseas, Gone Girl is at $63.3M after a $27M weekend in 52 territories, seemingly on track to at least match the $130.1M for Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo , although perhaps not the $200M+ of Benjamin Button and Se7en.

ANNABELLE (Warners) had a very reasonable hold for a horror movie, down 56% to $16.4M.  That wasn’t in a league with the 47% decline for Weekend 2 of The Conjuring, but it was significantly better than the the 66% drop for Insidious Chapter 2.  It’s headed for a very healthy $80-90M US total.  Internationally, it brought in $27M from 44 markets for $60.3M thus far.  Warners claims that’s slightly ahead of Conjuring‘s pace, and that wound up with $180.6M overseas.

THE EQUALIZER (Columbia/Sony) fell 48% for $9.7M and a $79.9M US total, still in range of $100M.  As is typical of Denzel Washington vehicles, it’s considerably slower overseas, now playing virtually worldwide with a total of $57.1M after a weekend at $11.5M.  THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) is still holding extremely well, down 36% in the US to $7.5M ($83.8M to date), and adding $13.7M in 62 overseas markets ($140M), with heavy-hitting territories like France, Germany, Japan and China still on the way.  THE BOXTROLLS (Laika/Focus/Universal) fell 44% to $6.7M and a $41M total.  It seems likely to end up much closer to Paranorman‘s $56M than Coraline‘s $75.3M.  Internationally, Boxtrolls is in 26 territories, and has $31.8M after a $3.6M weekend.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) finally arrived in China, its last international stop, and earned $26.6M over a somewhat odd weekend (Saturday was a working day because of a holiday earlier in the week).  That put it behind the year’s other super-hero extravaganzas like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($46.5M), X-Men: Days of Future Past ($39.4M), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($38.8M), although it remains to be seen if it will have a different pattern in the rest of its run.  In any case, Guardians (down 40% this weekend in the US for a $326.1M total) is now at $687M worldwide, and the only question is how much over $700M it will go, with this year’s blockbusters (aside from Transformers: Age of Extinction and its monstrous $1.1B) ranging from $699.2M for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to $757M for Maleficent.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Playing, as it were, to its choir, the documentary MEET THE MORMONS (Purdie) found $2.7M at 317 theatres.  That includes the distributor’s expectation of a massive 78% Sunday drop, because Mormons don’t see movies on Sundays, but also demonstrates the film’s limited appeal outside its specific target audience.  KILL THE MESSENGER (Focus/Universal) wished it could have had some of that Mormon audience, with a bleak $2500 average at 374 theatres.  Opening in much smaller runs, ST VINCENT (Weinstein) was fairly solid with a $30K average at 4 theatres in NY/LA, but WHIPLASH (Sony Classics) didn’t benefit from having extra seats available, averaging $24K at 6.  (Both films jump-started their weekend numbers with in-theatre celebrity Q&As.)  PRIDE (CBS) expanded to 97 theatres with an OK $2400 average, while MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN (Paramount) was less than OK with a $1600 average after an expansion to 28 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."