April 19, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Heaven Is For Real” Transcends “Transcendence”


In an appropriately biblical development for this Easter weekend, it appears from preliminary numbers at Deadline that David will defeat Goliath, and the $12M-budgeted HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (TriStar/Sony) will handily outgross the $100M+ TRANSCENDENCE (Warners).  On Friday, Heaven pulled in a reported $8M (on top of $7M from Wednesday and Thursday), and although Easter Sunday may dent its particular audience base, it should still reach $20M for the weekend, giving it a $27M total.  Transcendence only managed $5M on Friday (which includes $850K from Thursday night), and it may struggle to get beyond $12.5M by Sunday.  Heaven had somewhat larger marketing costs than the usual indie faith-based movie, but is nevertheless headed for healthy profit, while Transcendence will need tremendous overseas success just to break even.  In fact, Transcendence is barely ahead of the cheapie D-level comedy A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 (Open Road), which had a $4M Friday on its way to a $9-10M weekend.  The weekend’s other opener, BEARS (Disney), lags behind with $2.5M on Friday and a $5-6M weekend–at this point, the Disney Earth documentaries are more PSAs than profitable enterprises.

None of the new openings, however, will win the weekend.  For the third week in a row, bragging rights are likely to belong to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Disney), down just 20% from last Friday to a superb $10M, and headed for $25M+ for the weekend, which would be down a mere 38% from last week.  That would compare to a 51% drop for the third weekend of Iron Man 3, and a 61% drop for Thor 2–and even a 46% fall for Weekend 3 of The Avengers–and indicates fantastic word of mouth.  Captain 2 could get to $250M in the US, which would be a whopping 40% higher than the first Captain.  (By comparison, Thor 2 was 14% ahead of the first Thor, and Iron Man 3 was 31% above its pre-Avengers predecessor.)

Also holding well is RIO 2 (20th), down a bit over 20% from its opening day to a Friday close to $10M, with a $24M weekend ahead (some of its family audience will also be otherwise engaged on Sunday).  It’s headed for a decent but unexceptional $125M in the US, 10% behind the original Rio.)

As for last weekend’s other openings, DRAFT DAY (Summit/Lionsgate) held well, down 33% from last Friday to a still-low $2.3M and a $6.5M weekend.  It might reach a $35M total.  OCULUS (Relativity), in the way of most low-budget horror movies, fell 60% from its opening day to $2M, with perhaps a $5M weekend and $30M total.

Thanks to spring break and Good Friday, DIVERGENT (Summit/Lionsgate) had a very strong day, steady with last Friday at $2.3M and headed for a $6M weekend.  It might still get to $150M in the US.  Despite the addition of Heaven Is For Real to the market, GOD’S NOT DEAD (Freestyle) was also dead even with last Friday at $1.6M, and although Easter will also affect its Sunday results, it should be close to $5M for the weekend, on its way to perhaps $60M on its very low costs.

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."