July 26, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Lucy” Knocks Out “Hercules” For Weekend Title


The remarkably nutty LUCY (Universal)–more Transcendence than La Femme Nikita–connected with audiences in a big way on Friday, with $16-17M (including $2.75M from Thursday night) according to preliminary numbers at Deadline and elsewhere.  That makes it one of the biggest non-franchise action movies of the summer.  Although word of mouth is uncertain once ticket buyers get a load of how strange the story turns out to be, Lucy should hang on for a $40M+ weekend, equal to its production (although not marketing) cost–and with its Asian villains, it should be a cinch for big business in that part of the world as well.

The $100M budgeted HERCULES (Paramount/MGM) isn’t close to that, with $11M on Friday (including $2.1M from Thursday night) for a likely $28M weekend.  It’s yet another summer title that will be relying on overseas success just to hit breakeven.  However, the Dwayne Johnson/Brett Ratner version of the story is far more successful than last spring’s The Legend of Hercules, which earned only $8.9M in its entire opening weekend.

Rob Reiner’s AND SO IT GOES (Clarius), playing in half the number of theatres as the weekend’s other big openings, is underperforming even with that taken into account, with just $1.3M on Friday for a $4M weekend as it makes a brief stop on its way to home viewing.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th) went down a hefty 55% from last Friday to $4.75M, heading for a $17M weekend.  It’s likely to end its US run at about $200M.  Both THE PURGE: ANARCHY (Universal) and SEX TAPE (Columbia/Sony) plunged from last week’s openings, with Purge down 70% to $3.3M on Friday and a $10M weekend, and Sex Tape down 65% to $2M on Friday and a $6M weekend.  (By way of comparison, though, the original Purge had an ugly 82% Friday-to-Friday drop, while Bad Teacher‘s was similar to Sex Tape‘s at 63%.)   PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE (Disney) didn’t hold much better, down 61% from last Friday to $2.5M and a $8.5M weekend (the first Planes had a Friday-to-Friday drop of 55%).  TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (Paramount) is at the tail end of its run, down more than 50% from last Friday to $1.3M and heading for a $5M weekend.

In limited release, BOYHOOD (IFC) expanded quite well to 107 theatres for what should be a per-theatre weekend average of $15K (similar to Blue Jasmine‘s $20K average when it hit 119 theatres).  Thinking of Woody Allen, his MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) is on its way to a fair $22.5K weekend average at 17, more like To Rome With Love ($24K average at 29) than his bigger recent hits.  A MOST WANTED MAN (Lionsgate/Roadside) started OK at 361 theatres with a weekend $6K average likely.  The comedy concert film THE FLUFFY MOVIE (Open Road) may not reach a $3K average for the weekend at 432.

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."