May 31, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Maleficent” Soars, “A Million Ways” Perishes


MALEFICENT (Disney) performed as well as its Thursday night start suggested it might, at the high-end of expectations according to preliminary Friday numbers at Deadline and elsewhere.  The revisionist fairy tale surged to $24-25M on Friday (that includes the $4.1M from Thursday night), and should be headed for a weekend well north of $70M, depending on how big Saturday’s family matinee bump ends up being.  (Oz: The Great and Powerful had a $24.1M opening day and went to $79.1M for its weekend.)  Maleficent is hitting exactly the right mix of a genuine movie star with a role people wanted to see her play, something that happens less often than you’d imagine.

Also in line with its Thursday night performance–not so pleasantly–was A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (Universal), which is finding a new way to die throughout the country.  With just $7M on Friday (that includes around $900K from Thursday night), it probably won’t reach $20M for the weekend, not in a league with recent R-rated comedy hits like Neighbors ($19.6M/$49M) and Seth MacFarlane’s own Ted ($20.6M/54.4M).  As far as audiences are concerned, MacFarlane just isn’t a live-action leading man, especially not in a western (however comic), and he’ll just have to console himself with his hundreds and hundreds of millions in animation riches.

Second weekends for summer blockbusters aren’t pretty, and this week it was the turn of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (20th), which dropped close to 75% to $9M on its 2d Friday.  That number will steady over the course of the weekend, but X-Men is still likely to be down 65% by Sunday (the Sunday-to-Sunday drop will be ugly because of last weekend’s holiday), putting it around $31-32M.  That’s similar to other Memorial Day Weekend openers like X-Men: The Last Stand (-67%) and last year’s Fast & Furious 6 (-64%).  It’s likely to end up with around $200M in the US.

BLENDED (Warners) is holding better, although that’s partly because it had less room to drop.  Its Friday-to-Friday decline is around 45% to $2.5M, and it might make $8M for the weekend, still on track to $45-50M in the US.  NEIGHBORS (Universal), on its 4th Friday, had the same $2.5M result (down around 42%), and is hoping to reach $150M in the US before it’s done.

GODZILLA (Warners) continues to fall unusually swiftly, even for a CG spectacle.  It toppled another 65% from last Friday to $3M, for a $10-11M weekend, and now seems like it might not even reach $200M in the US.  So far, it’s been oddly subdued overseas as well, making its upcoming China and Japan openings the difference between a mild disappointment and a true hit.  THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Sony), at the tail end of its run, fell 45% to $1.1M on Friday and will also be pushing to reach $200M in the US, but it’s far healthier overseas (and only in part because it’s already reached China and Japan).

CHEF (Open Road) widened again, this time adding 25% more theatres for a total of 624, but still fell 20% from last Friday and probably won’t have a $3K per-theatre average for the weekend.

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."