July 4, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Terminator” Battery Low, “Magic Mike” Soft As Holdovers Rule


With July 4th falling on a Saturday for the 1st time since 2009, this was fated to be a slow holiday at the box office.  Nevertheless, the weekend’s openings were supposed to be able to overtake titles that have already been in the market for 3-4 weeks.  Based on preliminary numbers at Deadline, however, that’s not the way it’s playing out.

TERMINATOR: GENISYS (Skydance/Paramount) topped MAGIC MIKE XXL (Warners) on Friday with ease, $10.6M to $6.2M, and should take the 5-day weekend with about $42M compared to $30M ($27M vs $15M for the conventional Fri-Sun portion).  But that doesn’t mean Terminator will be the more profitable in the end, since it literally cost 10x as much to produce as Mike.  Terminator will struggle to get past $100M in the US, and with roughly $350M in production/marketing costs, it will require huge overperformance overseas just to break even–which it may get, since the franchise is in line with international tastes, and has already earned $28M in 2 days of early openings.  Still, it’s going to be hard-pressed to hit a number that will justify the further installments that the studio and producers had been planning. By way of comparison, Terminator: Rise of the Machines had a $72.4M 5-day opening over the 5-day July 4th weekend in 2003, and Terminator: Salvation earned $65.3M on its 5 day Memorial Day weekend in 2009–and both were considered franchise dead ends.

Magic Mike has one of the lowest production budgets of the summer, and even though it may only reach $60M in the US (compared to $113.8M for the original Mike), with little audience enthusiasm evident after the opening day crowd of fans, that could still be enough for some profit, especially since Matthew McConaughey is no longer part of the profit participation mix (and Steven Soderbergh reduced himself from director of the first movie to cinematographer/editor of this one).  As with Terminator, though, this isn’t a hopeful sign for an ongoing franchise.

The faltering newcomers allowed blockbusters JURASSIC WORLD (Legendary/Universal) and INSIDE OUT (Pixar/Disney) to take control of another weekend.  The two were in a virtual tie on Friday, with Inside reported at $11.8M and Jurassic as $11.7M.  Jurassic has been pulling these close weekends out so far, and may do so again, but both should be at $28-30M for the 3-day weekend, which will put the dinosaurs at around $557M by Sunday (the 4th highest grosser in US history, only $66M behind the original Avengers), and Inside Out at around $240M, heading for a $300+ total which would put it behind only Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo in Pixar’s roster.

TED 2 (MRC/Universal) utterly collapsed in its 2d weekend, down 66% from last Friday to $4.5M and heading for a $11M weekend.  It probably won’t get past $80M in the US, embarrassingly below the first Ted‘s $218.8M total.  MAX (MGM/Warners) held much better, down 45% from last Friday to $2.8M, with a $6.5M weekend ahead that would put it at $25M, and the possibility of reaching $40M, not at all bad for an under the radar release.

The only other holdover doing any significant business was SPY (20th), down just 9% from last Friday to $1.9M.  It should have a $4.5M weekend that will put it in shouting distance of $100M in the US, and considering its overseas strength ($106M so far), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a sequel.

Sundance sensations ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL (Fox Searchlight) and DOPE (Open Road) are both failing to reach mainstream audiences.  Me and Earl more than doubled its run to 870 theatres and is heading for an unexciting $1.5M weekend, with little likelihood of getting much beyond $10M.  Dope lost more than half its theatres and may not earn $1M for the weekend in the remaining 863, with a $20M total still far off.

The documentary AMY (A24) had a very fine start at 5 NY/LA theatres, with a $35K weekend per-theatre average likely, especially with some director Q&As scheduled for Sunday.  JIMMY’S HALL (Sony Classics) is starting much more quietly, with a $4K weekend average in store at 3 arthouses.


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."