August 9, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Turtles” Conquer “Guardians”


There was general glee last weekend when Guardians of the Galaxy overperformed to a record-breaking degree, proving that audiences could appreciate a blockbuster that was a cut above the rest.  The rejoicing is likely to be more muted this weekend, as the surprise smash this time is the latest incarnation of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Paramount), which according to preliminary numbers at Deadline and elsewhere is headed to a Friday as high as $24M (including $4.7M from Thursday night shows).  Even if the movie turns out to be a one-day curiosity, that should get it to $55M+ for the weekend, and a $60M total is definitely possible.  The Turtles didn’t come cheap, with production/marketing costs that will near $300M, but assuming overseas appeal, this start should assure a future for yet another fantasy CG franchise.

The success of Turtles didn’t damage GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) too badly.  It had a $12M Friday, down about 68% from last week’s opening day.  That sounds awful, but actually it’s as good or better than all of the year’s other tentpoles on their second Fridays.  The weekend-to-weekend drop will be considerably lower (because last “Friday” included $11.7M from Thursday night), probably around 55% to $42.5M.  By Sunday it should be at $175M, at a neck-and-neck pace with Transformers:  Age of Extinction in the race for #1 movie of 2014.

The weekend’s other openings were at a steep drop from TurtlesINTO THE STORM (Warners) had a $6M Friday for a probable $15-16M weekend, much of its CG appeal swallowed up by the hard-shelled competition.  It’s going to need broad overseas success to break even, despite a moderate production budget.  THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (DreamWorks/Disney) opened with $3.5M and will hope to get to $10-11M for the weekend and then have a lengthy run fueled by older audiences, but it’s nowhere near the $20M weekend pace of the foodie hit Julie & Julia, which climbed all the way to $94.1M in the US.  STEP UP: ALL-IN (Summit/Lionsgate) was even worse at $2.5M on Friday, heading for a $6M weekend, by far the lowest of the franchise.  (The current low is $11.7M for Step Up:  Revolution.)  However, the series has strong international appeal, and the new installment has already made $26.2M overseas.

LUCY (Universal) led the rest of the holdovers, down about 50% from last Friday to $2.75M, and headed for a $9M weekend that will take it to $97M, with a final US total of $110-115M ahead.  GET ON UP (Universal) didn’t get any of that 2d week boost from older audiences that it desperately needed, down two-thirds from last Friday to $1.6M and on its way to a $5M weekend, a US total that may not hit $40M, and near-zero likelihood for foreign success.  HERCULES (Paramount) ran out of steam fast, down another 63% from last Friday to $1.2M, and possibly not even reaching $70M in the US on $250M in total production/marketing 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."