Box Office: Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Lucy’ Scores $44M this Weekend and Ranks First!

Not to be outdone, Dwayne Johnson‘s Hercules opens to a respectable $29 million to place second in the weekend rankings.

The two big new releases, Scarlett Johansson‘s Lucy and Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules are both hits this weekend. This is also yet another example of why the obsession over rank is foolhardy. Yes, Universal’s sci-fi actioner easily topped the box office this weekend with a superb debut, but Paramount and MGM’s fantasy actioner is performed much better than I expected.

First off, Universal’s Lucy, which cost EuropaCorp around $40 million to produce, debuted with a whopping $44.025 million over the weekend, giving it a solid 2.57x weekend multiplier off a $17.1m opening day (and $2.8m worth of Thursday grosses).  This is a huge win for Scarlett Johansson. Coming off her Black Widow roles in the Marvel universe and her acclaimed art house triumph in Under the Skin, this should be her first $100m domestic hit outside of the Marvel universe while trouncing her biggest non-Marvel opening (He’s Just Not That Into You, an ensemble film, with a $27m debut and $93m final gross).

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This will easily be Luc Besson‘s biggest directorial box office hit, as it will pass the $63 million domestic gross of The Fifth Element by the middle of next weekend and should play like gangbusters overseas (The Fifth Element‘s $263m worldwide gross shouldn’t be a problem). It’s already his second biggest domestic grosser ever, topping the $36m gross of The Family from last year. Among films that the prolific French genre filmmaker has produced, the goalpost is the $145m domestic gross of Taken and the $363m global gross of Taken 2, both of which are possible without being explicitly plausible. The opening is Besson’s second-biggest as a producer or director, coming in just below the $48m debut of Taken 2. But pretty much any film Besson produced or directed aside from the Taken series and possibly The Fifth Element is going to be left in the dust.

The R-rated picture played 50% female and 65% over-25 years old. It played 35% Caucasian, 29% Hispanic, 19% African American, 12% Asian, and 5% “other.” It also played 12% on PLF screens. I’ll say this again and again, but the story of the summer box office should darn-well be the breakout success of female-skewing genre properties. This is a clear example of where a known but not explicitly box office “star” was pared with a simple but attractive concept (watch that female star you know get superpowers and kick butt) and the results show accordingly. I don’t know if the blatantly misleading marketing will hurt the film over the long run, but it certainly got audiences into the theater this weekend.

As the San Diego Comic Con panel ends this weekend with no major new female-centric superhero films from the DC/Marvel slate, it is worth noting that there are few (if any) male stars currently headlining the male-centric superhero films who could have pulled off an “all by myself” opening of this nature.

Despite doom-saying box office pundits who needed a catchy headline as a gateway into writing about something else, Hercules will not be the summer’s first box office flop. I’m happy to be wrong, as the summer’s “no studio mega-flops” streak continues into August. Despite terrible buzz, some misleading and relatively uninspiring marketing, and the film itself mostly being hidden from domestic press until the last minute, Brett Ratner’s Hercules scored a solid $29 million over its debut weekend, including $4m on IMAX. That’s about where Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow ended up on its debut weekend, but that film cost $175m while the Dwayne Johnson fantasy action-adventure film cost $100m to produce. Budgets matter, folks. It’s why 300: Rise of an Empire (budgeted at $110m) is a big hit at $330m worldwide while Edge of Tomorrow is struggling at $360m worldwide.

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This is easily Dwayne Johnson’s biggest “all by myself” debut weekend since his breakout in The Scorpion King ($36m) back in 2002, which had the bonus of being a Mummy Returns spin-off. Considering how uninspiring the film looked, again the film’s marketing campaign sold something the movie wasn’t, this is a case where star+concept (See The Rock as Hercules!) was enough to overcome the utter lack of anything else to entice moviegoers. The irony is that the picture was much better than anyone expected. As such, we’re seeing tons of “It’s actually pretty darn good!” reviews dropping over the weekend and it stands to reason that audiences will be surprised too. This one may just hang in there past opening weekend.

The one-two-three punch of Guardians of the GalaxyTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Expendables 3 is going to hurt, but Hercules stands a solid chance of being the second-choice consensus pick over the next month. It’s an old-school popcorn entertainment that should get positive word-of-mouth from Dwayne Johnson fans and action junkies. I still think Paramount made a mistake in hiding the film from critics, especially as said decision was arguably more about hiding their false advertising (the film isn’t remotely about Hercules fighting supernatural monsters while avenging his murdered family) than the film’s quality.

But the film didn’t go down in flames as some expected and may well be a big hit depending on how well it plays overseas. $100 million domestic is a possibility and numbers similar to Edge of Tomorrow or even 300: Rise of an Empire are quite plausible. In America, it played 58% male and 64% over-25 years old. It also made $28.7 million from nineteen international markets, including $12m in Russia, as the start of its overseas roll-out, giving the film a $57m worldwide bow. Again, this is just one weekend’s gross we’re talking about here, but perception matters right from the get-go. Dwayne Johnson’sHercules is no flop and I’m happy to be wrong on this one. It’s also a pretty good movie, and I’m even happier to be wrong on that score.

The other wide release, from Clarius Entertainment, is the Rob Reiner-directed comedy So It Goes. The Michael Douglas/Diane Keaton picture was obviously intended to be counter-programming for older audiences, but audience awareness was almost non-existent. So cue a rather terrible $4.55 million weekend gross on 1,762 screens. Blame the light marketing, which didn’t really sell the premise (Douglas being forced to care for a granddaughter and roping Keaton into the mix) and just-plain didn’t make its existence known. There really is a marketing difference when you compare smaller distributors to the major studios. But heck, even CBS Films was able to get Last Vegas to a $16m opening weekend last November and to a whopping $63m domestic gross.

Open Road Film’s The Fluffy Movie (a stand-up concert film featuring Gabriel Iglesias) debuted with $1.31 million on 432 screens. Alas…  A Most Wanted Man received a surprisingly wide release, as the Roadside Attractions spy thriller earned $2.7m on 361 theaters ($7,527 per-screen). Obviously the hook is that it’s the last starring role for the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight (starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone as his daughter… er, I mean love interest*) opened on 17 screens from Sony Pictures Classics and grossed $425,720 for the weekend for a solid $25,042 per-screen average.

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In holdover news, IFC expanded Boyhood to 107 theaters this weekend and earned around $1.6m weekend. The acclaimed Richard Linklater drama has earned $4m domestic. 20th Century Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes earned $16.4 million (-55%) on its third weekend, for a $172m domestic cume. It’s legs are starting to fall under its predecessor (which earned $16.1m on its third weekend for a 42% drop), but the $170m sequel will pass the $176m total of Rise of the Planet of the Apes in a couple days and will probably cross $200m probably the weekend after next.

The Dark Knight Rises Sets Box Office Record

It was (understandably) lost amidst the James Holmes shooting and the tragic loss of 12 lives, but The Dark Knight Rises fared very well at the box office this weekend.

With reports delayed a couple days out of respect for the victims, sources now say the third installment in this Christopher Nolan trilogy earned $160.9 million from Friday to Sunday, making it the third-biggest opening ever and the top-ranked debut weekend for a film show strictly in 2-D.

In related movie news, the opening day haul of $75.8 million, bolstered by impressive advance-ticket sellouts, marked the third-largest in Hollywood history.

Of course, it’s impossible to know just what heights The Dark Knight Rises would have reached if not for the massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

“The family demographic possibly stayed away from The Dark Knight Rises, and they stayed away from films in general, and that’s not a surprise given what happened,”  Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock told E!.

‘Madagascar 3’ Powers Past ‘Prometheus’ With $60.3M at Box Office!

Family audiences turned out in droves for “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” pushing the DreamWorks Animation CGI sequel to a better-than-expected $60.3 million weekend at the U.S. box office.

Big turnouts on Saturday and Sunday pushed it past Fox and Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” which had led after taking in $21.4 million Friday, and went on to an impressive $50 million for the weekend.

“Madagascar 3” also hauled in $75.5 million from 28 overseas territories in its first weekend — including an eye-popping $16.5 million from Russia — making it the weekend’s No. 1 film worldwide. It added $11 million from Brazil and $10.5 million from China.

With no real family film in the U.S. marketplace since April, “Madagascar 3′ plainly filled a box-office void. Both movies delivered on the high end of expectations, particularly the R-rated “Prometheus,” in a busy weekend at the cineplexes.

“Madagascar 3” turned in the biggest debut weekend in the franchise history, and the best opening for DreamWorks Animationsince “Shrek 4” bowed to $70 million in 2008.

“The release date worked great for us,” DWA’s chief marketing office Ann Globe told TheWrap Sunday, “particularly for parents.”

“Madagascar 3” was a hit with audiences, which were 56 percent female and 54 percent under 25. They gave it an “A” CinemaScore. It’s been nearly four years since the last “Madagascar” film and the numbers suggest it not only connected with earlier fans but made some new ones.

Top 5 US Box Office :

  1. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted 

  2. Prometheus

  3. Snow White and the Huntsman

  4. Men in Black 3

  5. The Avengers 

Top 5 Lebanese Box Office : 

  1. Snow White And The Huntsman

  2. Men In Black 3 In 3D

  3. What To Expect When You’re Expecting

  4. The Avengers 3D

  5. A Few Best Men

Box Office Shocker: ‘Avengers’ Opens to Record-Shattering $200.3 Million !

The Avengers has set a new bar in opening to a walloping $200.3 million at the domestic box office, the largest debut ever and kicking off summer 2012 in high style.

The 3D tentpole — marking a major victory for Disney and Marvel Studios — easily dethroned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which opened to $169.2 million last summer, then the largest number in history.

Avengers opened a week ago overseas, earning a whopping $441.5 million through Sunday. The pic’s worldwide total of $641.8 million has already surpassed the lifetime totals of Captain America: The First Avenger ($364 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man ($585 million) and Iron Man 2 ($624 million).

Avengers is now positioned to reach $1 billion in global grosses.

Among other records, Avengers is the first film in history to cross $200 million in only three days of play at the domestic box office. It also scored the biggest Saturday gross of all time in earning $69.7 million.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend on every single front,” Disney executive vice president of distributionDave Hollis said.

Hollis said the slim 13 percent drop from Friday to Saturday reflects great word of mouth, as well as the fact that all segments of the audience are turning out, including families. Roughly 52 percent saw it in 3D.

Domestic box office, April May 4-6

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Avengers, 1/4,349, Disney/Marvel Studios, $200.3 million.

2. Think Like a Man, 3/2,011, Sony, $8 million, $73 million.

3. The Hunger Games, 7/2,794, Lionsgate, $5.7 million, $380.7 million.

4. The Lucky One, 3/3,005, Warner Bros., $5.5 million, $40 million.

5. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 2/3,358, Sony/Aardman, $5.4 million, $18.6 million.

6. The Five-Year Engagement, Universal, 2/2,941, $5.1 million, $19.3 million.

7. The Raven, 2/2,209, Relativity/Intrepid, $2.5 million, $12 million.

8. Safe, 2/2,271, Lionsgate/IM Global, $2.5 million, $12.9 million

9. Chimpanzee, 3/1,531, Disney, $2.4 million, $23 million.

10. The Three Stooges, 4/2,174, $1.8 million, $39.6 million.

‘Avengers’ starting season with a bang ! Lebanese & US Box Office

“The Avengers,” a superhero movie mash-up of Marvel comics characters, flexed its muscles in U.S. and Canadian midnight screenings on Friday, earning $18.7 million and starting Hollywood’s summer season with a bang.

The movie, from Walt Disney Co. unit Marvel Studios, staked its claim to the second-highest midnight debut for a non-sequel film, coming in about $1 million shy of the March 2012 total for “The Hunger Games” at $19.74 million, according to industry tracker Hollywood.com.

“Avengers,” in which Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Black Widow, among others, ban together to combat evil on earth, landed at No. 8 on the list of all-time best midnight openings behind several “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” franchise films. The best midnight debut belongs to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” the final movie in that series that conjured up $43.5 million in its midnight debut last year.

“The Avengers” debut kicks off four months of movie going filled with effects-laden flicks, adventure, science-fiction, comedy and big-name Hollywood stars meant to lure mostly younger audiences that are out of school for the summer. The season can bring in as much as 40 percent of annual movie ticket sales in the United States and Canada. Already, “Avengers” has leveraged its superhero status to a massive box office in international markets after just nine days in theaters. As of Friday morning, ticket sales reached $304 million, Disney said, surpassing total overseas receipts for “Captain America,” the first “Iron Man” and “Thor.”

That strong international demand has helped boost forecasts for opening weekend U.S. and Canadian sales. The movie could challenge this year’s debut weekend record of $152.5 million set by teen survival drama “Hunger Games,” box office analysts said. The international fervor has “created a lot of excitement on this side of the pond. That’s increased my expectations” for the domestic opening, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com, who predicts domestic (U.S. and Canadian) ticket sales of $150 million-plus from Friday through Sunday.

Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com, thinks “Avengers” has a shot at breaking the all-time opening record set by last summer’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” with $169.2 million. Higher-priced 3D tickets will help lift the total, he said. “I think this is a movie people will seek out in 3D,” said Contrino. He is forecasting a domestic debut of around $170 million.

US Box Office :

  1. Think Like a Man
  2. The Pirates! Bands of Misfits
  3. The Hunger Games
  4. The Lucky One
  5. The Five Year Engagement

Lebanese Box Office : 

  1. The Avengers 3D
  2. Tannoura Maxi
  3. The Lucky one
  4. 21 Jump Street
  5. 33 Days