‘Ride Along 2’ #1, ‘Revenant’ Holds Strong and ‘Star Wars’ Crosses $1 Billion Internationally

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Ride Along 2 was unable to top its predecessor but an estimated $34 million is enough to top the weekend box office, followed closely by Fox’s The Revenant, which dropped only 26% in its second weekend in wide release. Both films finished ahead of domestic box office king Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which fell to third in its fifth weekend in release while becoming only the fifth film to ever cross a major international milestone.

Meanwhile Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi performed just slightly under expectations while Lionsgate’s animated pick-up Norm of the North exceeded our most pessimistic of expectations. A selection of this past Thursday’s Oscar nominees also added a few theaters, delivering results worth taking a look at.

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Starting at the top, 2014’s Ride Along debuted with a whopping $41.5 million over the three-day weekend and $48.6 million for what was a four-day, Martin Luther King weekend record. The action/comedy sequel, which sees stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube return, fell a bit short of the original with an estimated $34 million and what will likely end up being a $39 million four-day weekend. While this falls short of the first film, it’s still enough to challenge for a spot as one of the the top five all-time Martin Luther King weekend openings. It will need to put in a little work over the coming weekends, however, if it’s to top $100 million domestically as word of mouth might not be as strong for this one considering its “B+” CinemaScore compared to the first film’s “A”.

As was pointed out in the weekend preview, there are examples on both sides of the comedy sequel trend to support a big drop as well as big gains when compared to their predecessors. As it turns out, Ride Along 2 joins the likes of Think Like a Man Too, Horrible Bosses 2, Anchorman 2 and Ted 2 by falling short of the first film as well as our weekend predictions.

Coming in second is The Revenant, which lead the 2015 Oscar nominations with twelve and follows up its excellent wide release last weekend with an estimated $29.5 million this weekend. That’s a mere 25.9% drop, which is actually better than American Sniper’s impressive, 27.6% second weekend drop last year. Fox is predicting $35 million for the four-day holiday weekend, enough to become one of the all-time top ten Martin Luther King weekends. Add to that, the film brought in another $31.5 million internationally, bringing its worldwide cume to over $151 million.

Falling from the weekend top spot for the first time since its December 18 release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought in an estimated $25.1 million for the three-day weekend and is looking at $31 million for thefour-day as its domestic cume has now grown to $856.9 million. Meanwhile, it has become the fifth highest grossing release internationally and only the fifth film to bring in over $1 billion from overseas territories. It’s international cume has now grown to $1.012 billion, resulting in over $1.8 billion worldwide. It currently sits only $4.1 million shy of Jurassic World’s overseas gross and will soon top Furious 7’s $1.16 billion for third place on the list.

Landing in fourth position is another one of the weekend’s new wide releases, Michael Bay’s 13 Hours, which tallied an estimated $16 million for the three-day weekend with Paramount estimating $19 million for the four-day. This is Bay’s first film to gross less than $20 million in its first three days since The Island back in 2005. Budgeted at $50 million, it should push to end up grossing somewhere right around $45-50 million for its domestic run, perhaps lower than the $49.8 million Pain and Gain brought in back in 2013.

Lionsgate’s Norm of the North managed to perform a little better than expectations, which has to be a welcome result for the studio, which is on the hook only for the cost of distribution rights and it’s limited marketing spend. The film ended up grossing an estimated $6.6 million over the three-day and is estimated to finish around $8.8 million for the four-day weekend.

Looking over the list of Oscar nominees, The Big Short had the best hold in the top ten, dropping 15.8% this weekend, despite shedding 764 theaters. Playing in 1,765 theaters the five-time Oscar nominated film finished in eighth position with an estimated $5.2 million over the three-day weekend.

Brooklyn added 393 theaters and brought in $1.66 million for a 57.3% bump compared to last weekend. Right behind it was fellow Best Picture nominee, Spotlight, which expanded its reach by 617 theaters, playing in just shy of one thousand overall cinemas and bringing in an estimated $1.5 million. Additionally, A24’s Room brought in an estimated $700,000 from 293 theaters for a 504% bump, the weekend’s largest increase.

Paramount’s animated Oscar nominee, Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion animated feature Anomalisa added 20 theaters and is now playing in 37 theaters across the country where it grossed an estimated $290,000.

The weekend’s per theater winner was Sony Classics’ The Lady in the Van, which had a two theater Academy run in December, but is now considered officially released, pulling in an estimated $72,264 from four theaters for a $18,066 per theater average.

Next weekend sees the release of Sony’s sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave, which actually opened in some international territories this weekend and pulled in $8.2 million from over 1,900 screens. Additionally, the PG-13 horror The Boy from STX will hit theaters next weekend along with the Robert De Niro and Zac Efron comedy Dirty Grandpa, all of which will be playing in around 2,600-2,800 theaters.

You can check out the three-day estimated results from this weekend right here and we’ll be back tomorrow with a full list of estimated results for the four-day weekend.

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials tops Weekend Box Office!

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While the box office is still doing pretty decently for September, two of the weekend’s widest new releases didn’t fare as well as hoped and expected while a number of more moderate and limited releases took business away from both of them.

The sequel to last year’s $100 million young adult hit The Maze Runner, 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, reunited director Wes Ball with Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, as they were joined by the likes of Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Nathalie Emmanuel, Rosa Salazar and more for the adaptation of James Dashner’s second novel in the series.

It opened with $11 million on Friday including $1.4 million from Thursday previews, which in both cases was less than the opening for The Maze Runner a year ago this weekend, and according to Sunday estimates, it will end up with $30.3 million, which is less than the $32.5 million opening of its predecessor. While this might be surprising since The Maze Runner is one of the better received young adult adaptations (even though it didn’t quite achieve the numbers of The Twilight Saga or The Hunger Games), it’s also continuing the current trend that audiences just aren’t into sequels as much as they have been in the past. It also had a lot more competition for any potential male audience from a number of new releases mentioned below and its reviews and “B+” CinemaScore weren’t as strong as the original movie either.

The other big movie opening on Thursday night was Warner Bros.’ crime-drama Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as notorious Boston criminal “Whitey” Bulger. Directed by Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) and co-starring Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Rory Cochrane, Kevin Bacon and many more, it opened with an estimated $23.4 million in 3,188 theaters. That was below most expectations and projections for the weekend that thought it would open closer to $30 million and possibly give “The Scorch Trials” a run for the top spot, but it was still able to average $7,327 per theater. According to estimates, that’s still less than Ben Affleck’s Boston-based crime-thriller The Town opened with on the same weekend in 2010, but it received a respectable CinemaScore of “B” with 56% of its audience being male and 89% over the age of 26, according to exit polls, and it could sustain its business from opening weekend buzz despite having direct competition in the coming weeks.

Dropping to third place, M. Night Shyamalan’s low-budget horror flick The Visit took in $11.4 million in its second weekend, down 55% from its opening weekend as the highest-opening horror movie of 2015. It has grossed $42.4 million so far, which isn’t bad for a movie that was produced for $5 million with low-budget masters Blumhouse Productions.

Screen Gems’ thriller The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, also took a tumble in its second weekend, dropping 63% from its #1 opening to fourth place with $9.7 million and $41.4 million total to date.

Universal’s ensemble adventure-drama Everest, directed by Balthasar Kormakur (Contraband) and starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson and Keira Knightley, opened in 545 IMAX 3D and other large format theaters and had an estimated opening weekend of $7.6 million, a strong $13,736 per theater, to take fifth place, which bodes well for its nationwide expansion on Friday. $6 million of that amount was grossed in 366 North American IMAX theaters surpassing The Equalizer‘s September IMAX opening record of roughly half that amount.

Internationally, Everest opened in 36 territories and brought in $28.2 million on 4,690 screens as the #1 movie in 12 of those markets, including Australia, Argentina, India, Mexico and Kormakur’s home country of Iceland. Next week, it will add 22 more territories on top of its North American expansion.

The hit faith-based family drama War Room (Sony/TriStar) is now the 5th-highest grossing faith-based film with $49.2 million after adding another $6.3 million in 1,945 theaters. It dropped from third to sixth place despite having a negligible drop-off of 19% in its fourth weekend.

The rest of the Top 10 grossed less than $3 million, with Broad Green Pictures’ A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, taking seventh place, followed by Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Paramount Pictures) and Universal’s rap biopic Straight Outta Compton, holding onto its Top 10 spot as it became the highest-grossing film by a black director with $159 million, surpassing Keenen Ivory Wayans’ Scary Movie, which grossed $157 million in 2000.

Sony Pictures Classics expanded Paul Weitz’s Grandma, starring Lily Tomlin and Julia Garner, into a nationwide release of 1,021 theaters on Friday, and it ended up with $1.6 million or $1,557 per theater for the weekend, showing another weak expansion for the indie film subsidiary.

Paramount Pictures’ attempt to capitalize on the success of recent faith-based films backfired (maybe because that audience was well-sated by War Room), but they still released the drama Captive, starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara, into 806 theaters, where it grossed $1.4 million or just $1,737 per theater, which wasn’t enough to get into the Top 10.

Although The Scorch Trials opened lower than last year’s The Maze Runner, the box office was still up from this weekend last year as the Top 10 grossed an estimated $97 million, which was up roughly $7 million from the Top 10 last year.

Lionsgate decided to give Denis Villeneuve’s Mexican cartel crime-thriller Sicario, starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, a platform release ahead of its wide release on October 2, and it did quite well, grossing an estimated $390,000 in 6 theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That’s a location average of $65,000 per theater, which is probably one of the best per-theater averages this year.

As far as other limited releases, Alchemy’s Meet the Patels from Geeta and Ravi Patel opened in 34 theaters on Friday where it grossed $253,000, or $4,707 per theater. Bleecker Street’s release of Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire as chess master Bobby Fischer, co-starring Liev Schreiber, Peter Saarsgard and Michael Stuhlbarg, opened similarly in 33 theaters where it grossed slightly less with $207,000 but with a higher $6,269 per theater.

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‘San Andreas’ Shakes Up the Box Office!

The earthquake disaster movie easily took the top spot at the box office, grossing an estimated $53.2 million and surpassing expectations that had predicted an opening in the $40-million range. Dwayne Johnson stars as a rescue pilot who springs into action when the San Andreas fault line ruptures and sets off cataclysmic natural disasters across the country.

The movie’s opening gives Mr. Johnson, who first came to fame as professional wrestler “The Rock,” his best debut as a solo star. It is his second hit of the summer after “Furious 7.”

The performance of “San Andreas” shows he is a “four-quadrant, bigger-than-life movie star,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at the Time Warner Inc.-owned studio.

Warner Bros.’s New Line label joined with Village Roadshow Pictures on the movie, which cost about $110 million to make.

Given the movie’s graphic destruction of Los Angeles and San Francisco, some industry observers wondered if “San Andreas” would hit too close to home for California audiences who live in fear of “the big one.” But Mr. Fellman said those “naysayers” were proven wrong: 19 of the movie’s top 20 grossing theaters were on the West Coast.

International audiences have been particularly drawn to disaster movies in the past. Recent apocalyptic epics like “2012” and “Battle: Los Angeles” overperformed in overseas markets. “San Andreas” appears to be following suit, grossing $60 million overseas this weekend. So far, it has opened in 60 markets that typically account for about half the international box office.

The weekend’s other new wide release, “Aloha,” starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, barely got a chance to say hello. The Cameron Crowe movie from Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Entertainment opened in sixth place with a weak $10 million. Mr. Cooper stars as a defense contractor working on a weapons satellite program who falls for an Air Force pilot played by Ms. Stone.

“Aloha” fell behind a quartet of holdovers—“Pitch Perfect 2,” “Tomorrowland,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Of those four, “Tomorrowland” appears to be falling off the map fastest—the George Clooney fantasy from Walt Disney Co. fell 58% in its second week. “Aloha” has been hit with bad buzz since last year, when leaked emails from Sony executives showed some of the studio’s top brass criticizing the movie.

Neither “San Andreas” nor “Aloha” got much love from critics; the latter was hit with particularly scathing reviews. Audiences, however, gave “San Andreas” a strong “A-” grade, according to the market research firm CinemaScore. “Aloha” received a “B-.”

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Furious 7: A Record-Breaking Opening Weekend!

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The best ever debut in the Fast and the Furious franchise’s history.

As expected, Furious 7 absolutely dominated this weekend’s box office, smashing records as it raced off with an estimated $143.6 million domestic debut.

Globally, the James Wan-directed sequel — which was devastated by the death of lead actor Paul Walker during a break in production — made an additional $240.4 million for a worldwide total opening weekend of $384 million.

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Related Post: That Was the Lebanese Hyper-car “Lykan Hypersport” In The Fast And Furious 7 Trailer!

This makes Furious 7’s stunning debut a franchise-best openingweekend, the biggest April opening ever, the biggest Easter weekend opening ever, the second-largest pre-summer bow in history, and the biggest opening since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013. Furious 7 also received an A CinemaScore.

Here are the weekend estimates via Rentrak:

1. Furious 7 $143.6 million

2. Home $27.4 million

3. Get Hard $12.9 million

4. Cinderella $10.3 million

5. The Divergent Series: Insurgent $10 million

6. It Follows $2.5 million

7. Woman in Gold $2 million

8. Kingsman: The Secret Service $1.7 million

9. Do You Believe? $1.5 million

10. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel $1 million

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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.