Weekend Box Office (April 24 - 26, 2015)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND In its fourth and final frame taking pole position, the action juggernaut Furious 7 held onto the top spot vaulting into triple-century territory domestically and joining the elite billion-dollar club overseas. The Universal smash grossed an estimated $18.3M dropping only 37% during a weekend that saw very little competition come its way. Most holdovers in the top ten had small declines. Furious 7 became the first film to spend four straight weeks at number one since 2012's The Hunger Games.

Vin Diesel's action mega-hit has now grossed $320.5M putting it at number 36 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just ahead of the $319.1M of 2007's Transformers. Furious 7 is on course to challenge American Sniper by the end of its run, although Avengers: Age of Ultron has every intention of surpassing their domestic numbers in the weeks ahead as it launches here at 7:00pm this Thursday night.

Furious 7 now stands an incredible 46% ahead of where the last film Fast & Furious 6 was at the same point. Diesel and Universal announced days ago that an eighth pic in the lucrative franchise is in development and will open on April 14, 2017. This was not a shocker given that the first seven films have grossed $3.7 billion worldwide and counting with the best numbers coming from the most recent installments.

The international marketplace continues to shine for Furious 7 and the overseas cume topped $1 billion this weekend. Only two other films have ever done this in movie history - Titanic in 1998 and Avatar in 2010. This weekend's international gross was hit hard by Ultron's launch in much of the world and came in at $69.7M from 67 markets. The highlight was China which surged to an amazing $323M in only 15 days breaking the record for the highest-grossing film of all-time there. Transformers: Age of Extinction held that record since last summer. China also surpassed North America as the film's top-grossing market in the world.

Worldwide, Furious 7 ranks number five all-time behind James Cameron's dynamic duo, The Avengers, and the final Harry Potter. It will sail past Deathly Hallows Part 2 within days and will challenge the $1.52 billion of Avengers by the time its run ends. Of course, Ultron is also looking to crash that party soon hoping to reach similar territory this summer.

The lowbrow comedy sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 enjoyed a solid second weekend slipping only 35% to an estimated $15.5M thanks to the family crowd nearly doubling Saturday's gross over Friday. Sony's $30M production has banked a commendable $44M to date and could end up with $75-80M giving the studio a nice spring hit.

Blake Lively saw her new romantic drama The Age of Adaline enjoy a decent debut as the Lionsgate title opened in third place with an estimated $13.4M. The PG-13 drama averaged a respectable $4,472 from 2,991 locations and attracted mixed reviews from critics. Studio data showed that the decades-spanning saga about a woman who does not age played to an audience that was 75% female and 58% over 25. This is the quadrant least interested in the new Avengers movie so Adaline may play as counter-programming in the near term before female-driven comedies Hot Pursuit and Pitch Perfect 2 open in mid-May.

DreamWorks Animation was able to cross the $150M domestic threshold with its current hit comedy Home which eased just 22% in its fifth frame to an estimated $8.3M putting the cume at $153.8M. That keeps the Fox release even with what the toon studio's 2013 hit The Croods did at this same point in the run. The low-budget horror pic Unfriended collapsed by 61% in its sophomore showing to an estimated $6.2M and $25.2M overall. Universal should finish at $30-35M for this $1M-budgeted thriller.

Audiences across the country showed some interest in the artificial intelligence drama Ex Machina which expanded everywhere and grossed an estimated $5.4M. The A24 release averaged a so-so $4,335 from 1,255 locations putting the total at $6.9M for the well-reviewed sci-fi offering. It hopes to pull in those sold out of Ultron in the weeks ahead.

The Fox romance The Longest Ride dropped 38% to an estimated $4.4M for a $30.4M cume. Holding up very well in its fifth round was the comedy Get Hard with an estimated $3.9M, down just 21%, for a $84.1M sum for Warner Bros. heading to $90M+.

Disney's nature doc Monkey Kingdom followed with an estimated $3.6M, off 22%, and a $10.3M total. Helen Mirren rounded out the top ten with Woman in Gold which slipped 24% to an estimated $3.5M giving The Weinstein Co. $21.6M to date.

The final weekend of April is often used as a dumping ground for films that distributors have no faith in. This year was no different as a couple of new releases debuted to modest results but failed to make the top ten. The critically-panned World War II-era drama Little Boy bowed to an estimated $2.8M from 1,045 locations for a weak $2,708 average. Grosses tumbled after opening day for Open Road.

Warner Bros. gave Russell Crowe's The Water Diviner a moderate national launch in 320 locations (including 70 IMAX screens) and came up with just $1.3M, according to estimates, for a sluggish $3,906 average. The R-rated war drama, which the Oscar winner directed and starred in, earned mixed reviews and skewed very old.

One week ahead of its North American launch, the heavily hyped super hero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron rocked 44 international markets with its colossal opening of $201.2M easily making it the world's biggest movie this weekend. Leading the way were Korea with $28.2M, the U.K. with $27.3M, and Russia with $16.2M. 175 IMAX screens delivered $10.4M for a muscular $60,000 average.

Disney reported that the debut was 44% bigger than 2012's Avengers in the same territories when comparing local currencies. The U.S. dollar has strengthened over the past three years so the uptick in dollars was less. The first film also opened overseas one week before domestic and collected $185M from a more narrow 39 territories from a weaker dollar. Spain and Mexico open Ultron next weekend along with North America and will be followed by China (which is expected to be massive) on May 12 and Japan on July 4. Depending on how China plays out, Ultron may very well join Furious 7 in the $1 billion overseas club.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $82.4M which was down 15% from last year when The Other Woman opened at number one with $24.8M; but up 6% from 2013 when Pain & Gain debuted in the top spot with $20.2M.

Compared to projections, both The Age of Adaline and Little Boy opened on target with my respective forecasts of $13M and $3M.

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Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Avengers: Age of Ultron lifts off.

# Title Apr 24 - 26 Apr 17 - 19 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Furious 7 $ 17,821,440 $ 29,156,595 -38.9 3,808 4 $ 4,680 $ 320,081,575 Universal
2 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 14,776,726 23,762,435 -37.8 3,633 2 4,067 43,224,910 Sony
3 The Age of Adaline 13,203,458 2,991 1 4,414 13,203,458 Lionsgate
4 Home 8,005,648 10,608,947 -24.5 3,311 5 2,418 153,489,719 Fox
5 Unfriended 6,161,710 15,845,115 -61.1 2,775 2 2,220 25,075,475 Universal
6 Ex Machina 5,349,500 798,661 569.8 1,255 3 4,263 6,827,931 A24
7 The Longest Ride 4,258,861 7,020,782 -39.3 3,140 3 1,356 30,291,700 Fox
8 Get Hard 3,761,030 4,944,381 -23.9 2,276 5 1,652 83,922,270 Warner Bros.
9 Monkey Kingdom 3,441,840 4,577,861 -24.8 2,012 2 1,711 10,148,952 Disney
10 Woman in Gold 3,364,853 4,596,287 -26.8 1,981 4 1,699 21,498,632 Weinstein Co.
11 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 2,967,490 4,096,952 -27.6 2,086 6 1,423 124,777,530 Lionsgate
12 Cinderella 2,765,566 4,025,469 -31.3 2,019 7 1,370 190,559,996 Disney
13 Little Boy 2,750,356 1,045 1 2,632 2,750,356 Open Road
14 The Water Diviner 1,220,335 320 1 3,814 1,220,335 Warner Bros.
15 True Story 1,142,540 1,950,214 -41.4 856 2 1,335 3,807,508 Fox Searchlight
16 While We're Young 1,090,736 1,438,384 -24.2 762 5 1,431 5,699,465 A24
17 Kingsman: The Secret Service 554,747 678,874 -18.3 425 11 1,305 126,475,263 Fox
18 Danny Collins 440,729 849,000 -48.1 396 6 1,113 4,729,318 Bleecker St.
19 American Sniper 374,599 379,718 -1.3 403 18 930 348,295,276 Warner Bros.
20 It Follows 372,851 820,187 -54.5 401 7 930 14,033,360 Radius
Top 5 $ 59,968,982 $ 86,393,874 -30.6
Top 10 80,145,066 108,634,824 -26.2
Top 20 93,825,015 116,941,953 -19.8
Top 20 vs. 2014 93,825,015 112,438,521 -16.6

Last Updated: April 26, 2015 at 3:00PM ET

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