Weekend Box Office (May 2 - 4, 2014)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND While not breaking any major records, the super hero sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did kick off the summer movie season with a strong debut delivering the second best opening weekend of 2014. However, it did not drive the overall marketplace the way studio tentpoles usually do on this particular frame as the Top 20 slumped to the worst showing in eight years for the first weekend of May which since 1999 has marked the start of the summer blockbuster season.

Sony's fifth webslinger movie, and second of the current incarnation, opened to an estimated $92M from 4,324 locations for a $21,277 average. Comparisons to the last Amazing Spider-Man's opening weekend would be pointless since that one opened on a Tuesday ahead of a holiday week with $62M collected over its Friday-to-Sunday span - its fourth, fifth, and sixth days of release. But looking into the days ahead, the new sequel may find itself in the vicinity of $115M in its first seven days of play. That would be down 20% from the $144.5M that the last pic registered in its first full week in theaters on its way to $262M domestically and $754M worldwide.

Even among tentpoles starting off the summer on the first weekend of May, the new webslinger does not rank up very high. It is only seventh best trailing The Avengers, the first and third Spider-Man films from Sam Raimi, and all three Iron Man pics. And only two of those films had the benefit of 3D ticket prices.

This lucrative piece of release estate on the calendar is generally claimed years in advance because of its grossing potential. Disney has already claimed the next three for The Avenger: Age of Ultron opening in 2015, Captain America 3 opening in 2016, and an untitled Marvel film in 2017. Warner Bros. also has put its hat in the ring for the first May weekend of 2016 with its next Superman/Batman film, although one studio is sure to eventually move. Meanwhile, Sony already planted its flag on 2018 for The Amazing Spider-Man 4 with part three slated for June of 2016. Audiences can show up in masses - if you provide a movie they are genuinely crazy for.

The weekend for the latest Andrew Garfield film began with an opening day Friday of $35.5M including $8.7M from Thursday night shows beginning at 7pm. Saturday slipped 7% to $33.1M and Sunday is projected to fall 29% to $23.4M. Studio data showed that the audience was 61% male (about right for a comic flick) and 51% under 25.

$9.3M of this weekend's gross came from 353 higher-priced IMAX screens. With China's IMAX venues opening Sunday, the record global count of 703 locations will raise its cumulative worldwide gross to $25M+ and counting.

Audience excitement for the rebooted Spider-Man in 2012 was not exactly sky high and not much has changed this time. Plus Captain America: The Winter Soldier just hit the marketplace a month ago doing summer-like business in April satisfying the demands of many action movie fans who did not need another comic book story so soon. Peter Parker will not threaten Steve Rogers for the top-grossing film of 2014 even though the opening weekend difference was only $3M.

Still, breaking $90M on opening weekend is nothing to be disappointed with for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Reviews were not so great and the CinemaScore grade from paying fans was a decent B+. Looking at current results and the road ahead, it seems that the new Electro flick will end up with the lowest domestic final of any Spider-Man installment (possibly around $225M) despite a budget of over $200M. But with so many action franchises, dwindling domestic ticket sales can be offset by growing international revenue and Spidey remains immensely popular around the globe.

Overseas, Spider-Man 2 has been building on its earlier roll-out from two weeks ago. This weekend added several Asian debuts and the weekend generated a stellar $116M from all international markets raising the tally to $277M and the global cume to $369M. China saw a rare Sunday launch which was better than the release for the last Amazing which was forced to open day-and-date on a Monday against The Dark Knight Rises in that country. The rebooted Peter Parker won that opening day battle. The $10.4M first-day for part 2 in China bodes well for the rest of the run there and a cast visit to Beijing is paying off too. In the end, TASM2 may still be able to beat TASM1's global box office gross.

Cameron Diaz and her gal pals got bumped down to the bridesmaid spot as former number one The Other Woman enjoyed a solid hold in its second weekend of play. The Fox hit dropped a reasonable 43% to an estimated $14.2M giving the revenge flick a solid $47.3M to date. Finishing with $80M seems very possible for this film which did not win over critics, but sparked strong buzz with female moviegoers looking for a fun time out with likable stars.

Sony took third place with the uplifting drama Heaven Is For Real which dropped only 39% to an estimated $8.7M. With a sturdy $65.6M to date, Sony's faith-based hit looks on track to finish in the $80-90M range - a huge achievement for a film with no major stars among its cast and crew.

The spring's ruling super hero juggernaut Captain America: The Winter Soldier followed in fourth with an estimated $7.8M, down 52% thanks to the arrival of his Marvel brother. Disney's latest comic smash has now banked a stellar $237.1M making it bigger than every installment in the X-Men franchise. It has already beaten the performances of all past Thor, Hulk, Fantastic Four, and Captain America films. Breaking $250M still seems likely.

Winter Soldier continued to watch its global tally soar despite Spider-Man establishing itself in all markets now. The overseas total rose to $442.7M pushing the worldwide haul to $679.8M with the $700M mark ready to fall in the next week or so. China leads all international markets by a mile with $115.8M making it the fifth biggest Western film of all-time. No other single country has broken $31M yet.

The toon sequel Rio 2 cracked the $100M domestic mark and took in an estimated $7.6M in its fourth frame, off 45%. The Fox film has banked $106.5M and is heading to the vicinity of $125M. Paul Walker's action entry Brick Mansions tumbled 63% in its sophomore round to an estimated $3.5M giving Relativity $15.5M to date.

Book adaptation Divergent still held up well despite the new tentpole opening and grossed an estimated $2.2M, down 41%, for a new cume of $142.7M for Lionsgate. The distributor's horror flop The Quiet Ones followed with an estimated $2M, down 49% in its second weekend, with a puny $6.8M to date.

Next up was the second low-cost faith-based hit in the top ten - God's Not Dead. The Freestyle release eased just 37% to an estimated $1.8M in its seventh round jumping back onto the list. Cume is a robust $55.6M. Faith-based films have appeared in the top ten for ten consecutive weeks now. Also rejoining the elite list this weekend was Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel with an estimated $1.7M, off 29%, for a $51.5M total so far. By next weekend, the indie smash will surpass the $52.3M of The Royal Tenenbaums to become the director's top-grossing film ever.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $141.5M which was down 32% from last year when Iron Man 3 opened at number one with $174.1M; and down 43% from 2012 when The Avengers debuted on top with a record-shattering $207.4M.

Compared to projections, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened on target with my $92M forecast.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Watch the trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past. For a review of The Winter Soldier visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Neighbors, Legends of Oz, and Moms Night Out all open.

# Title May 2 - 4 Apr 25 - 27 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 $ 91,608,337 4,324 1 $ 21,186 $ 91,608,337 Sony
2 The Other Woman 14,407,264 24,763,752 -41.8 3,238 2 4,449 47,552,736 Fox
3 Heaven Is For Real 8,601,509 14,351,252 -40.1 2,930 3 2,936 65,503,918 Sony
4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier 7,774,269 16,219,025 -52.1 3,179 5 2,446 237,155,480 Disney
5 Rio 2 7,711,952 13,881,457 -44.4 3,314 4 2,327 106,582,228 Fox
6 Brick Mansions 3,691,672 9,516,855 -61.2 2,647 2 1,395 15,628,988 Relativity
7 Divergent 2,182,283 3,658,966 -40.4 1,639 7 1,331 142,669,009 Lionsgate
8 The Quiet Ones 1,994,670 3,880,053 -48.6 2,027 2 984 6,755,702 Lionsgate
9 The Grand Budapest Hotel 1,777,513 2,459,171 -27.7 884 9 2,011 51,548,945 Fox Searchlight
10 God's Not Dead 1,765,906 2,805,833 -37.1 1,330 7 1,328 55,561,308 Freestyle
11 Bears 1,710,162 3,734,588 -54.2 1,790 3 955 14,366,216 Disney
12 Draft Day 1,382,280 2,783,208 -50.3 1,354 4 1,021 26,426,047 Lionsgate
13 Transcendence 1,173,020 4,226,339 -72.2 1,775 3 661 21,366,230 Warner Bros.
14 A Haunted House 2 1,075,668 3,202,679 -66.4 1,328 3 810 16,124,463 Open Road
15 Noah 900,538 2,283,681 -60.6 929 6 969 99,025,287 Paramount
16 Oculus 761,099 2,184,015 -65.2 884 4 861 26,702,365 Relativity
17 The Railway Man 502,556 578,452 -13.1 164 4 3,064 1,629,354 Weinstein Co.
18 Fading Gigolo 482,847 300,566 60.6 110 3 4,390 1,124,922 Millenium
19 Robocop 404,440 94,185 329.4 231 12 1,751 58,317,504 Sony
20 Mr. Peabody & Sherman 402,961 552,283 -27.0 410 9 983 108,548,062 Fox
Top 5 $ 130,103,331 $ 78,732,341 65.2
Top 10 141,515,375 97,434,966 45.2
Top 20 150,310,946 112,438,521 33.7
Top 20 vs. 2013 150,310,946 214,432,956 -29.9

Last Updated: May 4, 2014 at 6:25PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 6:40pm ET.

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