Weekend Box Office (July 24 - 26, 2015)
by Sujit Chawla
THIS WEEKEND Continuing a summer trend, Disney's Ant-Man kept the top spot at the box office while Adam Sandler's latest Pixels, took a disappointing second. Two other films opened wide to decent numbers.
Since the beginning of April, Disney and Universal have owned the box office with one of their films taking the number one spot 15 out of the 17 weekends. In keeping with their apparent agreement to crush the other studios, Ant-Man retained the number one spot in its second weekend with an estimated $24.8M, down 57% from last weekend, bringing its total to $106M. Look for a finale in the $160M range which would put it behind the original Thor ($181M) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($176M) but still not bad for a not-well-known Marvel character. I'm sure when they load up Ant-Man 2 with fellow Avengers and place it in the beginning of the summer, the numbers will take off like normal.
The once formidable duo of Adam Sandler and Kevin James took second place with their aliens-as-videogames special effect bonanza, Pixels, which took in an estimated $24M from 3,723 theaters for a per screen average of $6,446, tops in the top 10. One would imagine with extremely poor reviews, Sony was at least hoping for bragging rights with a #1 opening, but they couldn't manage even that. A CinemaScore of a B does not bode well for the future either. It's almost like Sandler peaked a long time ago and might be better off making movies for Netflix that offend people before they're even released.
Universal's Minions landed in third place with an estimated $22.1M this weekend, bringing its mighty total to $261.6M, beating the gross of the original Despicable Me which ended its run with $251M. Minions won't reach the heights of Despicable Me 2 which made $368M but there is no doubt the entire franchise is still strong. Studio stablemate Trainwreck held on well in its second weekend, dropping just 42.5% to an estimated $17.3M, bringing its total up to $61.5M. A finale in the $100-110 range should be in order cementing Amy Schumer as the latest female box office superstar. Is it too late to add her to the new female Ghostbusters?
Debuting film Southpaw opened in fifth place this weekend with $16.5M, according to estimates, from 2,772 theaters for a per screen average of $5,952. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the boxing flick had middle-of-the-road reviews from critics but an A CinemaScore meaning audiences dug what they saw. Sports films have always held a special place in the hearts of North American audiences so with the crowd enjoying themselves Southpaw could have some good holds over the upcoming weekends. Also debuting this weekend was the latest from author John Green, Paper Towns which opened to an estimated $12.5M from 3,031 theaters for a per screen average of $4,124. It was never expected to rise to the levels of the last film based on a Green property, The Fault in our Stars ($48M opening, $124M cume) but this opening has to give Fox a little pause. Still, with virtually no star power, it made back its budget in one weekend which has to mean something.
Two of the summer's biggest hits followed with Disney/Pixar's Inside Out bringing in an estimated $7.3M in its sixth weekend for a cume to date of $320M. Already the third highest grossing film in Pixar history, it has a chance at catching 2003's Finding Nemo ($339.7M). Eighth place belonged to the dinosaur juggernaut Jurassic World which, in making an estimated $6.9M this weekend, passed The Avengers to become the third highest grossing film in domestic box office history with $623.8M. It was already number three worldwide with $1.54B. While making another $35M to catch Titanic is unlikely, it should be noted that in its original run, Titanic made $600M (albeit in 1997). Even with as much money as Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron have made worldwide this year, none of them are even within a billion dollars of Avatar's $2.78B total. What film do you think will ever catch it? My money is on the inevitable Avengers vs. Justice League film in 2040.
Jumping 17% from last weekend was the latest take on Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Holmes, which took in an estimated $2.85M this weekend, bringing its total to $6.4M. Strong reviews could have the film playing to adult audiences for a few more weeks. Rounding out the top 10 was Terminator: Genisys which made $2.4M, according to estimates, bringing its total to an extremely disappointing $85.6M with not much left in the tank.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $136.7M which was up 3.5% from last year when Lucy opened at number one with $43.9M; and down 10% from 2013 when The Wolverine opened in the top spot with $53.1M.
Compared to projections, Pixels and Paper Towns opened just below Gitesh's $29M and $17M forecasts while Southpaw opened higher than his $14M prediction.
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For a review of Ant-Man visit The Chief Report.
Watch the NEW trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.
Be sure to check back on Monday for final studio figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Vacation (Wednesday) both open.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: July 26, 2015 at 3:30PM ET
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