Weekend Box Office (August 8 - 10, 2014)
THIS WEEKEND The reborn heroes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles conquered the North American box office as the franchise flick beat industry expectations to open at number one with $65.6M, according to final studio figures. It was the fourth biggest opening weekend ever in the month of August and soared about $20M above what the film biz was expecting. Summer has been light on kidpics and audiences came out in droves for Turtles which began as a movie franchise in 1990 with a record debut for its time.
Turtles averaged a sensational $17,055 from 3,845 theaters and got help from 3D and premium large format pricing. Reviews were bad but audiences responded to the brand and the action, especially dads familiar with the property from its glory days in the 1980s and early 90s. Studio research showed that 61% of the audience was male and 55% was over 25. The CinemaScore was a decent B for the $125M-budgeted actioner. Megan Fox and Will Arnett were among the cast members and did the rounds on talk shows to promote.
After last weekend's record opening for Guardians of the Galaxy, the sophomore frame saw a 55% drop to $42.1M putting the new cume at $176.5M. Considering how front-loaded comic book movies are, and the competition Turtles gave, it was a very respectable hold. The Marvel hit could go on to reach the $290M vicinity for Disney. Overseas brought in an estimated $40.1M from 50 territories bumping the international cume up to $137.3M and the worldwide tally to $314M. Many of the world's top ten markets have not opened yet.
The tornado thriller Into The Storm opened in third place with $17.3M from 3,434 locations for a moderate $5,051 average. The PG-13 storm chaser flick actually opened with less than half of the $41.1M gross of 1996's smash summer hit Twister back when ticket prices were almost half as much. Critics panned Storm which targeted thrill-seekers for Warner Bros.
Disney and DreamWorks debuted the culinary film The Hundred-Foot Journey in fourth place with $11M from 2,023 theaters for a respectable $5,427 average. Starring Helen Mirren, the PG-rated film based on a popular novel was backed by producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg who actively used their tastemaker skills to help build an audience. The first weekend results were slightly better than expected and the road ahead looks promising. Reviews were mixed but paying audiences liked what they got as the Cinemascore was a solid A.
Scarlett Johansson's hit action flick Lucy dropped 48% in its third round to $9.5M for Universal for $97.5M to date. Step Up All In, the fifth installment in the hit dance competition franchise, suffered the worst opening of the series with a $6.5M bow. Averaging a weak $3,123 from 2,072 locations, the PG-13 pic from Lionsgate fell below the $11.7M of 2012's Step Up Revolution and was a far cry from the $20.7M debut of the first Step Up from eight years ago this very weekend. Every film in the series has opened worse than its predecessor in North America, but brisk overseas sales have kept the franchise going.
Paramount's action epic Hercules took a drop of 48% to $5.7M for a new sum of $63.5M. Universal's James Brown pic Get On Up declined a hefty 62% in its sophomore effort to $5.2M for a sum of $23.1M.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes followed in ninth with $4.3M, off 50%, for a $197.8M cume for Fox. The toon sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue saw much of its kid audience erode falling 59% to $2.5M. Cume to date is $53M for Disney.
The top ten films grossed $169.7M which was up 23% from last year when Elysium opened at number one with $29.8M; and up 31% from 2012 when The Bourne Legacy debuted on top with $38.1M.
Compared to projections, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flew much higher than my $36M forecast while Into The Storm was on target with my $17M prediction. The Hundred-Foot Journey opened ahead of my $8M projection and Step Up All In came in under my $9M prediction.
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Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Expendables 3, Let's Be Cops, and The Giver all 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: August 11, 2014 at 5:45PM ET
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