Weekend Box Office (August 29 - 31, 2014)
THIS WEEKEND Labor Day brought an end to another summer movie season on a slow note with the Marvel overachiever Guardians of the Galaxy leading the way again grossing an estimated $22.2M over the long Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend in its fifth frame. Three of those frames were spent at number one.
With a three-day Friday-to-Sunday take that was almost identical to last weekend's, the Disney release boosted its domestic cume to a fantastic $280.5M. That's slightly ahead of the $277.4M that the first Iron Man had in the bank at the exact same point in its release. Starlord hopes to go on and also collect more riches by growing its franchise fortunes in the years to come. Overseas grosses for Guardians rose to $273.1M putting the worldwide tally at an impressive $554M. It still has yet to open in key markets such as Italy, Japan, and China so $700M+ is likely.
Once again in second place was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with an estimated $15.7M over four days in its fourth round upping the cume to a robust $166.4M. Paramount saw a reasonable slide and with $112.1M from overseas markets has now taken in a strong $278M worldwide kicking off a new global franchise. Past Turtles movies were at New Line and Warner Bros.
Warners collected an estimated $11.6M for its teen romance If I Stay over the long weekend and has made $32.2M so far. The buddy comedy Let's Be Cops followed with an estimated $10.6M for a new cume of $59.7M for Fox.
The new horror flick As Above/So Below opened in fifth place with an estimated $10.3M from 2,640 locations for a mild $3,910 four-day average. The low-budget Paris-set thriller earned a lousy C- CinemaScore from paying moviegoers and is looking at the usual short-lived theatrical run witnessed by films of this genre. The three-day bow was just $8.6M. Nearly every horror movie this year has underperformed as the industry heads into the critical pre-Halloween September-October corridor when demand for this genre usually increases. Even Labor Day weekend has historically been a great launching pad for horror titles but with teens and young adults abandoning multiplexes, this type of film has been struggling to attracting paying crowds.
Pierce Brosnan's new spy thriller The November Man debuted close behind in sixth place with an estimated $10.2M from 2,776 locations for a lackluster $3,674 average. Since its Wednesday launch, the total has been just $11.9M for Relativity. Reviews were negative for the umpteenth action offering of the summer.
Sony's inspirational football drama When the Game Stands Tall fell to an estimated $8M and has racked up $18.7M so far. The book-to-movie entry The Giver was next with an estimated $6.9M over four days giving The Weinstein Co. $33.1M to date.
Disney's Oprah-Spielberg-promoted hit drama The Hundred-Foot Journey enjoyed another good hold collecting an estimated $6.3M raising the total to $41.1M. Sylvester Stallone and his gang from The Expendables 3 had the worst drop in the top ten falling to an estimated $4.6M. Lionsgate has banked a weak $34.2M to date.
The Mexican film Cantinflas opened outside the top ten but played well with an estimated $3.3M from 382 sites for a good $8,704 average for Lionsgate. Sony re-released the modern classic Ghostbusters to celebrate its 30th anniversary (and upcoming Blu-ray release) and saw modest numbers with an estimated $2.2M weekend from 784 locations for a soft $2,806 average. Re-releasing old hits rarely leads to huge grosses these days, but they do put the spotlight on a popular brand re-energizing it so that it can monetize itself on other platforms.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $106.3M over four days which was down 3% from last year when The Butler led again with $20.2M; but up 5% from 2012 when The Possession opened on top with $21.1M.
Compared to four-day projections, As Above/So Below and The November Man both opened slightly higher than my forecasts of $9M and $8M, respectively.
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Be sure to check back on Tuesday for final studio figures.
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: September 1, 2014 at 5:20PM ET
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