Weekend Box Office (September 12 - 14, 2014)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The home invasion thriller No Good Deed stormed the North American box office and delivered a sensational debut taking the number one spot and energizing a marketplace in need of excitement. Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, the PG-13 film debuted to an estimated $24.5M from 2,175 locations and averaged a sizzling $11,264 per location. Sales were driven by adult women with the leads flexing some starpower (plus taking Executive Producer credits) and engaging fans actively on social media to create must-see buzz.

Among films opening in September in under 2,500 theaters, No Good Deed generated the second best debut ever. The only bigger one was the 3D re-release of The Lion King which bowed to $30.2M from 2,330 locations in 2011. Deed succeeded in reaching its target audience and getting them to come out and open wallets. Reviews were mostly negative but ticket buyers instead responded to the stars as well as to the slick trailer and commercials promising a thrilling good time.

Studio data from Sony showed that females made up 60% of the audience while 59% were over 30. The CinemaScore grade was a decent B+. Deed opened not too far behind Elba's Obsessed ($28.6M) and Henson's recent hit Think Like A Man Too ($29.2M) which was a major sequel with a large cast of stars. All three films were produced by Will Packer who has enjoyed a terrific track record over the past seven years.

Family audiences came out in decent numbers for the new save-the-animal story Dolphin Tale 2 which debuted in second with an estimated $16.6M from 3,656 theaters for a $4,527 average. The PG-rated sequel opened 14% below the $19.2M of its 2011 predecessor which also launched in mid-September just after kids went back to school. That film had great legs finishing with nearly four times its opening weekend gross.

The solid A CinemaScore grade hints at a good run ahead for Warner Bros. especially since next weekend sees no new competitors for the family crowd. Reviews were generally upbeat for Dolphin which reunited cast members Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Harry Connick Jr.

The Marvel juggernaut Guardians of the Galaxy smashed the $300M barrier twice this weekend, first with domestic and then with international. The four-time chart-topper saw another great hold slipping 22% in its seventh weekend to an estimated $8M boosting the North American total to a robust $305.9M. Groot and friends climbed up to number 43 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters and might be able to make it into the all-time Top 30. In the next week, Guardians will surpass Iron Man 2 and in another week, will sail past Iron Man.

Overseas grosses rose to $305.6M for a new worldwide tally of $611.5M on its way to $700M+. Japan opened strong this weekend beating out the recent Captain America and Thor sequels. China and Italy open next month for extra cash in the bank.

Two successful summer leftovers rounded out the top five with solid holds. Kid adventure Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dropped only 26% to an estimated $4.8M for a new total of $181M for Paramount. Michelangelo and pals are on course to finish close to the final domestic totals of early summer tentpoles like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Godzilla. Global rose to $319.9M. The Fox comedy Let's Be Cops grossed an estimated $4.3M, off just 23%, for a new total of $73M.

Opening close behind in sixth place was the crime drama The Drop with an estimated $4.2M from 809 locations for a respectable $5,192 average. The R-rated film starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini earned good reviews and played to older adults. Fox Searchlight will add more theaters next weekend.

The Warner Bros. romance If I Stay and the Relativity spy thriller The November Man followed with estimates of $4.1M (down 27%) and $2.8M (off 36%), respectively. New cumes are $44.9M and $22.5M.

Sci-fi drama The Giver fell 23% to an estimated $2.6M and $41.3M cume for The Weinstein Co. Rounding out the top ten was the leggy restaurant flick The Hundred-Foot Journey with an estimated $2.5M, off 22%, for a new sum of $49.4M. The Helen Mirren hit has spent six weeks in the top ten, never dropped by more than 35%, and is within striking distance of cracking the $50M mark for Disney.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $74.3M which was down 14% from last year when Insidious Chapter 2 debuted at number one with $40.3M; but up 15% from 2012 when Resident Evil: Retribution opened on top with $21.1M.

Compared to projections, No Good Deed debuted well ahead of my $15M forecast while Dolphin Tale 2 was on target with my $17M prediction.

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

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Maze Runner, This is Where I Leave You, and Tusk all open.

# Title Sep 12 - 14 Sep 5 - 7 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 No Good Deed $ 24,250,283 2,175 1 $ 11,150 $ 24,250,283 Sony
2 Dolphin Tale 2 15,873,397 3,656 1 4,342 15,873,397 Warner Bros.
3 Guardians of the Galaxy 8,102,358 10,357,345 -21.8 3,104 7 2,610 305,987,190 Disney
4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4,855,136 6,506,688 -25.4 2,957 6 1,642 181,096,627 Paramount
5 Let's Be Cops 4,378,297 5,568,871 -21.4 2,755 5 1,589 73,050,745 Fox
6 The Drop 4,104,552 809 1 5,074 4,104,552 Fox Searchlight
7 If I Stay 3,937,176 5,555,244 -29.1 3,040 4 1,295 44,814,466 Warner Bros.
8 The November Man 2,800,262 4,307,680 -35.0 2,702 3 1,036 22,545,639 Relativity
9 The Giver 2,572,763 3,421,064 -24.8 2,253 5 1,142 41,276,163 Weinstein Co.
10 The Hundred-Foot Journey 2,423,269 3,146,462 -23.0 1,943 6 1,247 49,371,137 Disney
11 When the Game Stands Tall 2,381,830 3,410,019 -30.2 2,435 4 978 26,557,436 Sony
12 As Above/So Below 2,136,755 3,854,425 -44.6 2,283 3 936 19,142,430 Universal
13 Lucy 1,542,820 1,955,570 -21.1 1,068 7 1,445 123,493,195 Universal
14 The Expendables 3 968,734 1,822,039 -46.8 1,302 5 744 38,298,670 Lionsgate
15 Into The Storm 903,371 1,467,371 -38.4 1,040 6 869 45,852,117 Warner Bros.
16 Boyhood 865,047 1,152,559 -24.9 659 9 1,313 21,808,498 IFC
17 Cantinflas 575,738 1,064,752 -45.9 424 3 1,358 5,648,084 Lionsgate
18 Finding Fanny 515,393 121 1 4,259 515,393 FIP
19 Atlas Shrugged Part III 461,179 242 1 1,906 461,179 Atlas
20 A Most Wanted Man 443,857 573,563 -22.6 397 8 1,118 16,610,709 Roadside Attr.
Top 5 $ 57,459,471 $ 32,295,828 77.9
Top 10 73,297,493 48,083,368 52.4
Top 20 84,092,217 58,207,345 44.5
Top 20 vs. 2013 84,092,217 96,153,277 -12.5

Last Updated: September 14, 2014 at 2:30PM ET

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