Weekend Box Office (July 25 - 27, 2014)
THIS WEEKEND Studios seemingly learned years ago not to program two high-profile star-driven action movies onto the same frame. But that is exactly what audiences are in store for as Scarlett Johansson's sci-fi thriller Lucy clashes with the ancient epic Hercules headlined by Dwayne Johnson in a role he seems custom built to play. While two very different stories, there will undoubtedly be some overlap in audiences from those moviegoers finding both choices to be interesting and worthy.
Lucy has broader appeal and better buzz and should claim the number one spot despite its R rating. The Universal release has generated plenty of talk from its slick trailer and TV spots. Plus Johansson is ready to anchor her own action vehicle after a successful body of work including playing Black Widow in a handful of Marvel flicks. This past April, her role was central to the year's biggest domestic blockbuster Captain America: The Winter Soldier and fans are ready to see her get promoted to leading lady. Scarlett has paid her dues, sells tickets, and is now ready to take the crown from Angelina.
Part of what makes Lucy the bigger ticket seller is its broader appeal, especially to women and young adults. The star can pull in these audiences who often skip out on other run-of-the-mill action movies. Morgan Freeman adds value too. Reviews have been mixed so breakout potential is not limitless (ha!) but a trim running time of under 90 minutes will ensure plenty of showtimes. With pre-shows starting at 8:00pm on Thursday, Lucy opens in 3,172 locations this weekend and may capture about $33M for the frame.
Paramount unleashes Hercules, a PG-13 adventure vehicle for charismatic action star Dwayne Johnson. For a big budget summer action entry, buzz has been pretty light. Outside of his core fan base, not many people will want to pay to see this particular offering. Franchise films like the G.I. Joe sequel and the last two Fast & Furious movies have brought him back into the spotlight after a series of struggling pictures. But Johnson does not sell all that well when on his own. An effects-heavy project certainly helps, though. Starting its weekend with Thursday night pre-shows starting at 7:00pm, Hercules invades over 3,600 sites and may take in about $20M this weekend.
With bad reviews and an older target audience, the Michael Douglas-Diane Keaton grumpy old man comedy And So It Goes will need to rely on starpower if it has any hope of making a dent in the box office this weekend. Both actors are appealing to a certain age group, however negative marks from critics will repel many of them turning it into one to check out on home video down the road. And So It Goes is the type of old school Hollywood movie which doesn't sell in today's marketplace anymore. A lame title won't help either. Released by Clarius in 1,760 locations, And So It Goes may come in with about $5M.
No film has spent three weeks at number one this summer, and that's not about to change. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes enjoyed a good hold in its second weekend, but will face two new action offerings pulling audiences away. A 45% decline would give Fox about $20M for the frame and a new cume of $176M allowing it to match its 2011 predecessor Rise.
The Purge: Anarchy hopes to not collapse 76% in its sophomore session like its predecessor last year did. But a big fall is still in order for the horror sequel, maybe 65%, giving Universal roughly $10.5M and a new sum of $54M.
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For a review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes visit The Chief Report.
LAST YEAR Another Marvel hero took the top spot as Fox's The Wolverine opened at number one with $53.1M on its way to $132.6M and $391M worldwide. Holdovers filled up the rest of the top five with The Conjuring dropping to second with $22.2M and Despicable Me 2 taking third with $16.4M which vaulted it past the $300M mark. Turbo and Grown Ups 2 followed with $13.7M and $11.6M, respectively.
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 24, 2014 at 3:30PM ET
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