Weekend Box Office (March 6 - 8, 2015)
THIS WEEKEND Multiplexes must brace for what could possibly be the slowest weekend of the year. Three new wide releases enter the marketplace led by the robot action thriller Chappie which opens on conventional and IMAX screens. The R-rated pic comes from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp who has a fan following of his own thanks to that Best Picture Oscar-nominated hit.
But reviews have been negative and young males are not as reliable as in years past to show up at theaters. Plus Hugh Jackman's role may not be too big of a draw in this case. Guys attracted to RoboCop and Need For Speed a year ago are the ones likely to come out here, though no built-in brand will be tapped into. Female appeal seems more limited. Debuting in 3,201 theaters, Chappie may take in about $16M this weekend.
Three years after the first film became a global blockbuster ($10M budget, $136M worldwide gross), the team returns for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which Fox Searchlight releases in 1,573 theaters. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel and others return while Richard Gere joins the new chapter. Set again in India, the PG-rated comedy has earned generally good reviews and aims to reach fans who enjoyed the first film which platformed in just 27 theaters against The Avengers on the first weekend of May in 2012 before gradually expanding nationwide as word-of-mouth spread. A mature adult audience should be a driving factor. [Note - this author is a consultant for the film, no projection will be made.]
Vince Vaughn's growing catalog of unfunny flops gets a little bigger with Unfinished Business, a raunchy R-rated pic aimed at adult men. The Fox release sees Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, and Sienna Miller co-star and critics have been universally panning it. Former box office star Vaughn has seen his stock tank in recent years thanks to comedies that just did not deliver laughs like The Internship, Delivery Man, and The Watch. R-rated comedies in general have slumped over the past year and Business offers nothing to change that. Opening in 2,777 theaters, Unfinished Business might collect around $7M this weekend.
Will Smith conquered the box office last weekend with his con artist flick Focus, but he failed to display much muscle. Buzz is just mediocre so a 50% slide may be in order to about $9M. The action pic Kingsman: The Secret Service is inching its way to the century club and looks to dip by 35% to around $8M for a new cume of $97M.
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LAST YEAR Two new releases drove box office sales with the Warner Bros. sequel 300: Rise of an Empire opening at number one with $45M followed by the DreamWorks toon Mr. Peabody & Sherman bowing to $32.2M. Finals reached $106.6M and $111.5M, respectively. Liam Neeson dropped to third with Non-Stop's $15.8M. Rounding out the top five were The LEGO Movie and Son of God with $10.9M and $10.4M.
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: March 5, 2015 at 6:15PM ET
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