Weekend Box Office (April 17 - 19, 2015)
THIS WEEKEND It was threepeat time for the action juggernaut Furious 7 which came into the weekend smashing the $1 billion global mark and still ruling multiplexes worldwide. Gravity-defying in terms of both stunts and box office, the Vin Diesel-Paul Walker pic grossed an estimated $29M domestically falling by an understandable 51% in its third round and vaulted its cume to a staggering $294.4M. Universal should find its way to $350M or more from North America.
Overseas is where Furious 7 is truly demolishing records. This weekend saw an eye-popping $167.9M of sales including $93.3M from its first full weekend in China. The international total soared to $858.3M putting the worldwide haul at an unbelievable $1.15 billion with much more to go. It is the highest-grossing film in the studio's history. China has reached a stunning $250.5M in only eight days of play and is on course to beat Transformers: Age of Extinction by next weekend to become the top-grossing American film ever in that market.
Furious 7 now sits at number 7 on the list of all-time global blockbusters and will quickly speed past Iron Man 3, Frozen, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and The Avengers to rank third behind just Avatar and Titanic. This was never expected to be possible showing once again how unpredictable moviegoing can be. The only challenger Furious 7 will face in the weeks ahead will be the much-anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron which begins opening in many international markets this Wednesday hoping to eventually reach or exceed the heights of its 2012 predecessor. The Marvel super heroes do not invade China until May 12 so the speed racers still have a clear road ahead there for three full weeks.
Sony scored a nice hit with its comedy sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 which opened to an estimated $24M coming in ahead of expectations. It was below the $31.8M of its 2009 predecessor, however star Kevin James has not been much of a box office anchor since then on his own. The PG-rated sequel was slammed by critics, as expected, but averaged a good $6,606 from paying audiences in 3,633 locations. The CinemaScore grade was a lackluster B- so the road ahead may be a little shaky. But with a $30M budget, Blart 2 should end up with a nice run regardless of how international results turn out.
Horror hitman Jason Blum enjoyed yet another scary moneymaker with the online terror flick Unfriended which debuted in third with an estimated $16M for the best fright opening of this year so far. The R-rated chiller averaged a solid $5,850 from 2,739 locations and played mostly to older teens and young adults. Studio data showed that the audience was 74% under 25, 60% female, and 68% non-white. Savvy marketing and a relevant topic helped the micro-budgeted $1M production excite its target audience. Blum has more screams in store with this summer's sequels Insidious: Chapter 3 in June and Sinister 2 in August.
The animated hit Home dropped 44% in its fourth weekend to an estimated $10.3M raising its cume to a robust $142.6M putting it dead even with The Croods from two years ago at the same point in its spring run. That other DreamWorks Animation pic ended up with $187.2M domestic and $587M worldwide, areas that Home may end up at as well.
The romance The Longest Ride fell 47% in its second weekend to an estimated $6.9M for Fox putting the cume at $23.5M on its way to $35-40M. The Warner Bros. comedy Get Hard followed with an estimated $4.8M, down 41%, for a new total of $78.3M.
Disney's annual nature documentary timed to Earth Day landed in seventh place. Monkey Kingdom opened to an estimated $4.7M from 2,012 locations for a weak $2,343 average. That was almost equal to the $4.8M bow of the studio's Bears from this weekend last year. A portion of the proceeds for these films are donated to conservation charities.
Close behind in eighth was Helen Mirren's Woman in Gold with an estimated $4.6M, off just 16%, for a new sum of $15.9M for The Weinstein Co. which could be headed for the $30M range. Insurgent dropped 38% to an estimated $4.2M putting Lionsgate at $120.6M (10% behind Divergent's pace) and $262.2M globally. Disney's Cinderella rounded out the top ten with an estimated $3.9M, off 46%, for a new total of $186.3M. The fairy tale hit stands at $457.7M worldwide.
Two new films debuted in moderate national release and posted weak results finishing outside the top ten. The James Franco-Jonah Hill drama True Story bowed to an estimated $1.9M from 831 locations for only $2,323 per site for Fox Searchlight. Tom Hardy's Cold War thriller Child 44 fared worse with an estimated $600,000 opening weekend from 510 playdates for a dismal $1,176 average for Lionsgate. Neither was well-liked by film critics.
The sci-fi drama Ex Machina expanded well in its second weekend from four to 39 theaters across several top markets and grossed an estimated $814,000 for a solid $20,872 average. A24 takes it nationwide next weekend hoping to sustain the buzz created in the bigger cities. Cume to date is $1.1M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $108.3M which was down 7% from last year when Captain America: The Winter Soldier remained at number one for a third time with $25.6M; but up 12% from 2013 when Oblivion debuted in the top spot with $37.1M.
Compared to projections, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 came in above my forecast of $19M. Unfriended and Monkey Kingdom both opened close to my respective predictions of $14M and $6M.
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Watch the NEW trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on
Thursday for a complete summary, including
projections, for next weekend when The Age of
Adaline and Little Boy 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: April 19, 2015 at 3:00PM ET
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