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Weekend B.O. July 11-13 (Despite Strong Opening Weekend, 'Apes' Won't Save Hollywood This Summer)

Box Office
by Sergio
July 13, 2014 2:44 PM
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Dawn of  the Planet of the Apes

First of all "Dawn of The Planet of the Apes" is fantastic - one of the best films of the summer. The reviews have been nothing but stellar and, as expected, it was No.1 this weekend, with a huge opening of $73 million. That easily beat the previous "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which had a weekend opening of $54.8 million.

But it’s not going to be the savior.

And by that I mean, the savior of this summer film season's box office.

As I pointed out last week in my b.o. report (HERE), total domestic b.o revenues are down considerably from last year, some 20% over all.

Yet, there were articles by some box office analysts earlier this week, saying that "Apes" could be the box office salvation that could save this summer from being the major disappointment that it’s becoming.

The fact of the matter is that, those pundits have no idea what they were talking about. "Dawn" could have grossed $150 million this weekend, and still would not have helped the overall box office performance of this summer's movie season.

And if things go like they have been for other summer films this year, you can expect a huge b.o. drop-off for the film during the second week, of some 60% or more. Although, of course the overseas dollars will make it a hit.  

For example, "Transformers 4: Age of Extinction," which came in this week with $16.5 million, has already become the biggest grossing film of the year, with over $752.5 million worldwide, $262.6 million of that from China alone. That also makes it the third most profitable movie of the year after "Captain America" and "The Lego Movie."

"Dawn" will no doubt be the biggest grossing film worldwide for the second half of the summer until September. But domestic revenues are still down, no matter how you cut it.

But, as I said last week, if there is only one true savior for Hollywood this summer, it’s that life affirming film doing well in the overseas film market. I’m telling you, as André Seewood, Tambay and I have written about more than once on S & A, African American filmmakers better start getting on the overseas market tip, and stop that “ain’t nobody want to see us” slave mentality nonsense. The whole wide world is out there waiting.

And the other potential savior, "Guardians of the Galaxy," which opens in a few weeks, and which is getting a lot of advance publicity, looks iffy at best. No one is sure if the film has any appeal beyond the hard core fans of the comic book. Expect another huge 60% or more second week drop-off on that film too.

In fact, according to Erik Childress of Chicago's WCIU-TV’s "Movies and Money," 5 films this summer have dropped over 60% ("Amazing Spider Man 2" came very close with a 59.7% drop-off), and only 2 films have, so far this year, opened to over $43 million and not dropped less than 52% in their second weeks - "The Lego Movie" and "Neighbors."

So what’s the reason for the drop-off and the lower box office numbers? Is it the films? Too much of the “same old, same old, been there, done that, seen that a hundred times already before” feeling? Or are the films themselves lacking in something? Despite all the hype, people are leaving the theaters feeling unsatisfied.

What do you say?

And those who are saying that last week’s No. 2 film, the Melissa McCarthy dramedy "Tammy," is a b.o. disappointment, are also off the mark. The film dropped only 40% from last week, which is a much lower drop-off  than most of the big summer movies in their second weeks. And with a b.o. total of $57 million to date, the film has already made nearly 3 times its production cost.

On the indie front, Richard Linklater’s film "Boyhood," which he shot a week at a time, over a 12 year period, for $2.4 million, chronicling a young boy growing up from a child to a teenager, earned $395,000 on just 5 screens, in N.Y. and L.A., making it the second highest per screen average of the year, after Wes Anderson’s "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

1) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Fox $73,000,000 
2) Transformers: Age of Extinction Par. $16,500,000  Total: $209,031,000 
3) Tammy WB $12,910,000 Total: $57,354,000 $20 
4) 22 Jump Street Sony $6,700,000 Total: $171,961,000$50 
5) How to Train Your Dragon 2 Fox $5,865,000 Total: $152,068,000 
6) Earth to Echo Rela. $5,500,000  Total: $24,597,000 
7) Deliver Us From Evil SGem $4,700,000 Total: $25,002,000 
8) Maleficent BV $4,169,000 Total: $221,994,000 
9) Begin Again Wein. $2,935,000  Total: $5,286,000  
10) Jersey Boys WB $2,510,000  Total: $41,705,000 
11) Think Like a Man Too SGem $2,500,000 Total: $61,906,000 
12) America LGF $2,450,000 Total: $8,268,000  
13) Edge of Tomorrow WB $1,865,000 Total: $94,550,000 
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  • CareyCarey | July 13, 2014 11:53 PMReply

    "First of all, "Dawn of The Planet of The Apes" is a fantastic movie"

    That's definitely a matter of opinion. I feel asleep near the end. Granted, I may have bit off more than I could chew with my prior activities, which could have left me a little drained.

    My day started with church (yeah, I go to a black church, sue me). After church me and my lady scurried to a PGA Golf event, The John Deere Classic (yeah, I'm a black man and I play golf, sue me). After being in the hot sun for a few hours, we settled down at the movies. So I may have been a wee bit burn out, but come on, this ape adventure was boring as hell.

    And look, I can suspend belief while watching a movie but let me hollow at the ape Caesar for a second... "Hey Caesar, if you're wondering if humans are still around after allegedly destroying themselves 10 years earlier, there's hundreds of them right down the damn road"

    Geez, and what about that rust bucket electric generator plant? Come on now, 2 guys with one wrench fire up an electric plant that had been sitting in decay for 10 years. Does anyone find that a bit of a stretch? But wait, if that doesn't invoke a "hmmmm... that's odd" it gets more ridiculous. The Maytag repair man turns a valve which lights up the whole damn city. WTF... a city in ruins comes back to life after 10 years of looking like Watts after the 65 riots, by opening a water valve. GTFOOH.

    And, I get IT. I get that these apes are emotional, similar to humans, so enough of the humanistic storyline, over and over again. Yeah, apes have babies that they love so much, just like humans. I get that. They cry, just like humans, I got that, but please, enough already, move the movie along because you're putting me to sleep.

    Anyway, I riding with Darkan, this summer's films are bad. Bottom line. But maybe, to be fair, I am a drama kind of guy so none of these popcorn flicks are in my wheelhouse. But my lady wanted to see the monkey men so my dumb a$$ went along. Damn, I could have stayed at home and kept my 40 bucks in my pocket.

    Fantastic movie... Bah! Humbug!

  • CareyCarey | July 14, 2014 10:37 AM

    Well, I am not alone. S&A's guest reviewer, Dylan Green, said the following.

    "Are there some problems [with this ape movie]? Sure [is]. One of the main problems with "Rise" was its insistence on keeping the considerably MORE BORING human characters front and center, while Ceasar and the rest of the apes developed on the sidelines"

    OMG! Being reminded of that bore fest, I found myself nodding off at my computer. And, Dylan wasn't done stirring the poppy plants.

    "Hollywood's insistence on including human-insert characters for Joe/Jane Moviegoer to latch onto, has been an annoying symptom of contemporary Hollywood"

    OMG! Opps upside my head, did y'all just read what I read? Well, for sh*ts and giggles, lets insert Leon and Tasheka Moviegoers for Joe and Jane. Now, considering Hollywood's penchant of stroking their primary fan-base, giving them something they can feel (Joe/Jane Moviegoer to latch onto), did anyone else smell the repugnant odors of... well... maybe it's just me but I got the whiff of "every Joe and Janes needs white saviors to wrap their arms around"

    And see, just like Dylan Green, I found that mess boring as hell. But Dylan loved the visual effects. However, let me say this one mo time... BORING!

    So the main ape, Ceasar, emotes just like a human. I got that, move on. Ceasar looks realistic riding a horse and reminiscing about his days living with humans. I got that, spare me, I'm falling asleep over here.

    Are there some problems with this movie? You damn skippy, too many for this Leon to bare. Shake me, wake me when a good film hits the screen.

    Btw, don't touch me, let me sleep while next month's "Get On Up" lets many folks down.

  • Carl | July 14, 2014 12:24 AM

    Most would disagree and since you have no taste, we could give a shit if you didn't like it.

  • troublemaker | July 13, 2014 7:10 PMReply

    Tammy will make much more money than Think Like A Man Too. I don't think TLAM2 will hit 80M domestically and I don't see the foreign market bringing anything more that 2M (if that much). Black filmmakers really need to start telling stories that are more universal or they will become obsolete.

  • jaebanree | July 14, 2014 9:42 AM


    and it's all because of a lack of imagination, and a fear of leaving the safety net of raunchy rom-coms and melodrama.

  • Adam | July 13, 2014 5:51 PMReply

    It's disappointing that the focus is on the lagging box office, since in terms of the quality of the films themselves this has been one of the best summers in recent memory. So many of the big name movies have delivered exactly what I want out of my popcorn entertainment: Neighbors, Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, The Fault in Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were all surprisingly good. And that's not even counting the indie stuff that had limited releases.

  • Um no.. | July 13, 2014 6:51 PM

    What the hell is "popcorn entertainment?" Going to a movie expecting BS while eating over priced popcorn? The dumbing down continues.

  • Darkan | July 13, 2014 4:56 PMReply

    Films are bad. Bottom line. Not too many I'm interested in watching after a first viewing which makes me kind of reluctant to see it in the first place. If I won't want to own it after I see it, what does that say about the initial viewing. Most films are lackluster and boring even if they have a major budget.

  • Adam | July 13, 2014 9:32 PM

    Speak for yourself. Clearly we expect more from "popcorn entertainment," which I'd define as films providing light, escapist entertainment without insulting the audience's intelligence. I'd argue that each of the films I named succeeding at this (granted, to varying degree).

  • Captain Hook | July 13, 2014 3:51 PMReply

    Theater chains are too damn expensive. Why go out and get robbed and deal with dumb ass people and their talking and texting during the movie when you can download it? That's what people are doing. Piracy.

    Studios better start adding VOD to their releases or their numbers will continue to drop!

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