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."