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Weekend B.O. May 30-June 1 (Is Steven Spielberg Right About The Impending Implosion?)

Box Office
by Sergio
June 1, 2014 1:44 PM
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Despite lackluster reviews which concentrated on the film’s thin story line and overabundance of special effects, Disney’s Maleficent with Angelina Jolie was, as expected,  No. 1 this weekend  with $70 million which was $10 million more than what had been predicted. It beat out last week’s No.1 film X-Men: Days of Future Past which dropped off  64% with a weekend gross of $32.6 million.

Which brings up something a few people, including myself,  have been noticing this summer film season so far. Yes, all these films are making huge amounts of money, and when you add in those all important overseas numbers which really determine if a film is successful or not, the studios are doing very well so far this season.

But what is noticeable, which is of concern to many people in the business,  are the huge second and third week b.o. drop-offs, which are always expected,  but this year so far are larger than usual, dropping on average 60% like X Men’s dropoff of 64% or Godzilla’s 62%.

What does this mean? Perhaps despite all the hype for this year’s films people are disappointed  with them. Or perhaps the audience for these films is actually getting smaller as the audience ages, which some box office analysts have been saying for some time.

In other words most of the people who really want to see Godzilla or the latest Spider Man movie come out the first week and then add to that the unenthusiastic word of mouth, the audience drops off sharply during the following weeks.

But as I’ve just mentioned the studios are still making so much money from them that they’re not concerned too much about that for now. But if the trend continues there are going to be a lot of very nervous studio execs trying to figure out what to do next.

And remember what Steven Spielberg predicted literally a year ago - that the studios are headed for major trouble soon. That some ideas by filmmakers "are too fringe-y for the movies” and "that's the big danger, and there's eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm."

The last time I recall that happened was in 1969-70 after a slew of big budgeted films crashed at the box office and Hollywood was forced to retrench and rethink what kind of films they wanted to make. The result was, during the 1970's to early 80's, perhaps the greatest, and most risk taking  era of American filmmaking ever. Maybe Hollywood does need another serious implosion.

As for Seth MacFarlane’s very disappointing  second feature A Million Ways To Die in The West, after his hysterical 2012 film Ted, it came in third with $17 million, though it was expected to do $25 million this weekend. However the film’s relatively reasonable $40 million budget also guarantees that, with its overseas b.o., it will make a nice profit, but nowhere remotely near the $550 million worldwide that Ted grossed.

And of course, as for Belle, the film jumped up another spot up to 11th place now playing on 525 screens for a weekend total of just under $1.3 million, and a total so far of $6.2. million. The film had the second lowest dropoff  of any film in the top 12 with just 22%.

1)  Maleficent BV $70,000,000  
2)  X-Men: Days of Future Past Fox $32,600,000 Total: $162,069,000 
3) A Million Ways to Die in the West Uni. $17,069,000 Total: $17,069,000 
4) Godzilla WB $12,225,000 Total: $174,657,000 
5) Blended WB $8,425,000 Total: $29,632,000 
6) Neighbors Uni. $7,715,000 Total: $128,601,000 
7) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Sony $3,775,000  Total: $192,730,000
8)  Million Dollar Arm BV $3,700,000 Total: $28,097,000 
9) Chef ORF $2,009,000 otal: $6,924,000 
10) The Other Woman Fox $1,425,000 Total: $81,112,000 
11) Belle FoxS $1,280,000 Total: $6,210,000 
12) Rio 2 Fox $1,045,000 Total: $124,250,000
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  • Donella | June 2, 2014 4:30 PMReply

    Belle was a well-done film. I saw it twice.

  • And | June 2, 2014 6:22 AMReply

    It is the global market which is preventing the implosion...that side of the business is still growing...if it were mainly domestic there would have already been an implosion

  • Daryl | June 1, 2014 7:27 PMReply

    Sergio makes some good points but I think he misses one point on the implosion. look around at the audience, do you really think it's a big audience for intelligent and challenging films? Just go on facebook for a minute or two and you will get your answer to that. I think it's the opposite of the audience getting tired of this type of entertainment, I think has to do more with technology and how audiences consume films. That's the reason for some of these box office grosses being smaller, it's not a shift in the paradigm of them wanting to see different stuff, it's more of they see this same stuff on other things besides going to the theaters.

  • Grimmitt | June 1, 2014 6:53 PMReply

    I really think theres a huge quality problem that has to be addressed. None of this summers blockbusters have blown me away so far, not the way The Raid 2 or Captain America 2 did. Godzilla was pretty good. Xmen not bad. But movie goers deserve better and smarter movies. Thats why I think grosses are down.

  • Dave's Deluxe | June 1, 2014 6:21 PMReply

    I interpreted Spielberg's warning was toward those studio A-Listers; they have the most to lose from an "implosion". Understand what "implosion" means to Spielberg: eventually greed will create a financial collapse (ex: audiences become sick of "believing the hype" on those tentpoles and abandon big-budget Hollywood, etc.)

    For the rest of us who deal with "alternative distribution", an "implosion" will level the playing field when audiences look for something new.

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