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Box-Office: ‘Captain America’ Threepeats At #1, Johnny Depp’s ‘Transcendence’ Flops Hard

Box Office
by Rodrigo Perez
April 20, 2014 12:24 PM
5 Comments
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Disney is having a good year. Thanks to the insane success of “Frozen” and their Marvel studios wing, the studio has already crossed the $1 billion mark for 2014 and it’s not even May. Part of that success is thanks to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which spent its third week at the #1 box-office spot. Crossing the $200 million mark domestically, the film added another $26.6 million to its domestic tally (only down 36% from the previous weekend) and banked another $35.3 million overseas for $586 million total worldwide. Could it be one of Marvel's highest grossing films ever? Maybe, but it still has a ways to go to crack the top 2 ("Avengers" with 1.5 billion and "Iron Man 3" with $1.2 billion).

As it stands, ‘Winter Soldier’ will surpass “Thor: The Dark World” any minute now (therefore cracking the domestic top 5 for Marvel Cinematic Universe films), and globally, it ranks as the fifth highest grossing film in the MCU so far (and landing in the top three should be doable at this pace). Speaking of Disney, the "Frozen" juggernaut keeps going. It's now at $1.129 billion worldwide, making it the 6th highest-grossing movie of all-time. Expect a bounty of sequels to eventually come.

If he weren’t making eight kajillion dollars per movie, Johnny Depp would be worried. The actor’s “Transcendence” movie (directed by Christopher Nolan DP Wally Pfister) tanked rather hard with only a paltry $11.1 million opening. “Transcendence” was budgeted by Warner Bros. at $100 million (so that probably means $120 million), and that’s not including promotion and advertising, so let’s just say this is WB’s first extremely big flop of the year. Especially since it’s got global superstar Johnny Depp in the lead. This is Johnny Depp’s fourth flop in a row (“The Lone Ranger,” 2012's “Dark Shadows” and 2011's “The Rum Diaries”) and his worst wide opening (3000+ theaters) since the ‘Pirates’ movie made him a star. Agents and business managers might be worried too, if they weren’t all making a mint. 

OK, so Johnny Depp can’t open a movie that isn’t a gigantic tentpole? Well, that’s kind of the studio's problem, not his. He’s got a 5thPirates of the Caribbean” movie in the works and another “Alice In Wonderland” cooking up too. And the way studios see it, both these films could conceivably hit the desired $1 billion mark—so in the end, the smaller losses are worth it. Additionally, critics (and audiences it seemed) hated “Transcendence” itself, so it’s arguably not all Depp’s fault. He got paid, his people got paid, but maybe someone just needs to give this guy better screenplays. Unless WB quickly pulls the plug on “Black Mass” (which I doubt they will), you can probably assume its business as usual for the superstar.

Rio 2” held strong to keep the #2 position. taking in an estimated $22.5 million (and only down 35% from last weekend). This certainly bodes well for its long-term legs. The big talking point of the weekend, other than Depp's flop, is Sony's religious drama "Heaven Is Real” (lord, what a title). The movie took in a terrific $21.5 million in its opening weekend with no stars to speak of (Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church) and a rather quiet marketing campaign (or let’s just say in New York, we’d barely heard about it, other states were problem fed much harder). The film had $9,200 per screen, which was higher than any movie in the top 10. Disney might be having a killer year, but Disneynature’s “Bears” was evidently not enticing enough. It turned out to be Disneynature’s lowest opening to date, failing to crack the top 10 with a $4.7 million weekend.

Having grossed $133 million domestically, $184 million worldwide, "Divergent" showed good legs, only dropping 21% in its fifth weekend. These are not "Hunger Games" numbers, but the movie should easily be able to reach the $200 million mark worldwide. That's still not amazing (300 would be much better), but maybe it can still play in theaters for at least another 6–7 weeks. Having only grossed $50 million overseas so far the movie hasn’t impressed internationally either. But it still has yet to open up in bigger markets like China, Japan and Russia so maybe there’s still hope. And, as Box Office Mojo notes, the movie has earned more than “Ender's Game,” “Mortal Instruments,” “The Host” and “Vampire Academy” combined domestically. So, while not a “Twilight”-like smash hit, relative to most YA adaptations so far, it’s a fairly good success (though to be fair, most of those films tanked too).

The story behind Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" is getting better and better. Still in the top 10, the $125-million-costing epic has now grossed almost $300 million worldwide. It should crack the $100 million mark soon too. Of course it would probably need to hit the $400 million mark worldwide to be considered a true success once you factor in P&A, sharing profit with theaters, etc., but still it seemed to have weathered mediocre reviews and rather mighty 61% drop off in its second week (the weekend when ‘Winter Soldier’ took over).

Let’s clarify for all those making headlines: yes, Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is his highest grossing film ever, but that’s internationally only (it’s made $109 million). That’s a terrific success, but its $44 million stateside tally is still short of the $52 million "The Royal Tenenbaums" grossed in 2001. Though at this rate, it should be able to get there by the end of the summer. Elsewhere in the limited release field, John Turturro's “Fading Gigolo” scored a great opening despite the drama surrounding Woody Allen, who also stars. The movie opened to $198,379 from five locations for a location average of $39,680 and the second highest per screen average of the year so far behind "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Meanwhile, David Gordon Green's "Joe" starring Nicolas Cage is doing kind of terrible in limited release for some reason and you really should support that film over more than half the films in this top 10.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $26,612,000 ($201,526,000)
2. Rio 2 - $22,500,000 ($75,363,000)
3. Heaven is for Real – $21,500,000 ($28,500,000)
4. Transcendence - $11,150,000
5. A Haunted House 2 $9,100,000
6. Draft Day - $5,900,000 – ($19,548,000)
7. Divergent $5,750,000 ($133,915,000)
8 .Oculus - $5,202,000 ($21,191,000)
9. Noah - $5,000,000 $93,274,000
10. God's Not Dead - $4,801,000 ($48,327,000)

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5 Comments

  • kitcon | April 20, 2014 9:58 PMReply

    "so in the end, the smaller losses are worth it" - would be true if Transcendence was a Disney film, but since Warner/Alcon aren't sharing in the POTC and Alice bounty, this sizeable loss wouldn't be "worth it" from their or their shhareholders' view. Johnny will have to take a paycut for his non-Disney roles.

  • k | April 20, 2014 6:35 PMReply

    I'm such a putz.

  • d | April 20, 2014 12:56 PMReply

    The Royal Tenenbaums made $52 million domestically, $71 million worldwide.

  • cirkusfolk | April 20, 2014 12:53 PMReply

    U mean Royal Tenebaums' 52 million domestic take? Don't know where you got 77 from.

  • RP | April 20, 2014 12:56 PM

    My bad. I was looking at the worldwide Royal Tenenbaums take. Fixed, thx.

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