Let’s recap since we didn’t really do a proper box-office report last weekend (aside from this brief report). Despite middling reviews, and tepid online buzz, Platinum Dunes’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot surprised everyone with a $65 million debut weekend that took the #1 slot and prevented Marvel’s “Guardians Of The Galaxy” from claiming the top slot for two weeks in a row. Clearly some members of the population (maybe kids with less bias) were more than happy to shell over their money for ‘TMNT.’ Marvel’s ‘Guardians’ wasn’t able to repeat at #1 like many expected, but it hasn't mattered much. The movie took only 15 days to hit the $200 million mark which is the fastest film to hit that milestone in 2014.
This weekend, ‘Guardians’ showed strong legs and only dropped 41% and took its North American total to $222.2 million making for Marvel’s second highest grossing non-sequel after “Iron Man,” which hit $320 million in 2008 (the movie has even outgrossed the entire domestic run of “Thor: The Dark World” already). At this rate, the movie is poised to become the highest grossing film of 2014 stateside and should be able to easily surpass 2014’s current domestic champ, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ($259 million). Could it hit $300 million at home? It’s hard to say. August box-office attendance tends to sharply drop off in late August and early September, but the trajectory of ‘Guardians’ grosses aren’t falling off that much. It’ll be interesting to see if the fall film festival narrative has any impact on the movie as the media moves away from summer movies and starts talking Oscars and drama. But as potentially the only real draw in theaters until mid-September, ‘Guardians’ could potentially cut through all the noise and keep audiences in attendance. And in 17 days of release the movie has grossed a stellar $418 million worldwide. This was supposed to be Marvel’s big risk (no real A-list stars, a comic-book property most were unfamiliar with), so it proves they know how to reach and please audiences, and also illustrates they could be unstoppable for the foreseeable future.
And no one would have ever expected it, but it’s actually “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” that has held the #1 box-office slot for two weeks in a row. The movie only fell 57% in its second week – suggesting, maybe kids are still forcing dad to take them – and added $28.4 million to a domestic haul which is now at $117 million. No wonder Paramount green lit a sequel so quickly. ‘Turtles’ will surpass its $125 milion budget by next weekend and the $135 million total of the original 1990 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Whether it hits $200 million at home remains to be seen, but for Paramount's low expectations, this movie is already a hit. Internationally the property isn't as large it seems. The movie's only grossed $67 million for a $185 worldwide total, but actually, it’s only opened up in twelve territories and there’s many more markets to come including China and Japan.
It was a type of bloodbath for new releases this weekend. Sylvester Stallone’s “Expendables 3,” – the third film in the franchise for Pete’s sake! – couldn’t even outgross 20th Centuary Fox’s terribly received comedy “Let’s Be Cops.” Both films were met with middling reviews (inexplicably, a Playlister liked ‘EXP3’), but evidently audiences would rather occasionally laugh than spend time with Stallone's aging action all-stars. Franchises are supposed to gross more with each installment; this is why they're made in the first place. No matter the quality, the brand builds itself up and more change is made each time (usually anyhow). The opposite is true for “The Expendables,” at least stateside. Each 'EXP' film has opened less than the last one and "The Expendables 3" $16.2 million opening is the lowest of all three films. You could blame it on downloading – surely the studio will (the film leaked online a few weeks ago) – but the average age of audiences who want to see the Expendables traditionally (and statistically) don't download as much as the tech-savvier younger crowd who don’t really see the crime as a transgression.
Internationally of course, the narrative is different. "The Expendables 2" grossed $305 million. Par for the course these days, while Stallone seems old hat at home, he and other aging stars (Tom Cruise, now in his 50s), still perform significantly better overseas. This is why despite performing poorly in the U.S., ‘Expendables’ movies are still made. ‘EXP3’ hasn’t opened in many international territories yet, but we’d bet the overall downloading affect will hurt its worldwide box-office gross. That, and the fact that audiences seem tired of this gimmicky franchise.
It's kind of amazing that a comedy with two TV stars relatively unknown, at least in comparison to Stallone and crew, could outbest the third outing, but Fox's "Let's Be Cops" did just that. Made for a low $17 million, and in theaters early since Wednesday, the movie has grossed $26.1 million so far. Maybe if it stays in theaters for a few weeks and audiences actually care, it’ll make a modest return.
The writing was on the wall for The Weinstein Company’s “The Giver.” The company desperately wants to be in the hit Y.A. business, but has failed to do so thus far. While the movie boasted Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, the kids really care about the teens and Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush and Cameron Monaghan (seemingly chosen at Teen Choice Award randomness) apparently didn’t connect. TWC always seems to be marketing these films to the media rather than the intended audience, and that seemed to be part of the problem as critics mostly described the film as unimaginative and dull. But the YA genre can be lucrative so expect every studio to keep trying until the trend dies off. The movie couldn’t muster more than $12 million in its opening weekend and expect this one to disappear from studios rather quickly.
Meanwhile, the unremarkable "Into The Storm" has grossed a meager $31 million in two weeks and even its relatively inexpensive cost ($50 million) might not be eclipsed at this point. Disney’s “The Hundred-Foot Journey” was never going to be a huge hit and it doesn’t seem like it's connected with the same older crowd that ate up “The Exotic Marigold Hotel.” It’s at $23 million after two weeks and has just surpassed its small budget. After four weeks in release, Luc Besson's "Lucy" has cracked the $100 million mark at home. While it made a lot of noise for being the #1 film at the box-office its opening weekend (with a female action star lead), its subsequent grosses haven’t been spectacular. While there are still more territories to open the movie has only grossed $168 million worldwide, so unless it’s a huge hit in China, Japan, the United Kingdom or Russia, it’s possible the film won’t even crack $200 million worldwide.
In case you missed it, Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” cracked the $10 million mark last weekend and this week the film – which expanded into 771 theaters – cracked the top 10. It’s domestic total is $13.8 million and worldwide it’s at $22 million. This is a massive success for IFC and in fact by next weekend, the movie will surpass “Y Tu Mama Tambien” to become the second highest grossing film the company has ever released. But forget the #1 slot, that’s held by the $241 million-grossing “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” an outlying phenomenon for the studio that may not ever repeat itself.
Elsewhere, outside the box-office top 10, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has cracked the $200 million mark at home. It’s made $536 million worldwide too and surpassed the first film by around $22 million. And that figure’s only going to climb, but it looks as those early estimates ($250 million domestically, well over $600 million worldwide) may not be reached. ‘Dawn’ is perhaps a good example of the cruelty of the box-office competition. Well-received, well-reviewed and making a ton of money, in its opening, it seems that audiences have been sated already after six weeks of release. “22 Jump Street” has made a rather remarkable $304 million worldwide while "Maleficent" is the third highest grossing movie of the year, worldwide having hit the $743 million mark (having outpaced "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2.") Still no Spider-Man sequel announced amazingly, but expect that to eventually change.
The narrative really sharply shifted on “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” at least at home. The movie is the highest grossing film of the year worldwide and with a figure over $1 billion, it’s likely going to keep that title all year, but Michael Bay’s movie dropped off hard stateside. After 8 weeks of release, the movie is not even #25 on the box-office 100, and its grosses at home have become negligible. The movie, once touted as likely being able to become the highest grossing film of 2014 domestically, has stalled at #3 with $243 million. That number’s not going to change significantly either as the movie made $200k this weekend. In comparison, "Edge Of Tomorrow" made $332K in its 10th week of release. So yes, many of these big blockbusters are like fireworks, make a spectacular opening display, but fizzle fast. Still, with Bay’s 2014 worldwide bragging rights, he may not care so much (also it’s the sixth highest grossing film of all time now overseas). But cares enough to not direct the next one it seems. And that domestic/international disparity gulf keeps getting larger and larger.
In additional limited release, CBS Films’ “What If” has been a massive bomb. It actually expanded to 787 theaters and has been one of the worst nationwide expansions of the year (“The Rover” is sadly #1). Three Sundance films also opened up in limited release: "The Trip to Italy," "Frank" and "Life After Beth." The first two did well ('Italy' with a $23,859 PSA was one of the best limited openings of the summer, "Frank" had a $16,000 PSA), but “Life After Beth,” which has already been on DirectTV for about a month opened very soft (a weak $9,000 PSA).
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—$28.4m ($117.6m)
2. Guardians of the Galaxy —$24.7m ($222.2m)
3. Let's Be Cops Fox — $17.7m ($26.1m)
4. The Expendables 3—$16.2m
5. The Giver —$12.7m
6. Into The Storm — $7.7m ($31.3m)
7. The Hundred-Foot Journey — $7.1m ($23.6m)
8. Lucy — $5,317,000 ($107.5)
9. Step Up All In —$2.7m ($11.8m)
10. Boyhood — $2.1m ($13.8m)