By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist July 27, 2014 at 11:58AM
Call it a battle of the beauty and the beast if you like. Though audiences didn’t seem to love Luc Besson’s “Lucy” or Brett Ratner’s “Hercules”—at least considering those dismal Cinemascore ratings (C+ for the former). But they were unsure about either and curious, as reviews for both hit rather late in the week. And so viewers chose “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson—reviews being largely, “ridiculous, but entertaining”—over Dwayne Johnson and “Hercules”—reviews more akin to “ridiculous and just bad.” The critical buzz surely didn’t hurt, Besson not having made a critically lauded film in some time, and perhaps audiences wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And so “Lucy” perched itself atop the box office this weekend, hauling in approximately $44 million. That makes for the highest grossing box office debut for a Scarlett Johansson-starring vehicle ever (all those Marvel films don't really count) by a rather large margin. Perhaps 2006's the "Black Dahlia" ($10 million opening) is the last movie that could be considered a "starring" role for the actress.
It’s also Besson’s highest domestic opening by about $27 million, give or take (“The Fifth Element” in 1997 would now be his second highest bow). So “Lucy” did well, and it's good on the star and director, but that low Cinemascore suggests a plummet next week, especially with “Guardians Of The Galaxy” in theaters. But Johansson’s opening does earn her bragging rights. For recent sci-fi-ish debuts she bested recent opening weekends by Tom Cruise ("Edge Of Tomorrow," and "Oblivion"), Matt Damon ("Elysium"), Johnny Depp ("Transcendence") and Will Smith (“After Earth”). You can bet Marvel’s paying attention to this stat (a “Black Widow” movie, anyone?).
“Hercules” couldn’t muster much might. It was rather painful to hear word of scattered applause when Dwayne Johnson asked San Diego’s Comic-Con Friday if they went to one of the free screenings he had provided for fans. The “Hercules” panel by all accounts was rather dismal and during the thick of Saturday’s Comic-Con bonanza, Universal was even releasing new clips in hopes that journos would post and give the film any little help it could help. Johnson was considered the No. 1 box office star of 2013 internationally and while “Hercules” could’ve potentially had a life abroad, the movie charted only charted $28.7 million overseas and an unimpressive $29 million in the number two slot at home. This is his lowest opening since "The Scorpion King" in 2002.
Coming up for the bronze—at least for new releases—was Rob Reiner's "And So It Goes," starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. It could not crack the top 5, taking in just over $4 million on 1,762 screens (a very poor showing). "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" added another $16 million to its healthy total. After three weeks in release, the movie is narrowing in on $200 million and should reach that figure in about two weeks. But the movie did drop another 54% and the movie doesn’t look like it's going to reach those $220-$230 million domestic total predictions. But the movie has grossed $350 million worldwide in three weeks, we'll see if those $600 million total predictions can hold.
"The Purge: Anarchy" took a big 64% tumble from last weekend and took in around $10 million. Meanwhile, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" keeps rising. It's the third highest domestic grossing movie of 2014 ($233 million), but its momentum is also slowing down and it may not surpass "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" at number one (reigning champ so far this year at $258 million). Of course maybe that matters little when you’re the highest grossing film globally to the tune of $966 million (some international figures still coming in…). The movie is bound to crack the $1 billion mark by next week. $730 million of that figure is international, including a whopping $300 million from China. Don’t be surprised if/when a ‘Transformers’ movie is just set in Beijing and don’t expect these movies to stop any time soon.
Elsewhere at the box-office "Planes: Fire & Rescue" is holding on (only a 48% drop from last weekend) and "Sex Tape" fell almost 60% in its second weekend, which means this comedy is largely done. Melissa McCarthy's poorly-reviewed "Tammy" still has some legs. The movie has grossed $78 million at home so far (though projections of hitting the $100 million mark are now probably off).
It’s now fallen out of the top 10, but after seven weeks in theaters, "22 Jump Street" has raked in a haul of $185 million. That now makes it the sixth highest grossing R-Rated comedy of all time domestically. A strong figure that will at least make all involved reconsider their “this franchise is probably over now” stance. While it's fallen off the top 10, Angelina Jolie's "Maleficent" has turned out to be one of summer's biggest hits and it's grossed $715 million globally, surpassing “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which is now the fourth highest grossing movie of the year worldwide.
Perhaps bolstered by strong reviews and one of the last chances to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen, "A Most Wanted Man" grossed $2.2 million and even surprisingly cracking the top 10. In 361 theaters, the movie earned a $6,020 per screen average. Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" is still charting well too. Expanding into over 100 theaters this weekend, the movie is now at $4.1 million after three weeks of release (two of them being very limited). The indie took in an estimated $1.58 million this weekend for a $16,120 per screen average. The movie is now in IFC Films' top five where highest grossing releases are concerned and it's definitely on track to be of their best releases ever.
But the per screen average winner in limited release this weekend was Woody Allen’s “Magic In The Moonlight” starring Emma Stone and Colin Firth. In 17 theaters, the movie grossed $425K for a $25,043 per screen average. That “won” the weekend, but suggests older audiences are still listening to reviewers (who were definitely cool and mixed on Allen’s latest). In comparison, the extremely well received "Midnight in Paris" had a $99,834 per screen average in 2011 (still ranking high as one of the best limited indie openings ever). Open Road's concert film, “The Fluffy Movie,” debuted with $1.3M on 432 screens making for a $3,042 P.S.A. Zach Braff's kickstarter movie "Wish I Was Here" isn't doing any better in moderately wider release. The movie scored a $1,776 per screen average from 625 theaters.
2). Hercules $29M
3). Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes — $16.4M ($172.1M)
4). The Purge: Anarchy — $9.9M ($35.1M)
5). Planes: Fire & Rescue — $9.3M+ ($35.5M)
6). Sex Tape — $5.9M ($26.5M)
7). Transformers: Age Of Extinction — $4.6M ($236M)
8). And So It Goes —$4.5M
9). Tammy — $3.4M ($78M)
10). “A Most Wanted Man”— $2.7M