By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist June 8, 2014 at 12:40PM
Opening to slightly smaller numbers than predicted, Shailene Woodley’s romantic weepie “The Fault In Our Stars” took the number one slot this weekend, perhaps proving that you don’t need science-fiction or high concept in order for a YA novel to connect with audiences. While its weekend debut was below the $50 or even $55 million some were projecting after Thurs/Friday night’s incredibly strong numbers, it’s still a terrific opening for a movie that isn’t a franchise, isn't a summer blockbuster and doesn't feature explosions and or a huge star. Woodley isn’t a quite a “star” yet, but these numbers suggest she’s surely on her way.
Debuting with $49.2 million (that’s four times its budget, people), the opening gross was higher than the recent R-rated smash opening of “Neighbors,” but slightly lower than Woodley’s “Divergent” opening ($54.6 million). Let’s factor in that the popular YA novel – more popular than most assumed, evidently – went up against a wide-release Tom Cruise movie and summarily kicked its butt.
Even with “Edge Of Tomorrow” taking over IMAX screens and reaping that extra surcharge, the Tom Cruise-lead movie couldn’t even muster enough receipts to hit the #2 slot. Landing in a disappointing third position and grossing just $29.1 million (lower than the opening of “John Carter,” and even lower than Matt Damon’s “Elysium”), considering the film was budgeted at $175 million this is about as poor a performance as you can get. It’s the first time a major Tom Cruise movie hasn’t opened up #1 since… well, not that long ago, 2012’s “Jack Reacher” (at #2, before that, 2008’s “Valkyrie” at #4). It’s also the lowest grossing wide-release Cruise opening since ‘Reacher’ as well ($15.2 million in its opening weekend; “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” doesn’t really count because its opening $12.7 million weekend was a limited release).
Ironically, the Doug Liman-directed film co-starring Emily Blunt received rave reviews from critics (you can read two of our reviews here and for the record, this writer is probably in the middle, giving around a C-grade]. But that didn’t seem to matter, and perhaps that’s because “Edge Of Tomorrow” is more of a sci-fi actioner than it is a traditional Tom Cruise film; in many ways anyone could have starred in it. But it was sold on Tom Cruise’s name, so what happened? Maybe audiences got their fill of Tom Cruise in sci-fi with last year’s “Oblivion,” which didn’t exactly light up the box-office or audiences’ interest either ($37 million in its opening weekend).
Then there’s the fact that, believe it or not, Tom Cruise films don’t open that enormously stateside. Even “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” – which opened at #1 when it went wide in its second weekend – only grossed $29 million. BUT, and the important but: it had legs and it did gangbusters overseas. ‘Ghost Protocol’ grossed $209 million stateside and overall globally almost $700 million. Cruise's highest grossing stateside opening ever is the $64 million haul for Spielberg's "War of the Worlds." In the last 10 years there's been a lot of North American underperformers -- "Jack Reacher," “Rock Of Ages” (though more of an ensemble piece and less a “Tom Cruise movie”) "Knight & Day," "Valkyrie" and "Lions For Lambs." But it often doesn’t really hurt the actor’s brand as his films usually make bank overseas and usually close to double what they make at home (see “Oblivion,” and “Mi4”). Likewise, “Edge of Tomorrow” amassed almost three times its gross overseas this weekend ($82 million), and that number is likely going to keep climbing.
As for Shailene Woodley, this is excellent news for her. Hollywood’s been trying their damndest to turn her into the next Jennifer Lawrence, even casting her in a sci-fi YA film, “Divergent,” that hoped to replicate the success of “The Hunger Games.” But while “Divergent” has done a healthy $148 million domestically and $118 worldwide (for $267 million worldwide), it definitely opened softly internationally, which is usually where the grosses are two or three times as high for big tentpoles. Clearly, she has to be made a star in the U.S. first, but with the massive opening for “Fault Of Our Stars” (which yes, is massive for the type of film it is considering we’re in the heart of the summer blockbuster season and its opening next to a Tom Cruise tentpole), her star is going to ascend any minute now. The movie was frontloaded from Thursday/Friday numbers (a premium-priced "The Night Before Our Stars" event with $25 tickets didn’t hurt), and so the movie fell off its original north-of-$55-million projections. So it’ll be interesting to see how much it tumbles in its second week, but no matter, it’s a success already.
As for the rest, well Angelina Jolie showed legs, her “Maleficent” fairytale only fell 53%, took the #2 spot and grossed around $33.5 million. Plus there’s the international star power of Jolie; the movie grossed a massive $93 million this weekend overseas. The movie has already grossed $127 million at home and approximately $335 million worldwide (international numbers may not be accurate just yet) and so you can already smell the brimstone-y sequel on the horizon. $400 million is certainly within reach at this pace.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" is still climbing and in the top 5. It's passed $600 million globally and it is about $11 million shy of $200 million at home. The Bryan Singer-directed blockbuster may not go much higher than $220 stateside, which is low for a tentpole, but it’s been a tough season this year and audiences aren’t flocking to all the wide releases in droves this summer. Still, ‘DOFP’ is the highest grossing film in the 'X-Men' series globally and should be able to surpass 'The Last Stand' in the U.S. after all is said and done. The question is, after just three weeks in theaters, how high can those international numbers go?
Speaking of “Neighbors,” it's surpassed “Ride Along” to become the highest grossing comedy of the year domestically. The R-Rated comedy has made $138.7 million at home so far and is easily going to hit the $150 million mark. No wonder Seth Rogen and co. are considering a sequel.
Further down this week's chart, "Godzilla" has $200 million domestic within sight, "The Amazing Spider-Man" finally fell out of the top 10 this weekend and it still hasn't cracked $200 million domestically. But as usual, the tale is told by the overseas audience: "Godzilla" has almost hit $400 million globally and 'Spider-Man' will soon hit $700 million. And it’s finally out-earned another ‘Spider-Man’ film in the series; its $503 million international gross has surpassed the first Marc Webb-directed film. A relief for Sony who have taken a beating in the press for the movie's underwhelming performance with U.S. audiences and critics.
As you might imagine, Seth MacFarlane’s "A Million Ways To Die In The West" was gunned down in its second week, falling 56%. But it’s still in the top 5 and has made $30 million so far. Unfortunately, the comedy is a costly period Western and international audiences won’t bite. In limited release A24’s “Obvious Child” starring Jenny Slate had the highest per screen average with $27k from 3 venues for a $81k total.
*International numbers are still coming in and may be updated later.
1.The Fault in Our Stars – $48.2 million
2. Maleficent –$33.5 million ($127.6m)
3. Edge of Tomorrow – $29.1 million
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $14.7 million ($189.1m)
5. A Million Ways to Die in the West – $7.1 million ($30.0m)
6. Godzilla – $5.95 million ($185 m)
7. Neighbors – $5.2 million ($137.8m)
8. Blended – $4.05 million ($36.5m)
9. Chef – $2.45 million ($10.35m)
10. Million Dollar Arm – $1.9 million ($31.4m)