With the strong initial grosses for "The Fault in Our Stars" (20th Century Fox), another young adult novel has turned into a significant hit, although with a more conventional romantic take than franchises "Twilight," "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent." And for the second weekend in a row, in the heart of critical summer play-time, female audiences are again reversing the domestic May turndown that a string of decent fan-boy oriented action films failed to prevent.
"Fault" grossed $26.1 million between Thursday night (including $25 special event screenings) and Friday, already doubling its meager initial production budget of $12 million. The tearjerker story stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (both were also in "Divergent"). Its initial success shows once again the ascendancy of female moviegoers as a viable source of prime-season ticket-buying and an audience hunger for story-based, non-special effects-driven alternatives.
"Edge of Tomorrow" (Warner Bros.), the decently received $178 million sci-fi actioner starring Tom Cruise -- a much more conventional June release -- saw an initial take of $10,655,000 (again including Thursday night). That made it #2 for the day, but a likely #3 for the weekend. That is slightly ahead of what the fellow, usually reliable Will Smith saw for the first day of "After Earth" last year. International, likely to be far stronger, will determine the fate of this expensive venture.
Last weekend's #1 "Maleficent" (Buena Vista) came in third for the day with $10,140,000, but looks to rise to #2 for the weekend with about a 50% drop. That would make a 1-2 female-driven triumph. This success also boosted the day's Top 10 take to over $59 million, a healthy increase from the $51 million last year for the day.
The rest of the films on the list fall off shortly, with "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (20th Century Fox) dropping more than 50% again with $4,515,000 at #4. Falling more than 60% in its second weekend, Seth MacFarlane's disappointing "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (Universal) took #5 at $2.2 million.
The rest of the Top 10 mostly saw significant drops, with only "Neighbors" (dropping only about a third) and "Chef" (with a nearly doubled theater counter boosting its gross) holding well:
6) "Godzilla" (Sony) - $1,770,000
7) "Neighbors" (Universal) - $1,600,000
8) "Blended" (Warner Bros.) - $1,255,000
9) "Chef" (Open Road) - $716,000
10) "Million Dollar Arm" (Buena Vista) - $591,000