Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Five Takeaways as 'Sex Tape' Flops, Summer Top Ten Box Office Continues Downward Spiral

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood July 20, 2014 at 4:23PM

The summer box office downward spiral continues, with another big drop. The Top Ten grossed $130 million compared to $174 million last year; 2014 is down 6% from 2013. What gives?
22
Sex Tape
Sex Tape

The summer box office downward spiral continues, with another big drop. The Top Ten grossed $130 million compared to $174 million last year; 2014 is down 6% from 2013. What gives?

More new films of uneven strength are lagging behind comparable efforts amid a plethora of sequels and a lack of top-draw films. A few tentpoles worthy of the name are in fact holding up the overall box office. Long-term word of mouth successes include "22 Jump Street" (down 28%), at $180 million the biggest live-action comedy since "Ted" (and within $40 million of its total), and in its eighth weekend in the Top Ten, "Maleficent" (down only 22%), at a total $228 million. Even films that had mixed initial reactions are holding on due to the weakness of the newer films.

The below-average percentage drops for holdovers has been a positive development this summer. Of the holdovers in the Top Ten, only the disappointing 50% drop for "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" in its second week seems more than expected. 

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"

Top Ten Grosses:


1. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (20th Century Fox) Week 2 - Last weekend #1
    $36,000,000 (-50%) in 3,969 theaters (+2); PSA (per screen average): $9,070; Cumulative: $138,953,000
2. "The Purge: Anarchy" (Universal) NEW - Cinemascore: B; Criticwire: C+ ; Metacritic: 49
    $28,369,000 in 2,805 theaters; PSA: $10,114; Cumulative: $28,369,000
3. "Planes: Fire and Rescue" (Buena Vista) NEW - Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 48
    $18,000,000 in 3,826 theaters; PSA: $; Cumulative: $4,705 $18,000,000
4. "Sex Tape" (Sony) NEW - Cinemascore: C+; Criticwire: C; Metacritic: 37
    $15,000,000 in 3,062 theaters; PSA: $4,899; Cumulative: $15,000,000
5. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (Paramount) Week 4 - Last weekend #2
    $10,000,000 (-39%) in 3,224 theaters (-689); PSA: $3,102; Cumulative: $227,157,000
6. "Tammy" (Warner Bros.) Week 3 - Last weekend #3
    $ (-39%) in 3,402 theaters (-63); PSA: $2,235; Cumulative: $71,253,000
7. "22 Jump Street" (Sony) Week 6- Last weekend #4
    $4,700,000 (-28%) in 2,229 theaters (-580); PSA: $2,109; Cumulative: $180,509,000
8. "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (20th Century Fox) Week 6 - Last weekend #5
    $3,800,000 (-37%) in 2,169 theaters (-716); PSA: $1,752; Cumulative: $160,672,000
9. "Maleficent" (Buena Vista) Week 8 - Last weekend #8
    $3,302,000 (-21%) in 1,541 theaters (-536); PSA: $2,143; Cumulative: $228,367,000
10. "Earth to Echo" (Relativity) Week - Last weekend #6
    $3,260,000 (-41%) in 2,450 theaters (-780); PSA: $1,331; Cumulative: $31,979,000
Maleficent

The Takeaways

1. Opening films lag behind their predecessors
This week's new releases include two sequels and a third opener trying to repeat a past success by replicating the key elements. All three fell short. "The Purge: Anarchy" grossed about $6 million less than last year's first-go round. The second "Planes" film came in $4 million behind last summer's surprise (and, as an intended home video release switched to theatrical, much less promoted) success. And most disappointing, Jake Kasdan's "Sex Tape," meant to score a repeat of his $100 million "Bad Teacher" with the same two stars, came in with less than half that film's opening gross. Of these, only "Planes: Fire and Rescue" got a strong Cinemascore, so the future is not bright for the other two.2. Theaters suffering more from weak box office than studios
Six of the Top Ten have budgets of $50 million or less (before marketing costs). "The Purge: Anarchy," from horror maestro Jason Blum, cost more than the original, but still came in at a modest $13 million. Last year's overall higher-grossing films had only three in the similar range. Though the most expensive films have mainly scored below expectations domestically, there have been fewer out-and-out flops this summer due to studio cost-cutting efforts. Meantime theaters have the same expenses and face a more acute shortfall.

3. Sequels dominate
Four of the Top Five and six of the Top Ten are sequels. Often first sequels top their previous film's opening grosses, but none did this time. The public may be tired of same old same old. By comparison, the same weekend over the past three years saw a total of eight sequels make the Top Ten. What makes sense on paper with easy brand marketing seems to no longer be working. (The strong expansion of "Boyhood" to more suburban theaters in New York and Los Angeles suggests an initial craving for something fresh).

4. The horror genre may be running out of gas at last
Last summer "The Purge" and later "The Conjuring" continued a respectable showing among horror films after "Mama" and "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" opened strong, and "Evil Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw 3D" also opened at #1. This year's top opener in the genre remains "Paranormal Activity 2" at $32 million. "Anarchy" will be profitable, but it has now become more of a struggle for studios to make easy money off of the genre. No horror film has opened at #1 so far this year

5. The heartland interest in right-wing films continues
Right-wing themes continues to be victimization and exposes of Liberal life in America. Dinesh Souza created this genre with "2016: Obama's America" two years ago. His recent "America" (Lionsgate) continues to linger beneath the Top Ten, not close to his first film's performance, but still respectable at #12 with $1,725,000 and a total of $11,469,000. Two new films entered the scene this weekend. The first, with the unsubtle title "Persecuted" (Millennium), has an all-time low Metacritic score of 7 and the response seems to indicate that there is a limit to the intended audience's patience. This story about how a liberal Senator frames a fundamentalist preacher for murder managed only $959,000 in 736 theaters.

Meanwhile a new documentary got off to a strong start: "There's No Place Like Utopia" (from Rocky Mountain, which triumphed with "2016") opened at one Colorado theater for a very impressive $27,800, backed by a strong grass roots campaign. This effort is a Michael Moore-style guerilla-style documentary meant as an expose for the evils and failures of progressive America.

'22 Jump Street'
'22 Jump Street'

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, The Purge: Anarchy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Maleficent, 22 Jump Street


E-Mail Updates