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'If I Stay' Leads Dull Friday Box Office, Will 'A Dame to Kill For' Be Weinstein's Biggest Bomb Yet?

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood August 23, 2014 at 1:36PM

The total for the Top Ten yesterday was actually up about 15-percent from the same day last year, but only because this year's three new openers had considerably more heft.
'If I Stay'
'If I Stay'

The total for the Top Ten yesterday was actually up about 15-percent from the same day last year, but only because this year's three new openers had considerably more heft. (Edgar Wright's cult comedy "The World's End," in around 1,500 theaters, was the best of three fresh entries in 2013, with two weaker films lagging behind.)

Pre-weekend estimates suggested that the newbies -- young adult tear-jerker adaptation "If I Stay" (Warner Bros.) Robert Rodriguez's collaborative action sequel "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (The Weinstein Company) and high school football drama "When the Game Stands Tall" (Sony) would, combined, gross over $50 million for the weekend. Instead, they barely grossed $12 million total yesterday (including under $2 million for Thursday evening shows). It looks like they'll be lucky to reach the mid thirties.

"If I Stay" stood out ahead of the other two, coming in first for the day at $6.8 million. But the other two fell much lower: "When the Game" fifth hit $3 million, while "Sin City" fared even worse, in sixth-place at $2.6 million. Both "Stay" and "Game" could show strength over the rest of the weekend and share low budgets ($11 and $15 million respectively, though with marketing costs higher than that, making their profit prospects uncertain). No uncertainty exists for "Sin City"s outlook. With its budget pre-marketing estimated at between $60-70 million, it looks, barring phenomenal foreign returns, to become one of the biggest flops in the storied Miramax/The Weinstein Company history.

The relative good news came from decent holds for three films that have showed earlier strength. "Guardians of the Galaxy" (Buena Vista) was second for the day with $4.8 million, down less than a third from last Friday and having an outside chance of overtaking "Stay" for the whole weekend. Third was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Paramount) grossing $4.5 million, down a bit over 40% in its third weekend. "Let's Be Cops" (Universal) had a similar minor fall to place fourth with $3.2 million in its second weekend, with its three-day drop projected to be even lower.

Last week's other new films fared much less well. Weinstein's "The Giver" grossed a little over $2 million (compared to $4,750,000 last Friday) to place seventh, "The Expendable 3" (Lionsgate) dropped more than two-thirds to under $1.9 million and eighth. "Into the Storm" (Warner Bros.) fell less in its third and placed tenth. Buena Vista's "The Hundred-Foot Journey" fell only 20-percent, doing $1.6 and ending up at ninth for the day, possibly higher for the whole weekend.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, If I Stay, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.