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'The Purge' Opens Friday to Five Times Its Budget; 'Much Ado' Opens Strong Limited

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood June 8, 2013 at 3:11PM

"The Purge," the first film from horror producer Jason Blum ("Paranormal Activity," "Insidious") to be released by Universal, grossed almost $17 million on Friday (including Thursday night late shows), more than five times its reported $3 million production cost, to be the dominant #1 film for the day.
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Ethan Hawke in 'The Purge'
Ethan Hawke in 'The Purge'

"The Purge," the first film from horror producer Jason Blum ("Paranormal Activity," "Insidious") to be released by Universal, grossed almost $17 million on Friday (including Thursday night late shows), more than five times its reported $3 million production cost, to be the dominant #1 film for the day. Benefiting from a gap since the last pure genre entry "Evil Dead" in early April and a smart social media marketing campaign, it grossed a little less than three times the total for the next three biggest films: "The Internship" (20th Century-Fox), "Fast & Furious 6" (Universal) and "Now You See Me" (Lionsgate), all of which grossed between $6 and $6.5 million.

1. The quick success for "The Purge," while good news for its backers, wasn't enough to boost the entire weekend. After two weeks of improved business after a consistent lag through most of the year, grosses yesterday for the top 10 were down significantly, to $50 million, from those of the Friday one year ago, $61 million, when two new films ("Prometheus" and "Madagascar 3") both grossed more than $20 million their first day. This weekend, based on the normal trajectory of horror films (which frequently decline from their initial numbers, plus the mediocre C Cinemascore reported from audiences) will likely mean a total for the weekend even further.

2. "The Internship" from Shawn Levy, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, managed a tepid $6.5 million, with "Fast & Furious 6" and "Now You See It" (the latter rising to #1 midweek after its strong #2 last weekend) all jockeying for final position when the full results come in. The two holdovers both fell less than half, far better than #6 "After Earth" (Sony), down nearly two-thirds from its first day. Twentieth Century Fox's animated "Epic" sits in fifth place, with only a small drop as summer vacation begins to help its results.

"Star Trek Into Darkness," "The Hangover Part III," "Iron Man 3" and "The Great Gatsby" round out the top 10.

"Much Ado About Nothing," the  new film from Joss Whedon, the director of last year's biggest hit "The Avengers" scored the best opening day for a limited opening since "The Place Beyond the Pines." The low-budget black & white Shakespeare adaptation grossed about $71,000 in five prime New York/Los Angeles theaters, making it the latest in a series of decent starts for specialized films (along with initial standouts "France Ha" and "Before Midnight").

'Much Ado About Nothing'
'Much Ado About Nothing'


This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Much Ado About Nothing , The Internship, Fast and Furious


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Thompson on Hollywood

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.