Fault in Our Stars Goes Supernova; Tomorrow Implodes
By John Hamann
June 8, 2014
The summer has been nothing short of magnificent so far at the box office this year, and now we get one of those once in a generation performances - like Love Story from 1970 – where heads turn to see The Fault in our Stars.
The term "the fault in our stars" comes from Shakespeare, a quote from Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings." If this were a bad movie, like all of the Twilight series, I would compare moviegoers to "the underlings" or the ravenous Twi-hards that lit up the Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattison uber-franchise. The Fault in our Stars appears to be a very different movie, a softer, more thought-out piece about two young people who meet at a cancer support group, and their journey going forward. Melodrama – check, manipulation – check, but packaged into a good film that is already a cultural phenomenon, and has only been out for three and a half days.
Tom Cruise also opened Edge of Tomorrow this weekend, but got buried, as The Fault in our Stars almost beat its weekend after a single day of release (plus previews). Those previews got started Thursday night, where The Fault in Our Stars earned an out-of-hand $8.2 million, blowing apart already inflated expectations. Its Thursday night was right on target with what two of our $90 million plus openers did via previews, as X-Men: Days of Future Past turned in an $8.1 million Thursday ($90.8 million weekend) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 took in $8.7 million en route to a $91.6 million opening frame. While the $8.2 million figure for Thursday caused some hysteria, we need to remember today’s book-loving youth and their "activeness" when it comes to the movie adaptation, whether considering the Harry Potter books, the Twilight series, or The Hunger Games. These youngsters show up for the Thursday previews, books in hand, to check out the translation - and the financial result is front-loading for the movies. I often bash these YA novel adaptions, but so often the films are not very good (Mortal Instruments, The Host etc). This one is different.
The Friday number for The Fault in our Stars came in at $26.1 million, astounding if it were on its own. Once the Thursday number is removed, however, the "true" Friday is $17.9 million, and lower than the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron recent #1 film Neighbors ($19.6 million Friday). Divergent, Shailene Woodley’s last film, had a Thursday of $4.9 million, and a true Friday of $17.9 million, so you can see how similarly these two films performed. Divergent finished its weekend with $54.6 million, so it would be interesting to see how Fault would perform over the rest of the weekend. Also keep in mind that Divergent cost $84 million to make, whereas Fault cost only $12 million. So, no matter what happened yesterday and today, The Fault in Our Stars is a much stronger performer relative to investment.