Daily Box Office Analysis

By David Mumpower

June 10, 2014

You totally look like a 14-year-old boy.

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Summer is here and the offseason for schools means one thing for Hollywood: money. With the under-18 crowd suddenly free to do whatever they want during the day, parents become much more likely to use one of their favorite seasonal babysitters, the movie theater. The outcome is that all titles in release receive a welcome injection in revenue thanks to the artificial inflation that stems from the summer.

For those of you who have been reading the site since its inception in 2001, accept BOP’s gratitude for your loyalty. Feel free to skip ahead two paragraphs, blanketed with the knowledge that I love you dearly. For everyone else, the rules of the summer box office campaign are fairly simple. Despite the box office boost from the season, bombs are still going to bomb. Yes, they will be aided a bit but a rejected movie generally remains rejected. Meanwhile, the movies that usually receive the largest spike in daily box office revenue are family films due to the influx of youths at matinee exhibitions. For this reason, family films that may not do well on opening weekend can still wind up being quite profitable. If you were wondering why there have been three movies in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, you now have your explanation.

There is also an established pattern of behavior for all titles in release. Monday will be a solid day of box office, particularly for titles that experienced weekend sellouts. Tuesday box office generally exceeds Monday for all but the heavily frontloaded releases. The explanation is that there are discount deals performed across North America to entice consumers to catch a movie on what was historically the worst day of the week for the industry. Wednesday will see a slight drop from Tuesday while Thursday is almost always the worst weekday for everything in release. These are the basics of summer box office behavior. Every week and every day within those weeks will experience a bit of fluctuation, though. Rules are made to be broken.


Now that we have covered the basics, the story of the day is obviously The Fault in Our Stars. The romantic drama about cancer patients in love grossed a whopping $48 million over the weekend. In the process, it became one of the most successful debuts ever for the genre. That statement covers only a portion of the story, though. The John Green adaptation also demonstrated fairly epic frontloading, by which I mean that over half of the revenue earned on opening weekend occurred by the close of business on Friday. That is a box office rarity.

Mathematically, 54.4% of box office for The Fault in Our Stars was earned on its “first” day in theaters. Technically, its Friday revenue was $26.1 million. In reality, $8.1 million of that was accrued from Thursday preview showings, which are allowed to be included in opening weekend results for reasons that pass understanding. Or the laugh test. Even if we exclude that total from the opening weekend and Friday result, however, the picture is still clear. $17.9 million was earned on Friday proper with another $12.7 million attained on Saturday followed by $9.3 million on Sunday.

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