Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
July 3, 2014
There were many new films in release yesterday. As expected, none of them managed to upset Transformers: Age of Extinction to become the number one film in North America. On the plus side, we do have a huge shake-up in the top five after a period of remarkable stagnation.
Yes, Transformers 4 is the number one domestic release for the sixth straight day. I had commented yesterday that upstart Tammy could take a run at the title, just as I noted it would be surprising if the Autobots fell to a frizzy-haired comedian. The distance between the two films is the only shock here. Age of Extinction grossed $7.7 million yesterday, down 26% from Tuesday’s $10.4 million. It has now grossed $128.7 million domestically.
Read nothing into the drop. Everything that had been in the top ten over the last couple of days fell between 14% and 46% on Wednesday. Part of that is the calendar configuration. The rest is on the fly reconfiguring of venue counts and exhibitions due to the new titles in release. 10,784 locations changed movie screenings yesterday. The older releases felt the sting because of it.
Still, there is troubling news about Age of Extinction. Its six-day total of $128.7 million is the worst for any title in the franchise to date and by a lot. Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon had garnered $214.9 million and $180.7 million respectively by this juncture. Even Transformers, a film released seven years ago, had managed $155.4 million. The latest title will attempt to make up the difference over the next four days, but that gap is massive. Plus, frontloading is even more dramatic in 2014, so there is more downward pressure against Age of Extinction. It will always have China, though.
Melissa McCarthy’s latest attempt to flex her newfound box office muscle debuted to mixed results. Tammy grossed $6.2 million yesterday, $1.3 million of which was gained through Tuesday sneak previews. My weekend projection for Tammy appears a bit ambitious as estimates are now being rolled back to the mid-$30 million range as its five-day total. I always prefer additional information before making such determinations, but I do believe it’s fair to say that Tammy’s day one performance takes it out of bomb territory without moving it into blockbuster territory.
The key sticking point here is that the project cost a modest $20 million to product, meaning it will be wildly successful in terms of return on investment. Tammy’s biggest concern at the moment is that it “earned” a C+ Cinemascore, and as everyone should know by now, anything under a B+ Cinemascore is effectively a Nicolas Cage movie in terms of quality. A C+ grade for a five-day release is low enough that word-of-mouth could come into play by Sunday. If not, it should start to collapse soon afterward. There are NYU film projects that would merit a better score than C+.
Two other new movies yesterday engaged in a tight battle for third place. Thankfully, neither one of them was directed by Dinesh D'Souza. Deliver Us from Evil and Earth to Echo were separated by only approximately $205,000, meaning that either one of them could emerge the victor from this point forward. The horror film starring Eric Bana (pro tip: fire your agent) garnered $2.85 million while the family flick grossed $2.65 million.
At this point, I expect Earth to Echo to surpass Deliver Us from Evil over the five-day period since the thriller will not get a Friday spike due to the calendar configuration. Independent of the next five days, Earth to Echo should be the winner long term. It has an A- Cinemascore plus family films are leggier by nature. Deliver Us from Evil received only a B-, putting it only slightly above Tammy territory.
While the above three films have performed largely as expected, there was a bomb yesterday. Falling outside the top ten was America, the jingoistic title from Dinesh D'Souza. It is behaving much more like an Atlas Shrugged release than a de facto sequel to 2016: Obama’s America. America attained a slender $650,025 from 1,105 locations for an average of $588 per play date. If we tripled that average to make it weekend-friendly, we would be evaluating a $1,764 take per exhibition. Barring something unforeseen, it’s a box office non-factor and the purest of bombs.