Always Darkest before the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
By David Mumpower
July 13, 2014
A discussion of scale is required for this weekend’s second place movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction. The latest Michael Bay film crossed $200 million this weekend and has already earned more than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will likely make during its entire domestic run. Another $16.5 million brings the running total of Age of Extinction to $209 million.
On the surface, that total sounds great. In reality, it is trending far behind the first three Transformers films. The worst of those had already grossed $242.5 million after 17 days. The trio averaged $284.4 million. Domestically, Age of Extinction is trending $75 million behind its predecessors. In terms of domestic performance, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a much better title in terms of meeting expectations than Age of Extinction.
The situation for Transformers 4 is all the more perplexing due to its historically unprecedented performance in China. Its $262 million in that single marketplace is closer to the pace of previous Transformers movies than its domestic return. Because of this discrepancy, Age of Extinction is already a huge winner for Paramount. It has a global take of $543 million and is a slam dunk to cross a billion. What the film does more than anything else is demonstrate the future marginalization of North American revenue as the global economy develops sounder infrastructure.
Third place goes to last weekend’s top opener, Tammy. The Melissa McCarthy comedy declined an okay 40% from the July 4th holiday weekend as it made its way to a total of $12.9 million. Considering the film’s dismal reviews (currently 23% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and hostile reception from audiences (C+ Cinemascore), it’s holding up slightly better than expectations, although the fact that the 4th of July fell on Friday skews that perception a bit. So far, the Warner Bros. film has earned $57.4 million, which is very favorable compared to its $20 million budget.
Our fourth and fifth place films have been connected since the weekend they both debuted, despite that fact that in terms of audience demographic they couldn’t be more different. 22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2 continue to hold on to a spot in the top five due mostly due to the overall weakness of other new movies over the last couple of weeks. 22 Jump Street continues to be the leader, as it earned $6.7 million this weekend, down 32%. Its $172 million domestic total to date is well over the $138.4 million the original film earned, and international venues add another $70 million. How to Dragon fell 35% to $5.9 million, bringing its domestic take to $152.1 million, still well below the $217 million the first film earned. Overseas locations add another $170 million to the coffers. Like Kung Fu Panda 2 before it, this performance is absolutely baffling, as both the original film and the sequel were delightful.
Coming up in sixth place is a children’s movie that was hoping to be E.T. for a new generation. Alas, you can’t have a new E.T. if no one chooses to see your movie, so Earth to Echo will be all but forgotten after another week or two. It earned $5.5 million this weekend, dropping a decent 34%, and now has a running total of $24.6 million. This won’t be an utter disaster for Relativity, who purchased the film from Disney, but it’s not going to be regarded as anything more than a mild earner (and considering prints and marketing, the distributor will likely be looking at home video to reap those rewards).