Daily Box Office Analysis

By David Mumpower

July 17, 2014

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If you were hoping for a huge, shocking twist at the box office yesterday, you should brace for disappointment. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was the domestic champion for the sixth straight day. Spoiler: it will be the winner today as well. The only impending drama is whether any of the Friday upstarts can submarine its chances at first place this weekend.

On Wednesday, Dawn of the Planets earned $6.7 million. In the process, it fell 31%, which was the steepest decline of any title within the top ten. There is nothing alarming about this fact. Instead, it reflects the dominance of the latest evolutionary war movie. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finished within $800,000 of out-grossing the rest of the top 10 in combination. Films that dominant oftentimes experience roller coaster rides with regards to daily box office. What matters most right now is that the film currently sits at $97.2 million. It will have crossed the $100 million mark by the time you read this column.

With nothing else exciting occurring in the top ten, let’s take this opportunity to evaluate the infamous summer box office slump being discussed ad nauseam. During the last slump in 2005, there was simply no denying the fact that alarmists had a strong point. The $56.1 million debut of Fantastic Four felt like an oasis magically appearing in the desert that July. Nine years later, the situation is mathematically worse, at least on the surface. What lies beneath is a slightly different tale.


The summer box office campaign unofficially begins during the first week of May. Assuming I am counting right (nobody’s perfect), there have been 21 wide releases during that timeframe. Here is the list: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Neighbors, Moms’ Night Out, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Godzilla, Million Dollar Arm, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Blended, Maleficent, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Fault in Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow, 22 Jump Street, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Think Like a Man 2, Jersey Boys, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Tammy, Deliver Us from Evil, Earth to Echo and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I will also include Chef, which crept up to 1,298 locations at one point during its release.

Looking at the list above, I am confident you have zeroed in on a few films that you believe are hurting the overall picture. The fact that investors were willing to pony up $70 million for Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return makes me question the sanity of everyone involved. Overall, the picture painted above is not bleak on an individual basis, though. BOP has much harsher criteria for the profitability of movies than most. We frequently point out that there is not a one to one ratio in terms of domestic revenue relative to international revenue. The latter is harder to recoup for reasons both obvious and insidious. Let’s use more general criteria to determine the losers this summer then we will circle back to BOP’s methodology.

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