Box Office Labors Badly Toward Summer Finish
By John Hamann
August 31, 2014
Fourth spot, if estimates hold, is the horror title As Above, So Below, the low budget release from Universal and Legendary Pictures. With only a $5 million budget, As Above, So Below didn’t have to do much this weekend to be a winner. It's a good thing it didn't need a big weekend, because it grossed only $8.3 million from 2,640 venues. If it earns $25 million stateside and another $20 million overseas, it would be a strong entry for both Universal and Legendary. The problem, though, is that this one earned a C- Cinemascore, one of the lowest scores we have seen in a very long time. That score will likely push the domestic take down to $20 million tops stateside, and will bring into question how much was spent on marketing costs. In the end, money will flow from As Above, So Below, but maybe not to the degree these two companies were hoping for.
Fifth goes to Let’s Be Cops, which is truly an "only in late August/early September" story. Let’s Be Cops spends another weekend in the top five – its third. In any other month, this probably would have hit the curb a few weeks ago. Instead, Let’s Be Cops earned another $8.2 million and managed to fall only 24% compared to last weekend, when it earned $10.8 million. Made for $17 million, the comedy has now earned a remarkable $57.3 million, which is likely $25 million more than it had any right to. Because of the release strategy, I would be very surprised if there wasn’t a Let’s Be Cops Again.
Sixth is The November Man, Pierce Brosnan’s latest attempt at relevance. Both of our openers carry little risk this weekend, with The November Man being a $3 million pick up for Relativity, which purchased the US rights for this $30 million production. Good thing they didn’t pay much more than that, as The November Man earned only $7.7 million this weekend from 2,776 venues. Reviews weren’t great (36% fresh at RottenTomatoes), but it did have a decent Cinemascore (B+). Relativity will be hoping for an okay hold next weekend, where virtually nothing happens in the world of movies (if you thought this weekend was bad…). The November Man (and As Above, So Below) are the absolute definition of a good late August/early September release, as they carry such little risk that two weekends of playability should make the investment behind them look pretty good.
Seventh goes to When the Game Stands Tall, the faith-based football movie that opened last weekend. The small drama earned another $x.xx million, dropping 33% compared to its debut. Made for $15 million, the film still has some work to do if Sony’s faith-based arm, Affirm, hopes to see a profit. So far, the Jim Caviezel starrer has earned only $16.3 million.
Eighth is The Giver, another YA adaption that thankfully for The Weinstein Company cost only $25 million to bring to the screen. In its third weekend, The Giver earned only $5.25 million, and fell 18%. It has now earned $31.53 million domestically, and will likely finish with about $35 million domestically.
Ninth is The Hundred-Foot Journey, the small film with Helen Mirren that is hanging on and finding success domestically. In its fourth weekend, The Hundred Foot Journey earned another $2.4 million, dropping a small 14%. Made for only $22 million, this small film has quietly earned $39.4 million, which will push it toward profitability. It should also do decent business overseas, likely outgrossing the domestic total.
Tenth is The Expendables 3, Lionsgate’s franchise killer. After failing to open and then dropping 60% from that failure in weekend two, Expendables 3 falls off the cliff this weekend, earning only $3.5 million, and dropping 46%. Likely made for $90 million, this one now has a domestic total of only $33.13 million. If there is a good news, it's the fact that the overseas take has surpassed $50 million, and as expected, will remove the stink from the domestic failure (but profit is still a long way off).
In other box office news, the Mexican release, Cantinflas, did remarkably well this weekend, earning $2.63 million from only 382 venues. That gives the Lionsgate/Pantelion release a venue average of $6,872 and a strong start. This is the same weekend and strategy Lionsgate used last year with Instructions Not Included, the Mexican film that earned $45 million stateside, and almost $100 million worldwide.
Also in theaters, Sony released the 30th Anniversary of Ghostbusters and earned $1.65 million from 784 screens – not bad for a 30 year old film. It’s only out for a week – so get out and see it on the big screen before it’s gone. Lastly, Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For completed its implosion this weekend, earning only $2.17 million and dropping 66%.
Overall, the box office was lower than expected for the Labor Day weekend. The top 12 films this weekend earned only $xx.xx million, which marks the first time the top 12 has come in below the $100 million mark since February 21, when the top 12 took in $98 million. Last year, with One Direction: This is Us on top, the top 12 took in $93 million. Next weekend, there is only one new wide release, The Identical. It debuts on less than 1,500 screens, so it should be Guardians of the Galaxy on top once again.
||Guardians of the Galaxy
||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
||If I Stay
||As Above/So Below
||Let's Be Cops
||The November Man
||When the Game Stands Tall
||The Hundred-Foot Journey
||The Expendables 3
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations