Screen Gems’ Deed Snaps Box Office Out of Doldrums
By John Hamann
September 14, 2014
Just as last weekend is the armpit of the box office year, this is the weekend where Sony’s Screen Gems usually bails us out of the mess. This time around, the credit goes not to a Resident Evil movie but instead to a thriller called No Good Deed.
After one of the worst frames since 9/11, just about anything was going to pop at the box office this weekend. The aforementioned No Good Deed, a thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, was the movie positioned to do so during this mid-September frame. No Good Deed was produced by recent hit-maker Will Packer (Think Like A Man and its sequel, Ride Along), the man who has produced 10 Screen Gems films, with all of them except one making big money for the studio.
Also opening this weekend is Dolphin Tale 2, which must be a relief for families, as finally there is something non-violent for the kids that is not Guardians of the Galaxy or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Dolphin Tale 2 sports a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr., and is the sequel to the surprise September 2011 flick that earned almost $100 million worldwide against a $37 million budget. The final opener this weekend is The Drop, which is James Gandolfini’s final film. It's also the best reviewed film we’ve seen since Guardians was released oh-so-long ago.
Number one this weekend is Screen Gems’ No Good Deed, another film from this particular distributor that will see real dollars returned after about a week of release. Made for $13.2 million, No Good Deed opened on Friday (Thursday previews did not happen as the studio wanted to hide a "twist"), and earned a stunning $8.8 million from Friday alone. That Friday gross was more than any film in the top ten earned last weekend if you exclude Guardians of the Galaxy, which finished that frame with a total of $10.4 million. No Good Deed continued to thrive throughout the weekend, and managed a three-day take of $24.5 million or about $11 million more than its production budget. It's also about $5 million more than tracking was expecting. The weekend take puts it into the top 10 biggest September openers occurring in the first two weeks of September, with the big dog remaining Insidious Chapter 2, which opened to $40.3 million on during the weekend of September 13, 2013.
The thing that really throws me about No Good Deed and Screen Gems overall is that they can have these big hits without a saturation release. No Good Deed went out to only 2,175 venues this weekend, so it ends up with an absolutely stunning venue average of $11,264. Dolphin Tale, which didn’t do badly this weekend, was out to 3,656 venues, and earned an average of only $4,527. This is fantastic news for exhibitors, as the last couple of weekends have been painful to say the least. Given the low venue count, No Good Deed likely had lower P&A costs, making this a huge financial win for the studio.