Screen Gems’ Deed Snaps Box Office Out of Doldrums
By John Hamann
September 14, 2014
Screen Gems' biggest September opening came with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the 2005 horror/thriller with Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson. That one opened to $30 million and went on to earn almost $150 million worldwide, all against a budget of only $19 million. They have also released four Resident Evil movies in September, with the domestic grosses matching the production budgets ($200 million), but the foreign grosses have cleared $600 million. Then, they have smaller films released all year. For example, Easy A with Emma Stone earned $58.4 million domestically against a cost of $8 million. The Will Packer films for Screen Gems have earned about $475 million at the domestic box office alone against costs of $160 million. This is a studio that knows how to make money, and is doing so again with No Good Deed.
Finishing second this weekend is Dolphin Tale 2, the follow-up to the mildly successful 2011 release. As we’ve seen throughout the summer, an expected increase from the original’s opening weekend to the sequel didn’t happen for Dolphin Tale 2, as the sequel couldn’t keep up to the original’s $19.2 million debut. It got started on Friday with a softer-than-expected $4.3 million, but was able to use the family film bounce to get the weekend take up to $16.6 million. Still, it was off from the tracking expectations that had it opening to $20 million. The original Dolphin Tale was more about its legs than its opening, as it debuted in third behind The Lion King re-release and Moneyball before holding well in its second weekend, which catapulted it to number one. Over its first five weekends, Dolphin Tale never dropped more than 35%, which helped push it toward its $72.3 million finish.
Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment (The Blind Side) need the same lightning to strike this time around – and they have a shot at it. Reviews for the sequel were in the same ballpark as the original, with the sequel coming in at 73% fresh, compared to the original film's 82% fresh rating. The good news, though, is the Cinemascore, as Dolphin Tale 2 earned an A score. Again, it's not the same as the A+ the original earned, but still should be good enough for strong word-of-mouth from the core audience. This one cost $37 million to make, so it will need some decent holds should the studio and partners hope to see a profit.
That puts Guardians of the Galaxy in a position it has never seen before – a third place finish. Having been number one for four weekends and number two for two, it was time for Guardians to be replaced with new blood. Despite the new entries – including a kid-friendly one – Guardians still held remarkably well this weekend, earning $8 million and dropping 22%. It crossed the $300 million on Saturday morning, its 44th day of release, the same amount of time it took Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Titanic. It took the original Iron Man 48 days to accomplish the same feat. With $300 million now out of the way, the question turns to where its final rank will be amongst Marvel films. It can still catch Iron Man ($318.4 million) and Iron Man 2 ($312.4 million), which will make it the third biggest ever, behind only The Avengers ($623.4 million) and Iron Man 3 ($409 million). The current total for Guardians has reached $305.9 million and the overseas total has surpassed $600 million, making this a ridiculously big first film in a franchise.