Friday Box Office Analysis

By Reagen Sulewski

March 21, 2015

I can't believe he was my movie boyfriend once.

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A trio of new releases basically lived up (or down) to their expectations this Friday, with the big franchise film performing almost exactly to (diminished) expectations.

Insurgent, the second film in the Divergent series, opened to an estimated $21.3 million on Friday, trailing behind Divergent's performance by a little more than a million. While any slippage in a franchise isn't welcome, that it was this minimal is basically a wash, and at least gives Lionsgate assurance that they can complete the trilogy + 1 of films they've planned off this trilogy of books (though I can still hope that this "splitting the last book" thing dies a horrible death). The budget for Insurgent jumped a bit to $110 million from Divergent's $80 million, which will cut into the bottom line a little, but with international sales factored in, it should still be a healthy profit for the film. Shailene Woodley's career survives another day, as well as plenty of terrible CGI artists', as this should translate into about $50.5 million for its opening weekend.

Sean Penn's foray into action, The Gunman, was a bit of a dud, with just $1.8 million on Friday at 2,816 venues. The film is directed by Taken's Pierre Morel, and bad reviews and Penn's lack of box office clout really left this with very little chance at success. The action market remains a tough nut to crack, particularly for those stars who aren't known for the genre, and it still requires a hook, such as with the Taken and Expendable franchises. Weekend carryover should be minimal, and this is looking like about a $5 million opening.


Debuting in just 1,320 films and billed as “the religious Magnolia,” Do You Believe? opened anemically, with just $1.25 million on Friday. This is less than half the opening night business that the same company's God's Not Dead pulled on its first night, and on just 780 screens in that case. Whether this is a symptom of a larger trend in this genre, or just a peculiarity limited to this film is yet to be seen, but it does show that the religious audience isn't a sure thing and just like any other, is quality (or perceived quality) dependent. While it should have a better intra-weekend multiplier than most films, we're still looking at about $4 million for the weekend.

Looking at holdovers, Cinderella dropped nearly 60% to $9.5 million. This is about in line with last year's Maleficent, and shows that these films have entered into the realm of “event pictures” as opposed to the family films and their typical corresponding legs. It should recover a bit from that Friday-to-Friday drop, but will still see its weekend cut basically in half, to around $32 million.

Run All Night had a huge 65% drop to just $1.4 million, and after its opening weekend of $11 million, this film seems set for about $25 million or so total, creating a sharp divide in Liam Neeson's recent CV and reaffirming the need for gimmicks in action. This is good for about $4 million or so this weekend.

Kingsman: The Secret Service continues its run of strong weekends with $1.3 million, dropping just a quarter from last Friday. It seems to be a true word-of-mouth film, and its relative uniqueness amongst recent action films has separated it from the pack. It should also come in with around $4 million and has a good chance at $140 million domestic.

Coming in at under $1 million this Friday were the third Fridays of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Chappie, along with the fourth Friday of Focus, with all of these looking at $3.5 million or less for the weekend.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 Insurgent 52.5
2 Cinderella 32.3
3 The Gunman 5.2
4 Run All Night 4.3
5 Kingsman: The Secret Service 4.2
6 Do You Believe? 4.1
7 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 3.4
8 Focus 3.3
9 Chappie 2.4
10 McFarland, USA 2.2



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