Paul Blart Unfriended by Furious 7
By John Hamann
April 19, 2015
Finishing second is the enigma that is Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Whereas the original opened to $31.8 million, tracking had the sequel in the mid-teens, and the Thursday preview came in well behind the amount for the teen horror flick Unfriended. Reviews were of the rare 0% kind at RottenTomatoes, and they weren’t just negative, they were nasty. I was expecting Paul Blart 2 to implode following a soft $400,000 Thursday preview amount, but it bounced back decently on Friday. On opening day, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 earned $7.4 million, only $1 million behind Furious 7 and a half million ahead of Unfriended. The original Blart had a first day total of $9.8 million, so we can see times have changed since in the six years since the original opened.
Over the rest of the weekend, Paul Blart 2 earned $24 million from 3,633 theaters for Sony, not terrible considering it cost $30 million to make. Despite all of the bad press for this Happy Madison release, it still draws an audience. I’m not sure if that’s kids or what, but if it can get to $50 million and earn another $30 million overseas, Sony will likely earn money off of this filler release. It earned a B- Cinemascore, and while not great, it wasn’t far off the original’s B Cinemascore. That movie earned a fabulous opening-to-domestic-total multiplier of 4.6. That big multiplier took the original Blart to $146.3 million against a budget of $26 million. Can lightning strike twice? I don’t think so, but it does have a free weekend in the next frame, and then becomes comedy counter-programming option against Avengers 2. Oddly enough, Kevin James will face off against himself next weekend, as he appears in the faith-based comedic drama Little Boy.
Unfriended is third, as Jason Blum finds another way to spend very little making a film and still turn it into a big opening weekend winner. This time around, the action takes place on computer monitors, and the film stars no one, which enabled the budget to be kept down to about $1 million. It earned $656,000 on Thursday night, and another $7.1 million on Friday, which set the stage for a decent weekend. Surprisingly 65% fresh at RottenTomatoes, Unfriended was able to turn in a weekend score of $16 million, which is the best score for horror in 2015 thus far. It managed to outdo the previous 2015 best, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, which opened to $15 million. While Unfriended will likely not go down in history for its box office massiveness, it may go down as the originator of the cyber-horror style of filmmaking.
Fourth spot this weekend goes to Home, the colorful release from DreamWorks Animation. Home falls off steeply this weekend, maybe thanks to Paul Blart, as the Rihanna starrer picked up $10.3 million in its fourth weekend. That gives it a drop of 44%, a higher than expected plunge this weekend. The animated release with the $135 million budget finally matched the budget with its domestic gross, as it has now earned $142.6 million. Overseas, Home had hit $117 million before the weekend began, so it is still well off of where it needs to be globally ($400 million) in order to see a profit.