Weekend Wrap-Up for May 17-19, 2015

By Kim Hollis

May 17, 2015

Academy Award nominees FTW.

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With Pitch Perfect 2 dominating the weekend, Mad Max: Fury Road and Avengers: Age of Ultron were left to battle it out for the second spot. Ultimately, the George Miller-helmed reboot of his franchise earned a mighty $44.4 million, making it the largest weekend debut ever for the director (his previous winner was Happy Feet at $41 million). Playing primarily in 3D venues (there were complaints that it could be challenging to find 2D showings), Fury Road took advantage of the premium ticket prices to race to its gaudy total.

Going into the weekend, Mad Max: Fury Road had all the momentum that can be gained by amazing reviews. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film has collected an almost unheard of 98% fresh rating, with critics calling it groundbreaking and unlike anything offered to audiences before. This rapturous response didn’t entirely translate over to general audiences, who gave the film a Cinemascore rating of B+. but since we do seem to have some unmet demand due to the paucity of 2D availability, we may see those critical reviews lead to the film being a continued discussion topic over the next few weekends. It’s going to have to work hard to hold its audience and match its $150 million budget, as Fury Road’s demographic will be targeted hard with movies like Tomorrowland and San Andreas in the coming weeks.

After two weeks in the #1 position, Avengers: Age of Ultron falls to third place. Don’t be too sad for our mighty superheroes, though. The film’s weekend total of $38.8 million brings its cumulative domestic earnings to $372 million. It had a weekend-to-weekend decline of 50%. That’s a slight improvement over its previous drop of 54%. Avengers 2 did pass Furious 7 to become the top North American movie of 2015 this weekend. The question will be whether Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens will overtake that spot when it debuts at the end of the year.

With regards to international box office, Avengers: Age of Ultron is nothing short of massive. After a massive debut in China, the film has now amassed $1.1 billion worldwide, and with a few more weekends of play in overseas venues, it seems very likely to overtake the already incredibly impressive Furious 7. It is already the eighth biggest worldwide release ever.

It hardly even feels necessary to talk much about the remaining films in the top 10, but here we go anyway. Hot Pursuit, last weekend’s new buddy comedy featuring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, earned $5.8 million, falling a tough 59% from the previous frame. It has a running total of $23.5 million and will be little more than a footnote of a film that tried unsuccessfully to recapture the box office magic of the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy pairing The Heat.


Rounding out the top five are Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Furious 7, which both tie with $3.6 million. For Paul Blart 2, that's a decent 32% drop from last weekend. Even if it’s not matching the performance of the first film, the sequel is still doing just fine with domestic earnings of $62.9 million in comparison to its $30 million budget.

Furious 7 continues to hang around in the top 10 despite a host of new releases that have been released theatrically since it debuted in early April. The worldwide sensation earned another $3.6 million this weekend, down 33% from the previous frame. Furious 7 has now earned a mighty $343.8 million domestically and an even more sensational $1.4 billion worldwide.

Seventh place goes to Age of Adaline, the Benjamin Button-esque romance featuring Blake Lively. Adaline earned another $3.2 million this weekend, a decline of 45%, as all female-oriented films were delated by the arrival of Pitch Perfect 2. The film’s domestic total now sits at a solid $37.1 million, a quietly solid performer for Lionsgate.

Next up in eighth is Home, the DreamWorks animated film that has exceeded most expectations. It earned $2.7 million this weekend, falling 12% from last weekend. Its domestic tally is $165.6 million, and it has about the same amount from international venues.

Our final two films include a film that was an art house release prior to moving wider and one that can still be safely called an art house flick. Ninth place goes to Ex Machina, which earned another $2.1 million and brings its North American total to $19.6 million. And our final film is Far from the Madding Crowd, the adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel featuring Carey Mulligan. The Thomas Vinterberg-directed art house flick earned $1.3 million, an increase of 67% as it sees its venue count increase to 289. The film has now earned $2.6 million domestically.

If we look at this year’s box office compared to the same weekend in 2014, this frame easily blows last year away. Our top 12 films this year have earned $177.1 million, a 4% increase over last year when Godzilla led the way to a $169.6 million weekend for its top films. Next weekend brings the big Memorial Day holiday frame, featuring Disney’s Tomorrowland and an update of the classic horror film Poltergeist. Along with these two exciting releases, our returning films should see some great traction as well. It will be a fun weekend at the box office.

Top Weekend Box Office for 5/15/15-5/17/15 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Pitch Perfect 2 Universal $70,328,250 New $70,328,250
2 Mad Max: Fury Road $44,440,000 New $44,440,000
3 Avengers: Age of Ultron Disney $38,837,000 - 50% $372,008,000
4 Hot Pursuit WARNER BROS. $5,780,000 - 59% $23,504,000
5 Furious 7 Universal $3,647,940 - 33% $343,781,435
6 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Sony $3,600,000 - 32% $62,930,000
7 Age of Adaline Lionsgate $3,200,000 - 45% $37,072,169
8 Home $2,700,000 - 12% $165,646,000
9 Ex Machina New Line Cinema $2,103,404 - 40% $19,565,866
10 Far From the Madding Crowd FOX SEARCHLIGHT $1,300,000 + 67% $2,630,000
11 Woman In Gold Weinstein Co. $1,190,000 - 32% $28,951,698
12 Cinderella Disney $628,000 - 63% $197,228,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Bombay Velvet Fip $320,000 New $320,000
  In the Name of My Daughter Cohen Media $14,294 New $14,294
  Animals Sony/Columbia $12,000 New $12,000
  Piku Yash Raj Films $600,000 - 36% $1,800,000
  Saint Laurent Sony Classics $38,075 + 13% $88,294
  Welcome To Me Alchemy $95,911 - 49% $413,028
  Unfriended Universal $545,310 - 63% $32,082,630
  Monkey Kingdom Disney $490,000 - 61% $15,350,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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