Weekend Wrap-Up

Memorial Day Box Office on the Edge of Tomorrowland

By John Hamann

May 24, 2015

Wait. I'm going to grow up to be George Clooney? Sweet!

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Like the tight race between Pitch Perfect 2 and Tomorrowland, it was also close between Mad Max: Fury Road and Poltergeist. The winner by a truck bumper is Mad Max: Fury Road, the ridiculously good action extravaganza from George Miller, Village Roadshow and Warner Bros. Whatever you thought of last weekend’s $45 million debut, Max stayed ahead of the 50% drop level, earning $23.8 million this weekend from 3,702 venues. For an R rated, super-violent flick, this is a stellar hold, and the film could be settling in for a long stay. The $150 million epic has now earned $87.3 million stateside, and should be destined for a $150 million domestic haul. It could get even better overseas, but will need to almost double the domestic gross to see a profit of the theatrical release.

For the overall box office, films like Mad Max and Pitch Perfect 2 are strong additions, as they assist with momentum. These films don’t drop 70% in their second weekends and then another 60% in their third. These two will earn more than $10 million for a number of weekends to come, until three more mid-tier openers arrive on June 5th in the form of Entourage, Insidious Chapter 3 and Spy (which will be another leggy hit). If you haven’t figured it out yet, I like the results from this weekend, and am looking forward to future weekends as we roll into June.

That puts Poltergeist in fourth, and is really just an Evil Dead remake all over again. This time, it’s at least a little bit more for the younger set. Poltergeist got started on Thursday with $1.4 million, and rolled that into a reported Friday figure of $9.35 million – which was several million more than Mad Max earned on Friday. However, being horror and propped up by a decent Thursday, the re-imagining wasn’t going to hold on throughout the weekend. It earned $23 million over three days, again nothing too exciting, but fills that gap between Max and The Avengers, and is another film that will likely earn more than $10 million next weekend.

Poltergeist’s $35 million budget makes it the smarter opener this weekend, as it will make at least $50 million on the domestic side and should do decently overseas as well. The Cinemascore was decent at a C+ (horror films don’t do well in Cinemascore land), but reviews were troubling, coming in at 35% fresh. As I think everyone agrees that this "reimagining" is somewhat unnecessary. Reviewers seemed to wear that on their sleeve in reviews I’ve read, instead of addressing it on its merits. Regardless, this version of Poltergeist will cause neither too much pain nor pleasure for Fox, which is distributing.


The fifth film in the top ten to earn at least $20 million is Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now in its fourth weekend, the comic book flick earned another $20.9 million, bringing its total beyond the $400 million mark, and becoming only the 20th film to do so. It dropped 46% compared to last weekend, continuing a series of falls that are right around the 50% mark. It crossed the $400 million mark on Sunday, its 24th day of release and will surpass the domestic total of Iron Man 3 in a few short days. Overseas, the total is $860 million, meaning that Age of Ultron has surpassed Iron Man 3’s worldwide total of $1.22 billion.

The other seven titles in the top 12 can’t combine to earn more than Age of Ultron. Sixth is Hot Pursuit, the Reese Witherspoon miss. It earned $3.5 million and brings its total up to $29.8 million. Seventh is Far from the Madding Crowd, which rises from 10th last weekend to seventh this weekend. The Carey Mulligan counter-programmer earned $2.3 million, and was up 82% - but added no new screens. The 85% fresh drama has now earned $5.4 million.

Eighth is Furious 7, which has been in the top ten for the last eight weekends. It added $2.1 million this weekend, bringing the domestic cume up to $347 million. The worldwide total is still fourth overall at $1.5 billion. Paul Blart 2 which earned another $1.8 million to place ninth. It drops 50% but brings its domestic cume up to $65.6 million, and has earned almost $100 million worldwide against a $30 million budget. Tenth goes to Home, which earned $1.7 million and now has a domestic total of $168 million.

Overall, the Memorial Day Weekend top 12 came in at $144.4 million, much lower than the $178.7 million when X-Men: Days of Future Past opened to $90.8 million over three days. That said, this weekend’s results may leave room for San Andreas to open solidly next weekend. Also opening is Aloha, the new film from Cameron Crowe, which hopefully brings us back to his glory days.

Top Weekend Box Office for 5/22/15-5/24/15 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Tomorrowland Disney $32,159,000 New $32,159,000
2 Pitch Perfect 2 Universal $30,349,000 - 56% $117,786,595
3 Mad Max: Fury Road $23,885,000 - 47% $87,315,279
4 Poltergeist MGM $23,000,000 New $23,000,000
5 Avengers: Age of Ultron Disney $20,895,000 - 46% $392,925,708
6 Hot Pursuit WARNER BROS. $3,475,000 - 39% $29,920,240
7 Far From the Madding Crowd FOX SEARCHLIGHT $2,280,000 + 82% $5,442,605
8 Furious 7 Universal $2,124,105 - 42% $346,989,185
9 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Sony $1,755,000 - 50% $65,572,709
10 Home $1,680,000 - 34% $167,994,929
11 Age of Adaline Lionsgate $1,450,000 - 54% $39,839,415
12 Ex Machina New Line Cinema $1,360,000 - 35.3% $22,021,471
  Also Opening/Notables
  When Marnie Was There Gkids $25,605 New $25,605
  Aloft Warner Bros. $2,018 New $2,018
  Where Hope Grows Roadside Attractions $230,000 - 50% $858,519
  I'll See You In My Dreams Bleecker Street $289,128 + 486% $364,101
  Woman In Gold Weinstein Co. $848,000 - 29% $30,352,950
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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