Terminator, Magic Mike Flaccid Against Fireworks and Holdovers
By John Hamann
July 5, 2015
It’s the July 4th weekend, so everything should be rosy at the box office. Instead, with the 4th falling on a Saturday, the box office is robbed of the biggest moviegoing night of the week - and any fireworks.
In 2013, July 4th fell on a Thursday, which led to a huge box office weekend, as folks had Friday off and no fireworks, barbecues and similar activities over the weekend to get in the way of moviegoing. That year, Despicable Me 2 launched to a marvelous $83.5 million, and while The Lone Ranger stumbled badly to $29.2 million, the top eight films all earned more than $10 million, leading the top 12 films to a massive $221 million combined.
Last year, with the 4th on a Friday, all the openers tanked. Tammy earned $21.6 million, and Deliver Us From Evil and Earth to Echo both earned less than $10 million. The top 12 finished with a sad $120 million. This shows the massive impact a weekend 4th has on the box office. Not only do folks come out less, but Hollywood schedulers also tend to veer bigger releases away from the weekend when the calendar configures in a certain way.
Calendar configuration didn’t scare off one of our openers, as Paramount chose to open the rebooted Terminator franchise this weekend. The term "reboot" has been bandied around quite a bit lately with some franchises, but with Terminator, Paramount was really rebooting the series, changing the timeline and events of a franchise that is still quite fresh in people heads. Terminator Salvation came out in 2009, a $200 million disaster for Warner Bros., as the Christian Bale flick earned only $371 million worldwide, when it would have needed $600 million to break even. This weekend’s follow up did not follow the Salvation timeline, starting from scratch. The effort cost $155 million to make, so the stakes were very high.
At the other end of the opener spectrum is Magic Mike XXL, the male stripper flick made on a G-string - I mean shoestring - budget. After the original earned $39.1 million over opening weekend (against a budget of $7 million), it was only a matter of time before a sequel of some sort materialized, as the original was profitable after a single day of release. This time around, the stakes were a bit higher with a $15 million budget, but that is $140 million cheaper than Terminator: Genisys and it didn’t have to worry about the 4th on a Saturday. Magic Mike was going to be seriously front-loaded but was going to grind out a profit regardless.
With stripper and cyborg sequels entering the marketplace, it is somewhat of a surprise that our one/two combo at the box office is again is Jurassic World, rebooted from a dormant franchise, and the original concept Inside Out. Family audiences dominated movie theaters, taking in the somewhat more family-friendly fare. At the top of the heap once again is Jurassic World, the now four-weekend-old film that is breaking records like an Indominous Rex stomping on a human.