October Arrives A Week Early as Box Office Records Set
By John Hamann
September 27, 2015
Second spot this weekend may not be September’s best opening, but it is still strong regardless. The Robert DeNiro/Anne Hathaway flick could have opened anywhere between How Do You Know’s $7 million and It’s Complicated’s $22.1 million. This older, mostly female audience can be fickle, but The Intern – despite not much of a push from the marketing department – still had a first Friday of $6.2 million, and had that been the weekend gross, I wouldn’t have been overly surprised. However, the star power and cute concept pushed the Warner Bros. release to a dramatic $18.2 million, which puts this one on the road to success. The Intern debuted at 3,305 venues, and WB was smart to push this one out that wide.
Reviews were somewhat surprisingly lower than expected at 56% fresh, but that tells us why this film is getting a September release rather than a Christmas Day release. Like our #1 film, audiences liked The Intern much more than critics did, giving it an A- Cinemascore. That score likely is better news for The Intern than Hotel Transylvania 2, as these sorts of comedies rely on word-of-mouth. Usually, the older crowds don’t show up over opening weekend. The budget here has been reported at $35 million, and if that number is correct, this film could do very well. A domestic multiplier of 4.5 would get it to around $80 million, which would be more than enough, as both stars have a following overseas.
Third is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and following a decent opening beyond the $30 million mark, Maze Runner gets spanked this weekend, by an animated Dracula and a Nancy Meyers comedy, two films that shouldn’t have been cutting in on the Scorch Trials. The sequel’s second weekend came in at $14 million, off 54% compared to its $30.3 million debut. Oddly enough, the original Maze Runner did not have a drop higher than 50% until 10 weekends into its run, which shows how quickly indifference is settling into this wannabe franchise (for further examples, see Divergent/Insurgent). The sequel with the $61 million budget is going to need $180 million worldwide to see a profit, but has pulled in $82 million overseas already. Domestically, The Scorch Runner has picked up $51.7 million so far.
Everest expanded this weekend, moving from that IMAX-only screen count of 535 last weekend to an ultra-wide pattern of 3,006 in weekend two. The result was mixed, with Everest improving on last weekend’s score of $7.2 million on premium screens by lifting up to $13.1 million on a mix of premium and regular screens. That’s an increase of 81% for this Universal-distributed adventure flick, but given that the venues expanded six-fold, one has to wonder if the distributor wasn’t looking for more. Everest cost $55 million to make, which means it will need at least $165 million worldwide to get to a profit. Currently, it looks like a $50 million earner domestically (unless it starts to hold), which will put some pressure on the overseas side of this release. Over there, it grossed $29 million to start its international campaign, so this one could end up finishing well before all is said and done.