To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.
So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Noah translated controversy into the biggest opening for a Christian-leaning film since Passion of the Christ, but it was so divisive among those who saw it the jury is out on how well it will hold in the coming weeks. Elsewhere, Sabotage was the biggest bomb of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career since…the first Terminator? And Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in international release ahead of next week’s domestic debut, did exactly what you’d expect Marvel’s third-tier franchise character to do: open big, just not Thor: The Dark World big, and certainly not Iron Man 3 big.
Top 10 Actual Domestic Totals (3/28-3/30)
1. Noah (Opening Weekend)
- Opening Weekend Gross=$43.7 million
- Budget=$125 million
Foreign: $33.6 million from 21 markets for a new international gross of $51 million and worldwide total of $94.8 million. Noah actually first opened in several major foreign markets last weekend.
Darren Aronofsky’s artistic telling of the biblical tale of Noah has been creating controversy for weeks, if not months. It’s been banned in several countries, and Paramount cow-towed to criticism by affixing a disclaimer to all prints of Noah: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide.” Experts were divided as to how all of this would translate in Noah’s box office performance. Paramount and New Regency (who co-financed that $125 million budget) aired on the conservative side, predicting a $30-33 million debut.
The result was easily the biggest domestic opening for a Christian-leaning film since The Passion of the Christ‘s $83 million in 2004. Beyond that, it improved upon the last major Noah film, Steve Carrell’s comedic Evan Almighty, which focuses on a modern-day Noah figure. That opened at $31 million in 2007, which would be like making $37 million at current ticket prices. Noah‘s also doing exceptionally well overseas, debuting at $17 million in Russia alone, the biggest opening for a non-sequel in Russian history.
However, while the controversy was enough to get audiences out for opening weekend it also polarized viewers, who gave it a C grade on CinemaScore. This could be a reflection, equally, of audiences rejecting the film on moral grounds as well as reacting against Paramount’s marketing, which 100% hid any hint of the Noah‘s heavy supernatural elements. Wolf of Wall Street is a similar film which received a low CinemaScore grade, largely due to misleading marketing, but ended up being a big hit anyway. So, Noah‘s C may mean absolutely nothing at all towards its long-term prospects. The bigger threat is the competition from Captain America: The Winter Soldier next weekend.
- Weekend Gross=$25.6 million
- Total Gross to Date=$94.3 million
- Budget=$85 million
Foreign: Information about its international performance has not officially been released yet.
Last weekend, Divergent gave hope to many a Hollywood producer and YA novelist by being the first YA adaptation since Hunger Games to truly hit big in the on-going chase for that elusive Harry Potter/Twilight audience. Sure, it opened well below the original Twilight‘s $69 million and light years south of Hunger Games‘ record-setting $152 million, but as a result of opening so big both of those movies had far more room to fall, declining between 61-62% in their second weekends. Divergent only declined 53% here in its second weekend. It’s still not in the same league as Hunger Games, financially, and not even a hit on the level of the first Twilight, which had $119 million after its first 10 days compared to Divergent’s $94.3 million. However, it’s also clearly the biggest hit of all would-be YA successors, astronomically higher than Host, Beautiful Creatures, and The Mortal Instruments. It’s even better than the moderately successful Percy Jackson films, the first of which ended with a domestic gross of $88 million. The next big test will be the international market.
3. Muppet’s Most Wanted
- Weekend Gross=$11.2 million
- Total Gross to Date=$33.1 million
- Budget=$50 million
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $7.5 million making for a worldwide total of $40.7 million
Prior to Muppet’s Most Wanted, the average Muppet film, including Jason Segel’s 2011 entry, grossed $41.2 million in actual dollars, $87.9 million in ticket price inflation-adjusted dollars. What that means is Muppet’s Most Wanted, which only declined 33% this weekend, is on pace at $33 million domestic after 10 days to end up earning a little more than your average Muppet movie in actual dollars. However, it will have ended up selling far fewer tickets and thus being seen by far fewer people.
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman
- Weekend Gross=$9 million
- Total Gross to Date=$94.9 million
- Budget=$145 million
Foreign: Currently, its’ total international gross stands at $123.1 million making for a worldwide total of $218 million
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is going to make more than $100 million domestic, and is already close to a worldwide gross in the $230-250 million territory. Those sound like good, big numbers, but they simply aren’t big enough for a movie which cost $145 million to produce. That’s a shame since by only declining 19% here in its fourth weekend, after similarly strong holds the prior weekends, Mr. Peabody & Sherman appears to have rather strong word of mouth. Just not strong enough, unless this turns into a Frozen-like scenario where it just never seems to leave the Top 10. As it is, it’s still holding strong in the top 5, despite direct competition for the family market from Muppet’s Most Wanted.
5. God’s Not Dead
- Weekend Gross=$8.7 million
- Total Gross to Date=$21.7 million
- Budget=They’re not telling
Foreign: The rest of the world doesn’t get to assess God’s “Dead”/”Not Dead” status; right now, this is a domestic-only release
After debuting in 780 theaters, Christian indie drama God’s Not Dead expanded to 398 additional theaters this weekend. The result? It made almost exactly the same amount as it did last weekend, declining a mere (and very impressive) 4.5%. So, did faith-based audiences, mortified by what they had just seen in Noah, flock straight down the hall in their cineplex to have their faiths re-affirmed in God’s Not Dead? Who knows, but a faith-based film (God’s Not Dead) conservative audiences and pundits champion doing well while a faith-based film (Noah) conservative audiences and pundits despise opens is likely not a coincidence. The truth, though, is that for at least this one weekend faith-based audiences found themselves the belles of the ball, courted by both Noah and God’s Not Dead. Both parties benefited from it, financially.
6. Grand Budapest Hotel
- Weekend Gross=$8.5 million
- Total Gross to Date=$24.1 million
- Budget=They’re not telling
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $45.1 million making for a worldwide total of $69.2 million
The Grand Budapest Hotel continued its slow roll-out strategy, expanding into 673 additional theaters for a new total of 977, making this its first weekend of wide release (the cut-off for a wide release is to play in or above 600 theaters). The result was a weekend gross which marked a 26% improvement over last weekend’s $6.7 million. However, unlike the past couple of weeks it did not have the best per-screen average of any film in release. That honor went to The Raid 2, which pulled in average of $25,286 from 7 theaters.
- Opening Weekend Gross=$5.2 million
- Budget=They’re not telling
Foreign: Opened in 8 international territories concurrent to its domestic debut; box office figures for those countries are not available yet
Arnold’s back, alright. Back to hitting career lows. Last year’s The Last Stand opened with $6.2 million, the worst opening for an Arnold film since The Raw Deal pulled in $5.4 million in 1986. Now, Sabotage‘s $5.2 million is his worst opening since the first Terminator debuted with $4 million from just over 1,000 theaters in 1984. His only film to have opened lower than that is Red Sonja, which launched with $2.2 million from 1,091 theaters in 1985.
Arnold’s most recent film, Escape Plan, opened low at $9.8 million last October, and topped out at $25 million domestic. However, China loved the heck out of it to the tune of $40 million, enough to boost its worldwide total to $137 million. Was that a fluke dependent upon China’s inability to resist the appeal of Arnold and Sylvester Stallone together? Or is Arnold just really big in China right now? We’ll find out when we see how Sabotage does over there.
8. Need for Speed
- Weekend Gross=$4.22 million
- Total Gross to Date=$37.6 million
- Budget=$66 million
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $130 million making for a worldwide total of $167.6 million
Speaking of China, Need for Speed is fading fast from the domestic box office, currently topped out at $37.6 million. However, it has racked up $57 million from China alone, and has turned into a bit of a big hit internationally. Nearly 80% of its $167.6 million worldwide gross comes from everywhere but North America.
9. 300: Rise of an Empire
- Weekend Gross=$4.2 million
- Total Gross to Date=$101 million
- Budget=$110 million
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $213 million making for a worldwide total of $313.9 million
Congratulations, Rise of an Empire – you passed $100 million domestic. That seems like an increasingly insignificant accomplishment, but just ask Need for Speed how hard it is to actually pull off. Of course, that’s still nothing compared to the original 300’s $210 million domestic ($255 million at current ticket prices). Internationally, the original 300 ended its run with $245 million, compared to Rise of an Empire‘s current international gross of $213 million. Translation: North American audiences won’t turn 3D extravaganzas into ginormous hits (Gravity excluded) like we once did with 300 yet haven’t with Rise of an Empire; international audiences have no such reservations.
- Weekend Gross=$4 million
- Total Gross to Date=$85.1 million
- Budget=$50 million
Foreign: Currently, its has a combined international gross of $63.4 million for a worldwide total of $148.5 million.
Non-Stop has been out for 31 days now. So, let’s look at the 31-day grosses of prior Liam Neeson action films:
- The Grey ($50 million)
- Unknown ($61 million)
- Taken ($107 million)
- Taken 2 ($125 million)
So, Non-Stop is clearly Neeson’s biggest recent success outside of the Taken franchise. Remember when Neeson was just a grieving dad in Love Actually?
What Happened Outside of the Top 10?
Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: The LEGO Movie (#9 to #11), Single Mom’s Club (#10 to #14) – The LEGO Movie exits the Top 10 with a domestic gross of $248 million, and worldwide gross of $400 million, good enough to be the highest grossing release of 2014 to date. As for Single Mom’s Club, the lowest-grossing Tyler Perry-directed film used to be Good Deeds ($35 million). Well, Single Mom’s Club leaves the Top 10 with a gross barely over $15 million.
What About Captain America: The Winter Soldier?:
As per recent Marvel Studios tradition, Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened in 32 foreign territories (57% of the international market) this weekend in advance of its domestic debut next weekend. It opened big, with $75.2 million. As a point of comparison, though, Thor: The Dark World opened with $110 million from 36 territories last November, and Iron Man 3 pulled in $198 million from 79% of the foreign market last May.
What’s Up Next?: Marvel Studios finally lets us in on the fun, opening Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Friday (4/4). There are no other movies opening wide, instead several (Limited, Nymphomaniac 2, Under the Skin) playing in limited release.
UPDATED 4/2/2014 – The studio estimated box office totals for the top 10 have been replaced with the actual totals which were released yesterday. There was no resulting shuffling in the Top 10, just a general downgrading of how much each individual film actually made over the weekend versus what the studio originally estimated.