Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office: Heaven is Totally for Real, Johnny Depp’s Bankability Not So Much & Amazing Spider-Man 2 Off to Hot International Start

To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.

So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Captain America: The Winter Soldier three-peated atop the chart while Heaven is for Real enjoyed the Easter-bump, Johnny Depp’s Transcendence indicated he needs to just go away for a while because audiences are burnt out on him, and Haunted House 2 and Bears debuted below expectations.  Elsewhere, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened big overseas. Let’s break it down.

Top 10 Actual Domestic Totals (4/18-4/20)

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier


  • Weekend Gross=$25.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$200.5 million
  • Budget=$170 million

Foreign: A current foreign gross of $385.1 million for a worldwide total of $585.6 million.

How is Winter Soldier stacking up against First Avenger so far?  It’s crushing it, already well north of both First Avenger‘s domestic ($176 million) and foreign ($193 million) totals.  Even after you adjust for ticket price inflation, First Avenger only bumps up to $185 million domestic, still south of Winter Soldier‘s $200.5 million.

How is it stacking up against other Marvel Studios films?  Thor: The Dark World‘s ass is about to get passed, both domestically ($206 million) and worldwide ($644 million).  Winter Soldier will become the highest domestic and worldwide grossing Marvel Studios film to not feature Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark. Bye-bye to the assumption that Iron Man was Marvel Studios’ marquee character, and Thor their second.  Second place now belongs to Captain America, even if Winter Soldier is kind of a mini-Avengers team-up story.

2. Heaven is for Real (Opening Weekend)


  • Weekend Gross=$22.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$29.5 million (it opened this past Wednesday)
  • Budget=$12 million

Foreign: Only playing outside of North America in Poland and the Philippines; no box office figures have come in from them yet

Well, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  A Christian film produced by a pastor (T.D. Jakes) and starring a guy, Greg Kinnear, who though well-known recently failed to carry his own TV show (Rake) is NOT supposed to open bigger than a $100 million budget sci-fi fest starring Johnny Depp.  However, Heaven is for Real, based on a best-selling non-fiction account of a boy who briefly died, was revived, and then claimed to have seen heaven in the interim, just posted one of the best opening weekends for any Christian film, way better than this year’s God’s Not Dead ($9 million) but a little behind Son of God ($25 million). The temptation is to simply assume this played big in the Bible Belt but nowhere else, but a five-day debut just south of $30 million is a little too big to just be grass roots advertising to faith-based audiences and busloads of churchgoers showing up, though that certainly played a part.  More than anything else, it seems to have been perfectly timed for Easter.  The test remains whether or not this will last.  Son of God was out of the Top 10 after 3 weeks while God’s Not Dead is only just poised to exit it after 5 weeks.  

3. Rio 2 


  •  Weekend Gross=$22.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$75 million
  • Budget=$103 million

Foreign: A current foreign gross of $199.7 million for a worldwide total of $274.7 million.

Rio 2 opened pretty much exactly even with the first Rio from 3 years ago, but it now seems to be declining at an ever-slightly faster rate.  After 10 days of release, Rio 2’s domestic gross of $75 million trails Rio’s first-10-day-gross of $80.8 million.  This would indicate Fox’s Blue Sky animation branch failed to build the Rio franchise audience’s between films, and have now delivered a sequel which is not liked quite as much.  Still, it’s not exactly like it’s drastically off the pace of the first Rio.  Plus, Blue Sky’s biggest worldwide hits (all the Ice Age films, Rio) usually make 70% or more of their gross internationally. 

4. Transcendence (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$10.8 million
  • Budget=$100 million

Foreign: $17.4 million from 27 markets, $11.4 million from China specifically, for a worldwide debut of $28.2 million.

There was a sense of wanting to support Transcendence because the still-likable Johnny Depp just really needed a win after Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows flamed out in spectacular fashion in the U.S.  Plus, it marked the directorial debut of Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister, who seemed primed to become our next great filmmaker.  Unfortunately, the film they delivered is like a modern day Lawnmower Man with none of the kitschy charm.  Audiences just generally couldn’t be bothered to give it a chance, ending up with the worst opening for a Johnny Depp film since the Rum Diary debuted with $9 million in 2009.  Whereas that was a passion project with minimal expectations Transcendence somehow cost $100 million to make, $20 million of which reportedly went straight to Depp’s clearly inflated salary.  That means Johnny Depp was paid almost double what this movie took in its opening weekend, domestically.

China!  Allow me to explain.  Transcendence was actually co-financed with China’s DMG Entertainment, with Warner Bros. simply handling the domestic distribution.  So, Depp has actually been busier promoting this film over there than he has here because he still remains a big international draw, though not big enough to turn domestic bombs like Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows into worldwide hits.  So, they’ve always been banking on the international market to lift this thing, and although $11.1 million from China is a solid debut it’s also not so big to think this will be saved by the foreign box office. 

5. Haunted House 2 (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$8.8 million
  • Budget=$4 million

Foreign: The Philippines were honored (?) with being the sole foreign territory to receive Haunted House 2 at the same time as its domestic debut. Their box office information is not yet available.

41-year-old Marlon is the Wayans brother behind Haunted House 2?  Marlon famously starred with his brother Shawn in White Chicks, Little Man, Dance Flick, and the first Scary Movie films.  Their older brother Kennan Ivory Wayans, who is nearly two decades their senior, created In Living Colour back in 1990, and later created the Scary Movie franchise, directing the first two.  Since that franchise has now shifted to become the property of Airplane/Naked Gun guru David Zucker, Marlon has, without any official assistance from any of his siblings, created his own horror film spoof franchise, writing the scripts with Rick Alvarez.  Haunted House was made for just $2.5 million, but opened with $18 million on the way to a total domestic gross of $40 million.  Haunted House 2 has now opened with almost exactly half of the first Haunted House‘s $18 million, but with their $4 million budget you’d imagine they’re disappointed but not exactly financially ruined or anything.

6. Draft Day

Draft Day

  • Weekend Gross=$5.7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$19.3 million
  • Budget=$25 million

Foreign: Just started a slow roll-out to foreign territories, none of which have reported box office results yet.

After Hatfields & McCoys turned into a surprise ratings winner in 2012, Kevin Costner was the belle of the comeback ball, studios lining up to get in on the nostalgia tour.  It started off pretty well, playing Superman’s adoptive father in Man of Steel last year, but 2014 has now delivered 3 successive box office disappointments (Shadow Recruit, 3 Days to Kill, Draft Day), each one grossing loss than the one that came before.  Now, with the actual NFL Draft scheduled to start May 8th it seems highly likely Costner’s film fictionalizing the draft will barely still be around by then.  The ill-fated “Year of Kevin Costner” isn’t over yet.  Disney has McFarland, in which Costner plays a true life high school coach leading a mostly Hispanic track team in the 1980sscheduled to come out in late November, (THR).  

7. Divergent


  • Weekend Gross=$5.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$133.8 million
  • Budget=$85 million

Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $75.3 million making for a worldwide total of $209.1 million

Divergent is now the highest domestic grossing YA book adaptation to not feature Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, or Bella Swan.  Even though it’s not matching that domestic success overseas it’s done well enough that Lionsgate will happily split the final book in the series into two films, a clear vote of confidence in the franchise’s financial health.  .

8. Oculus


  • Weekend Gross=$5.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$21.8 million
  • Budget=$5 million

Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $1.1 million making from very limited release for a worldwide total of $22.3 million

Oculus is the weakest overall performing supernatural horror film since Devil’s Due came and went rather quietly this past January, ending its run with just $15 million domestic.  However, it’s second weekend hold of 56% is actually better than average for a film of this genre.  You have your extreme positive examples like The Conjuring and the first Insidous which only declined 47% and 30% respectively in their second weekends, but more common are drops in the mid-60% range (e.g., Devil’s Due, The Marked Ones, Insidious 2, Carrie, Evil Dead).  That might indicate word-of-mouth on Oculus is a little better than usual.  Unfortunately, it’s running concurrent to a parody (Haunted House 2) of films of its’ type, and has direct competition next weekend from The Quiet Ones.  Yet it’s still really hard to regard this as being any kind of box office disappointment when its budget was so minimal and expectations so low.  This hasn’t turned into a surprise Insidious/Conjuring/Purge/Mama-style hit, but with these microbudget films they really don’t need a whole lot to turn a profit, which Oculus certainly already has en route to cleaning up on home video down the road.

9. Noah

Noah (1)

  •  Weekend Gross=$5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$93.2 million
  • Budget=$125 million

Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $197 million making for a worldwide total of $290.6 million

Noah‘s march to $100 million domestic continues unabated.  As a point of reference, Noah director Darren Aronosfsky’s most recent film, Black Swan, actually slightly over-performed in grossing $106 million domestic in 2010.  It only cost $13 million to produce.  In fact, Black Swan made $329 million worldwide.  Considering all of its controversies, Noah is certainly not the embarrassing bomb it could have been, but the fact that after 4-5 weeks of worldwide release it’s still trailing the far, far, far cheaper to make Black Swan is a bit jarring.  It’s surprisingly received some serious competition for faith-based audiences from God’s Not Dead and now Heaven is for Real.

10. Bears (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$4.7 million
  • Budget=They’re not telling

Foreign: No overseas box office figures yet.

Undoubtedly spurred on by the ginormous box office success of March of the Penguins in 2005, Disney started releasing nature documentaries in 2009 as part of a new Disney Nature production line.  Released one-a-year from 2009-2012, these films (Earth, Oceans, African Cats, Chimpanze) averaged a domestic gross of $20.1 million/worldwide gross of $64.3 million.  They took last year off, but absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder.  Bears, an ode to Stephen Colbert’s godless killing machines, posted the worst opening for any of the Disneynature films, even worse than the $6 million debuts for Oceans and African Cats.

What Happened Outside of the Top 10?

Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: God’s Not Dead (#7 to #11), The Grand Budapest Hotel (#8 to #12), Muppets Most Wanted (#9 to #13), and Mr. Peabody & Sherman (#10 to #14).  

What About The Amazing Spider-Man 2?:


Belgium, UK, Ireland, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal, and Uruguay all got Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Wednesday (4/17) with Bulgaria, Mexico, and Sweden getting it one day later (4/18).  According to THR, it grossed a combined $47 million, “scoring the biggest openings of the year in those countries, and topping the foreign box office chart.”   Specific to individual countries, it debuted with $15 million in the UK, $11.1 million in Mexico, and $6.2 million in Germany.  While The Amazing Spider-Man appeared to suffer from franchise fatigue in North America, it grossed $490 million from international play, the second highest foreign gross for a Spider-Man film, trailing Spider-Man 3‘s $554 million.  So, although it’s unclear what to expect from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 at the domestic box office when it debuts on May 2nd it is expected to remain a strong international presence.


What’s Up Next?: A horror flick (The Quiet Ones), an action flick (Brick Mansions), and a chick flick (The Other Woman).  Variety is indeed the spice of life.  Quiet Ones, with its “based on a true story” advertising, aims to capture some of that Conjuring magic, Brick Mansions gives us Paul Walker’s final completed film, and The Other Woman teams up Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Boobs McGee herself Kate Upton for basically an updated take on First Wive’s Club.  

UPDATE 4/21/14: The above list has been updated with the actual box office figures as opposed to studio estimates.  What changed?  Heaven is for Real actually finished at #2, not #3, and Bears actually edged out God’s Not Dead to finish at #10 on the chart, not #11.

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