To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.
So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: X-Men: Days of Future Past reminded us of the increasing importance of the foreign box office by posting a slightly disappointing domestic debut yet still ending up with the biggest worldwide bow in 20th Century Fox’s 80-year history. Elsewhere, Godzilla stumbled badly, and Adam Sandler’s Blended bombed. Let’s break it down:
The totals below have been updated to reflect both the 3-day Fri-Sun weekend and 4-Day Fri-Mon Memorial Day weekend periods.
Top 10 Estimated Domestic Totals (5/23-5/26)
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Opening Weekend)
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$90 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day=$111 million
- Budget=$210-240 million
Foreign: Opening pretty much everywhere around the world, Days of Future Past posted an astounding foreign total of $191 million for a worldwide debut of $302 million.
The most direct comparison to make is to X-Men: The Last Stand, which employed a nearly identical global release strategy on the same weekend in 2006 and pulled down $102.7 million across Fri-Sun and $122 million with the addition of Memorial Day. Even with the benefit of 3D/IMAX ticket pricing, Days of Future Past failed to beat either of those marks, pulling in just $90 million over its first 3 days and $111 million with Memorial Day. That is a tad disappointing, but hot off last year’s strong international play for The Wolverine Days of Future Past opened huge overseas with $191 million over its first 4 days for a worldwide debut of $302 million. However, the beautiful thing about foreign grosses for the studios is that they can’t easily be adjusted for inflation so we can’t really put it into context, e.g., back in 2006 The Last Stand debuted with $100 million overseas but what would that have been at current ticket prices? So, when Fox says this is their biggest international debut, even bigger than Avatar, we smile and agree that it at least sounds impressive even though we don’t really know how many other films opened in as many countries at the same time as Days of Future Past just did. Plus, we take note how odd it is that in 2006 Last Stand took half of its worldwide debut from overseas and half at home whereas around two-thirds of Days of Future Past‘s eye-popping worldwide numbers are due to the international market.
Future Past’s $90 million 3-day debut is the weakest of the summer’s big blockbusters, albeit not by much, i.e., Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million), Godzilla ($93 million), and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($92 million). It’s $111 million Memorial Day debut trails recent Memorial Day releases (Pirates of the Caribbean 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, Indiana Jones 4, Fast & Furious 6) by between $7-24 million.
Still, $302 million in 4 days is undeniably huge business. The problem, as expertly argued by Forbes’ Scott Mendelson, is that X-Men is the most consistently front-loaded franchise in recent Hollywood history. This means the X-Men films play to their base opening weekend, and then seriously declines after that, regardless of word of mouth or CinemaScore grades or RottenTomatoes:
“The curious thing about the franchise, and the reason why even a much-loved X-Men: Days of Future Past may not send the series that much higher at the box office, is its consistent front-loading. Fans liked X-Men and The Wolverine, loved X2 and X-Men: First Class, and hated X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and yet not a single one of these films earned even 3x their respective Fri-Sun opening weekends at the domestic box office.” [Forbes]
Days of Future Past will definitely pass The Wolverine‘s franchise high for foreign gross ($282 million). However, it remains to be seen if it will also have enough juice to best X-Men: The Last Stand‘s franchise records for domestic ($234 million) and worldwide gross ($459 million). Those are actual numbers. After ticket price inflation adjustments, The Last Stand would have actually made $284 million domestic. Days of Future Past won’t do that.
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$31.4 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$39.4 million
- Total Gross to Date=$156.7 million
- Budget=$160 million
Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $166 million for a worldwide total of $323.3 million.
Misleading advertising both giveth and taketh away. Aiming not to repeat the mistakes of Pacific Rim, Godzilla was sold more like a World War Z-esque disaster film than a monster movie, choosing to heavily emphasize Bryan Cranston’s fiery performance in the process. The problem is Cranston is a minor part of the movie, and despite director Gareth Edwards’ mimicry of all things Steven Spielberg Godzilla is still a monster movie. So, while it opened with an astonishing $93 million last weekend it has plunged a very bad 66% this weekend. That’s almost X-Men Origins: Wolverine (69%) bad. In fact, the 1998 version we all hate in favor of this new one? It only dropped 59% in its second weekend. To be fair, it was playing against the likes of Hope Floats and Deep Impact that weekend; not anything remotely similar to Days of Future Past.
It is fair to re-examine just why it is that the 1998 Godzilla was considered such a failure while the current version is such a success. It has little to do with actual dollars and cents, and everything to do with expectations. It sounds impressive to say that the 2014 Godzilla has already passed the 1998 version’s total domestic gross of $136 million, but it’s ultimately meaningless. If you adjust for ticket price inflation, they both have nearly identical 10-day domestic totals ($145 million for the ’98 film, $149 million for the 2014 film). However, the 1998 Godzilla was director Roland Emmerich’s first film after Independence Day, which grossed an astonishing $306 million domestic, $817 million worldwide, keeping in mind that was in 1996. Event at current ticket prices, Emmerich’s Godzilla wouldn’t have come anywhere near those totals. Plus, a year prior to Godzilla Spielberg’s Jurassic Park: The Lost World had grossed $229 million domestic, $618 million worldwide, and the Jurassic Park dinosaurs were an obvious influence on Emmerich’s Godzilla.
Jump ahead to today and the only recent title to which we can compare the new Godzilla is last year’s Pacific Rim, a notorious box office disappointment which Godzilla is beating pretty thoroughly, although Pacific Rim’s second weekend drop was just 57%. Plus, Godzilla‘s director, Gareth Edwards, comes with absolutely no baggage of audience expectations. The fact that his film is now basically doing just as good as Emmerich’s is a victory, cause for Disney to steal him away to direct a new Star Wars spin-off for 2016, whereas back in ’98 such a performance was a travesty even though that film ultimately turned a profit at the box office ($360 million worldwide on a budget of $130 million).
3. Blended (Opening Weekend)
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$14.2 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$18.1 million
- Budget=$40 million
Foreign: $2.1 million for a worldwide debut of $20.2 million
Last July, Adam Sandler’s Grown-Ups 2 stunned many when it opened with nearly $43 million, ultimately ending up with $133 million domestic/$113 million foreign for a worldwide total of $246 million, pretty great for a movie which cost $80 million to produce. It definitely complicated things for those who figured audiences had finally tired of Adam Sandler based off of recent failures like Jack and Jill (which scored $149.6 million worldwide, failing to double its $79 budget) and That’s My Boy ($57.7 million worldwide on a $70 million budget). Suddenly, Blended, another team-up with Drew Berrymore, looked less like the desperate attempt of a fading star to bank on nostalgia and more like the return of a triumphant king. That is, of course, until we all finally got a glance at the trailers, which presented a premise so asinine it seemed as if Sandler had just conned the studio into unwittingly funding his vacation to Africa. Pre-release ticket tracking projected a soft debut, with a best case scenario of around $30 million. Instead, it made less than half that much.
Grown-Ups 2 was an ensemble comedy and, crucially, a sequel to a financially successful film, and it performed as such, boosted by a perfectly timed release delivering live-action, family-friendly entertainment in a summer overrun by action, comic books, and animation. Blended, on the other hand, is dependent upon nostalgia for Sandler/Berrymore prior hits The Wedding Singer ($123 million worldwide on a $18 million budget) and 50 First Dates ($196 million worldwide on a $75 million budget). Instead, it opened just barely above That’s My Boy‘s $13 million. Adam Sandler movies which open this low are usually his rare dramatic experiments (i.e., Spanglish, Reign Over Me); not a romantic comedy with Drew Berrymore.
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$13.9 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$17.2 million
- Total Gross to Date=$116.9 million
- Budget=$18 million
Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $67.4 million for a worldwide total of $184.3 million.
It’s odd that Neighbors hasn’t really caught on internationally since prior R-rated comedies like The Hangover sequels and Ted were much bigger hits there than they were at home. Then again, the fact that Seth Rogen and Zac Efron had to explain the concept of a college fraternity to TV host Graham Norton while promoting the film in the UK might point to at least one potential cultural barrier.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$7.8 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$10 million
- Total Gross to Date=$187.1 million
- Budget=$200-250 million
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $489 million making for a worldwide total of $676.1 million
This was a 54% drop for Amazing-Spider Man 2 from last weekend, and is now the third weekend in a row in which it has declined by more than 50%. It now sits at $184.9 million after 24 days. As a point of comparison, Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s opening weekend was almost identical to ASM 2‘s, and after its first 24 days it had reached $225 millions, adding just a little over $25 million from that point forward. As of right now, 38% of Winter Soldier‘s total domestic gross came from its opening weekend. ASM 2 will likely end with a domestic total hovering right around $200 million meaning nearly half of its domestic gross will have come from its opening weekend.
It’s tempting to see that as an indictment of the movie, which is the worst-reviewed in franchise history and certainly has earned the ire of the hardcore fans. After all, everyone seemed to like Winter Soldier so much more, and look at how much better it did at the box office. However, Winter Soldier also came out in early April, and never faced any serious competition until ASM 2 came out. ASM 2, on the other hand, has had to deal with Neighbors, Godzilla, and now X-Men: Days of Future Past in consecutive weekends, the first two of which performed massively above expectations. Bad word of mouth for ASM 2 has certainly been a factor in that, but if you look at fan ratings on IMDB and RottenTomatoes ASM 2 actually scores on par with every prior Spider-Man film other than Spider-Man 3 which everyone seemed to hate, critic and fan alike. So, it’s hard to get a read on how much of this box office decline is attributable to competition or word of mouth because in reality it’s probably a combination of both.
6. A Million Dollar Arm
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$7 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$8.7 million
- Total Gross to Date=$22.4 million
- Budget=$25 million
Foreign: Less than $1 million in foreign gross from very, very limited release.
Among recent baseball movies, 42 set the ceiling with its domestic gross of $95 million while Trouble with the Curve set the floor with its disappointing total domestic gross of $35 million. A Million Dollar Arm is nowhere near that ceiling, and may not even quite reach that floor, currently trailing Trouble with the Curve‘s 10-day total of $23 million.
7. The Other Woman
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$3.6 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$4.5 million
- Total Gross to Date=$78.4 million
- Budget=$40 million
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $86.3 million for a worldwide total of $164.7 million
This is now one of the top 4-grossing comedies of Cameron Diaz’s career, trailing just behind What Happens in Vegas ($80.2 million domestic) but well behind Bad Teacher ($100 million) and Something About Mary ($176 million).
8. Rio 2
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$2.5 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$3.2 million
- Total Gross to Date=$122.3 million
- Budget=$103 million
Foreign: Currently, its international gross stands at $326.6 million making for a worldwide total of $448.9 million
As the only real animated film out since its release, not counting the glaringly direct-to-video-esque The Legend of Oz, Rio 2 has hung on in the top 10 for 7 weekends. The next major animated film doesn’t drop until How to Train Your Dragon 2 debuts next month (6/13).
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$2.2 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$2.9 million
- Total Gross to Date=$4.2 million
- Budget=They’re not telling
Foreign: No oofficial foreign box office information yet.
Jon Favreau has moved on from his days of directing Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man, but made some notable friends along the way, recruiting Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson to make appearances in Chef, his indie film in which he stars as a chef who loses his restaurant job but starts up a food truck. Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Dustin Hoffman are also around, and after playing in limited release for the last two weeks Chef upped its theater total to just south of 500 this weekend, allowing it to sneak into the top 10. The strong reviews, as indicated by the 87% RottenTomatoes rating, probably helped.
10. Heaven is for Real
- 3-Day Weekend Gross=$1.9 million
- 4-Day Memorial Day Weekend Gross=$2.7 million
- Total Gross to Date=$86.5 million
- Budget=$12 million
Foreign: A current foreign gross of $2.4 million for a worldwide total of $89 million.
What Happened Outside of the Top 10?
Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (#8 to #11), Legend of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (#9 to #18), and Mom’s Night Out (#10 to #13). The Winter Soldier exits the top 10 with a total domestic gross of $253.5 million.
What’s Up Next?: Angelina Jolie goes evil witch in Disney’s Maleficent (5/30) while Seth MacFarlane takes a stab at live-action acting in the bawdy, R-rated western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West (5/30). If you live somewhere hip you might also catch James McAvoy’s Filthy (5/30) and the Jesse Eisenberg indie thriller Night Moves (5/30).