Here’s what happened at the domestic box office this weekend: Hasbro board game adaptation Ouija continued producer Jason Blum’s conquest of box office profitability, John Wick possibly failed to be that new franchise-starter some had expected, and St. Vincent played well in Middle America but not so well that it cracked the top 5. Internationally, Guardians of the Galaxy became the third biggest film of the year. Let’s do the numbers.
Top 10 Estimated Domestic Totals (10/24-10/26)
- Weekend Gross=$20 million
- Budget=$5m (give or take)
Foreign: Opened in five territories (Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Poland and Slovenia) outside the U.S. this weekend, grossing $1.3m for a worldwide debut of $21.3m
Maybe this hasn’t gotten much press (or maybe it has but I missed it), but Ouija was at one point supposed to be a $150m budget special effects extravaganza produced by Michael Bay. It was part of Universal’s efforts to exploit any and all of the Hasbro and Parker Pros. board games, but after the first one of those out of the gate, 2012’s unfortunate Battleship, stunk it up domestically the Ouija movie they were going to make died despite the millions they’d poured into development. Then along came Jason Blum (the uber-producer behind Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Insidious, The Purge), who reasoned he could make a Ouija flick for them for next to nothing. In Blum Universal trusts because he turned Ouija into his 7th no. 1 opening for a horror film. Sure, critics (10% on RottenTomatoes) and audiences (C on CinemaScore) don’t seem to like it all that much, but that doesn’t seem particularly relevant to the bottom line when something which cost so little made 4times its budget in 3 days.
- Weekend Gross=$14.1 million
- Budget=They’d rather not say
Foreign: No foreign box office yet
Keanu Reeves has been grabbing headlines as of late by admitting in interviews that he wishes he’d get offered parts in big films again, which is not to say that he doesn’t enjoy the indie films he’s been doing as of late. It’s just that big budget movies can be a lot of fun and balance out the more serious, artsy stuff. Or maybe he just likes the bigger paychecks. If so, he didn’t let on. John Wick, a revenge tale about a hitman forced out of retirement, may appear like a big movie, a Equalizer/Taken-type, but it was actually made independently and then sold to Lionsgate for U.S. distribution. The presence of Reeves in the cast surely helped it to get made, but it’s not really the big type of movie he’s been talking about. However, maybe the reason the studios are reluctant to offer something big to the man who was once Neo is that even after John Wick‘s debut the average opening for a wide-release film starring Keanu Reeves is only $16.9m, according to Deadline. What makes that a shame in the case of John Wick is that while it has its detractors it is genreally receiving exceptional reviews, with the current RottenTomatoes consensus arguing, “Wick serves as a satisfying return to action for Keanu Reeves — and what looks like it could be the first of a franchise.” Audiences didn’t appear to get the message, delivering John Wick an opening only slightly better than similar would-be franchise starters like 3 Days to Kill ($12.2m) and Walk Among the Tombstones ($12.7m) as well as a CinemaScore grade (B) that doesn’t exactly promise stellar word-of-mouth.
- Weekend Gross=$13 million (-45% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$46 million
- Budget=$68 million
Foreign: Expanding overseas after its domestic-exclusive debut last weekend, Fury netted $11.2m from 15 international markets this weekend, bringing its 10-day worldwide total up to $57.2m
Fury was the first WWII movie to gross more than $20m in its opening weekend since 2014’s other notable WWII movie, The Monuments Men ($23m for Fury vs. $22m for Monuments). As such, you could have projected that Fury was on track to do similar overall business to Monuments, which ended up with $78m domestic/$155m worldwide. That may no longer be true after Fury just dropped 16 percentage points higher in its second weekend than Monuments did back in February. What might ultimately be hurting Fury is that while the reviews have been good, and the A- CinemaScore grade encouraging, it appears to be playing predominantly to older men.
- Weekend Gross=$11.1 million (-37% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$124 million
- Budget=$61 million
Foreign: $18.2m this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $118.3m/$242.3m.
By this time next weekend Gone Girl will have easily become the biggest domestic earner of director David Fincher’s career, besting Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘s $127.5m from 6 years ago. It’s already a bigger hit than some of October’s more recent adult-leaning, potential awards contenders, like Captain Phillips ($107m domestic/$218m worldwide), and is the biggest worldwide hit of Ben Affleck’s career renaissance, the previous high water market belong to Argo ($232m worldwide).
- Weekend Gross=$9.8 million (-42% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$29.9 million
- Budget=$50 million
Foreign: $7.8m this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $17.5million/$47.4 million. This includes a #4 debut in the UK this weekend.
Guillermo del Toro’s animatedThe Book of Life, which he produced and Jorge R. Guiterrez co-wrote and directed, aims to bring a slice of Mexican culture to the masses with a plot and visual design inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. Among recent animated films, its $17m opening weekend was nearly identical to Boxtrolls, which ultimately faded fairly fast, now up to just under $48m domestic in its fifth weekend. Well, Book of Life just actually had a slightly worse second weekend (compared to the $11.9m for Boxtrolls). The hope remains that maybe it will pick up next weekend for Halloween, and that failing that it will catch on internationally, though that’s going to be difficult with Disney’s animated Big 6 due out in 2 weekends (it’s actually already playing in Russia).
- Weekend Gross=$8 million (+1,100% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$9.1 million
- Budget=They’re Not Telling
Foreign: No foreign box office yet
Take About a Boy, mix in a little bit of Bad Words, change the surrogate father-son dynamic of those stories to surrogate grandfather-grandson, and you’ve got St. Vincent, which expanded wide after two weeks in limited release. However, what St. Vincent may lacks in originality it makes up for in general likability with a fantastically entertaining lead performance from Bill Murray and generous support from Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, and Naomi Watts. That led to an A- CinemaScore grade, and The Weinstein Co. telling Deadline, “St. Vincent is playing great in middle and smaller town America which means that it will have long legs and longevity.”
- Weekend Gross=$7 million (-38% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$45.5 million
- Budget=$28 million
Foreign: $2.5m this weekend, including debuts in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Trinidad and Uruguay. Mexico remains its strongest international market, with $3.8m to date. Overall, Alexander‘s international haul is up to $11.2m and worldwide to $56.7m.
Alexander... is going to end up being the biggest live-action family film adaptation of a children’s book since Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The trick will be which Diary of a Wimpy Kid film, though, since there have been 3 of them: the first ($64m in 2010), the sequel ($52.6m in 2011), or the threequel ($49m in 2012). It’ll probably pass both sequels but fail to catch up to the first one.
- Weekend Gross=$4.7 million (-53% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$17.6 million
- Budget=$26 million
Foreign: Its international total was up to $1.9m from 11 markets prior to this weekend, giving it a worldwide total of $19.5m
As a young(ish) male, I am not the guy to talk about Best of Me. For that, I recently went to my mom to ask why she figured Best of Me is rapidly becoming the worst-performing Nicholas Sparks film to date. She has a bookshelf full of Nicholas Sparks novels, and even if she doesn’t do it while it’s in theaters she will eventually get around to seeing any film adapted from one of those books. In the case of Best of Me, though, she was shocked to learn that it is not on her shelf of Sparks novels. It somehow came out 3 years ago without her noticing meaning that she’s obviously never read it and still doesn’t know what it’s about. As for the film version, she admitted she’d yet to actually see any commercials for it. She figured maybe the movie was doing so poorly because they didn’t do enough advertising, and/or maybe more and more of Sparks core audience is simply waiting to rent his movies because, really, they’re kind of all the same. Either way, Best of Me is clearly not going to catch up to what used to be Sparks’ lowest-grossing release, 2002’s A Walk to Remember ($41.2m domestic).
- Weekend Gross=$4.34 million (-45% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$34.3 million
- Budget=$50 million
Foreign: $6.9m from this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $19m/$53.3m.
The Judge is the inaugural release from Robert Downey, Jr.’s new production company, Team Downey, which he runs with his wife. He has been working overtime to promote it, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Unfortunately, it’s not displaying the strong second and third weekend holds you might expect from a movie people really like but just don’t feel compelled to rush out and see opening weekend. The assumption here has mostly been that The Judge has suffered the misfortune of being an R-rated adult drama released at a time when the only film of that type people seem desperate to see is Gone Girl.
- Weekend Gross=$4.3 million (-57% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$48.3 million
- Budget=$70 million
Foreign: Dracula Untold scored first-placed debuts in 4 new territories this weekend, including Brazil, Spain, and Hungary. Altogether, it made $14.7m from 59 territories, upping its international haul to $117.7m and worldwide to $166m.
Universal has been reluctant to lump Dracula Untold in with the forthcoming Marvel-esque cinematic universe centered around updated versions of the classic Universal monsters. That officially kicks off with The Mummy re-boot next year, and if Dracula Untold turned into some huge hit then the option was open for Luke Evans to return in the title role and for Charles Dance’s character to maybe be their Nick Fury. However, they’re not officially locked into that, and though Dracula continues doing well overseas they have to be alarmed with how fast its fallen off domestically.
What Happened Outside the Top 10?:
Annabelle (#8 to #11), The Equalizer (#9 to #12), and The Maze Runner (#10 to #13) all left the top 10 while Birdman and Dear White People continued performing admirably in ultra-limited release. Annabelle is still a couple million shy of Insidious: Chapter 2‘s $83.5m domestic total while The Maze Runner is around $6m shy of the $100 domestic total mark. That last part also goes for The Equalizer.
What About Guardians of the Galaxy?:
Guardians Of The Galaxy is up to $84.4m in China after grossing $6.5m there this weekend. It also opened in its final international territory, Italy, and has now passed X-Men: Days of Future ($746m) to become the third highest grossing film of 2014 globally ($752.6m).
What’s Up Next?:
One awards contender with a supposedly amazing performance from Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), one under-the-radar affair starring three fairly notable actors in Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, and mark Strop (Before I Go To Sleep), and a 10th anniversary re-release of Saw all go wide next weekend while a couple of other horror-leaning flicks (Daniel Radcliffe’s Horns, ABCs of Death) open in limited play for the Halloween weekend.