The last time Halloween actually occurred over the weekend was from 2008 thru 2010, and the last time it actually fell on a Friday was in 2008. That year, the #1 movie was High School Musical 3 ($15.3m, in its second weekend) and #2 was Zach and Miri Make a Porno ($10m, making its debut). Collectively, it was the second-lowest grossing weekend of the entire year. Well, history is kind of repeating itself because after such meager business from newbies (Nightcrawler) and holdovers (Ouija) alike this turned into the 4th lowest-grossing weekend of 2014. Friday is obviously crucial to weekend box office, and when everyone is busy trick or treating and partying for Halloween that night film attendance plummets. It then kills the entire weekend. As a result, we’re looking at a weekend when Nightcrawler and Ouija barely made more than $10m, yet that was enough to essentially tie for first place. Let’s do the numbers:
Top 10 Actual Domestic Totals (10/31-11/2)
- Weekend Gross=$10.9 million (-45% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$34.9 million
- Budget=$5m (give or take)
Foreign: $5.7m from 19 territories this weekend, including #1 debuts in the UK, Indonesia, and Philippines. It actually had the UK’s second best opening weekend of any horror film this year, trailing only Annabelle. This adds up to an updated international/worldwide split of $7.7m/$42.6m.
At one point, Ouija was supposed to be a $150m budget special effects extravaganza produced by Michael Bay, part of Universal’s efforts to exploit any and all of the Hasbro and Parker Pros. board games. That was all abandoned after the failure of Battleship in 2012, and producer Jason Blum picked it up from the scrap heap and cranked a micro-budget horror flick out of it, as is his way since he’s the dude responsible for Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Insidious, and The Purge. Critics hate the thing, and it was graded as a “C” by opening night audiences on CinemaScore. However, it was the only new relatively horror film playing over Halloween, and unlike Carrie last year it had the incredible fortune to come out in a year in which Halloween fell on a Friday. As a result, Universal put it out just one week before Halloween, and watched as it posted an incredibly strong-for-a-horror-film second weekend hold of 45%. That is the best second weekend hold of any horror film this year, although that can admittedly be a misleading stat to highlight since prior to this point the best hold belonged to The Quiet Ones (-49%), i.e., a movie which only grossed $8.5m domestic. Still, movies like this usually drop 55% or higher in their second weekends. Interestingly, Carrie actually posted an identical 45% hold last Halloween weekend, but that was actually its third weekend of release. It had already dropped over 60% in its second weekend. As a result, Ouija has dang near already eclipsed Carrie‘s final domestic gross ($35.2m).
- Weekend Gross=$10.4 million
- Budget=They’d rather not say
Foreign: Opened in six territories (UK, Malaysia, Denmark, Finland, Israel and Bulgaria.) outside the U.S. this weekend, grossing $1.77m internationally for a worldwide debut of $12.6m. It debuted near the middle of the top 10 in all 6 of its foreign markets.
Remember the last time that Jake Gyllenhaal made a movie that nobody went to see no matter how much critics raved about it? It was called End of Watch, and Nightcrawler was actually just seen by fewer people, at least based on Watch‘s $13.2m debut vs. Nightcrawler‘s $10.9m. That comes despite the fact that Nightcrawler actually has better reviews (94% on RottenTomates vs. End of Watch‘s 85%). However, this actually profiles closer to Drive ($11.3m debut), and it opened slightly lower than that, too.
- Weekend Gross=$9.1 million (-32% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$60.4 million
- Budget=$68 million
Foreign: Fury netted $14.6m from 44 international markets this weekend, bringing its overseas total up to $37.8m and worldwide to $98.2m
So, what can one expect from a star-studded WWII movie these days? Pretty much exactly what Fury is currently doing and Monuments Men did earlier this year. The two actually have nearly identical 17-day totals (Fury‘s $60.4m vs. Monument‘s $57.8m), Fury oddly having a stronger third weekend but weaker second weekend. Monuments ultimately ended up with $78m domestic/$155m worldwide, achievable if not outright beatable totals for Fury. However, the knock on Monuments‘ performance also applies to Fury – Is all of this actually good enough for a film which cost around $70m to make, especially when you remember that the studio has to roughly split ticket sales 50/50 with the domestic theaters and closer to 60/40 if not worse with foreign theaters?
- Weekend Gross=$8.8 million (-20% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$136.6 million
- Budget=$61 million
Foreign: $15.3m this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $142.4m/$279m. The UK is the leading foreign market with $31.2m to date, followed by Australia with $19.12m.
Gone Girl is a bigger earner than some of October’s recent adult-leaning, potential awards contenders, like Captain Phillips ($107m domestic/$218m worldwide) and Argo ($136m domestic/$232m worldwide). It’s also the biggest domestic film of director David Fincher’s career, besting Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘s $127.5m from 6 years ago. It’s only the third biggest worldwide earner of Fincher’s career, though, trailing Benjamin Button ($333.9m) and Seven ($327.3m).
- Weekend Gross=$8.3 million (-17% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$40.5 million
- Budget=$50 million
Foreign: $6.1m this weekend for a new international/worldwide split of $28.8m/$69.3m. Its biggest foreign market is Mexico ($8.9m).
Book of Life was supposed to do good enough for two weeks to pick up solid word of mouth and turn into a family favorite pick for Halloween weekend, particularly in countries which were celebrating the Day of the Dead holiday that largely informs the film’s plot. It hasn’t completely worked out that way. An impressive -17% domestic hold this weekend is probably thanks to Halloween/Day of the Dead, but that comes after it dropped 40% last weekend. As a result, after 17 days Book of Life is performing identically to The Boxtrolls ($40.9m 17-day total), and that flick has only added an additional $8m to its domestic total after hitting the 17 day mark. Worse yet, Disney Animation’s Big Hero 6 is on the way next weekend.
- Weekend Gross=$8 million (-44% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$27.5 million
- Budget=$20-25 million
Foreign: $6.6m from 34 territories this weekend for an early international/worldwide split of $8m/$35.5m.
We’ve had a run of these Taken-esque revenge/hitman/assassin films lately, and the financially disappointing ones – A Walk Among the Tombstones, 3 Days to Kill – fell at least 60% in their second weekends. On the other hand, the financially successful ones – The Equalizer, Non-Stop – fell right at 45% in their second weekends. For the time being, John Wick belongs in that latter category, but it’s too early to actually declare it a success or a failure, not when it made less than $15 its opening weekend. However, it has been positioned as a potential franchise-starter, and it is thus far on better footing than the failed franchise starters 3 Days and Walk.
- Weekend Gross=$7.7 million (+0.1% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$19.5 million
- Budget=They’re Not Telling
Foreign: Its minimal foreign box office has yet to eclipse $130,000.
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 played in limited release for 2 weeks, expanded wide last weekend, and added 270 more theaters this weekend. Word of mouth must be remarkably positive as very few films these days manage to actually stay even let alone improve weekend-to-weekend once they’ve already expanded wide, but here’s St. Vincent making just as much this weekend as it did last.
- Weekend Gross=$6.4 million (-10% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$53.6 million
- Budget=$28 million
Foreign: $1.8m from 21 territories this weekend, including debuts in Greece, South Africa, and Peru. The UK is currently its leading international market. Overall, Alexander‘s international haul is up to $15.9m and worldwide to $69.5m, with plenty more foreign openings scheduled into early next year.
The overall numbers aren’t exactly eye-popping, but for a film of this genre Alexander… is doing very well for itself. Domestically, it is the biggest live-action family film adaptation of a children’s book since the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid ($64m in 2010), having now passed both of the Wimpy Kid sequels ($52.6m for Ridrick Rules in 2011, $49m for Dog Days in 2012). Worldwide, it will likley eventually pass all three of those, with Dog Days having set the high water market with $77.1m.
- Weekend Gross=$3.4 million (-22% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$39.5 million
- Budget=$50 million
Foreign: $4.3m from 46 territories this weekend for an updated international/worldwide split of $29m/$68.5m. Oddly enough, Russia ($4.6m) remains its leading foreign market.
The Judge is the inaugural release from Robert Downey, Jr.’s new production company, Team Downey, which he runs with his wife. Unfortunately, it had 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. If Iron Man can put up such middling business you have to wonder what can truly be expected from Chris Hemsworth’s – a.k.a. Thor’s – upcoming non-comic book films Blackhat (1/16/15) and Heart of the Sea (3/13/15).
- Weekend Gross=$2.9 million (-33% from last weekend)
- Total Gross to Date=$52.8 million
- Budget=$70 million
Foreign: $12.4m from 66 territories this weekend, including debuts in Japan and Italy, for a new international/worldwide split of $136.1m/$188.9m. Its final market will be Venezuela (11/21).
After consecutive weekends of dropping more than 55%, Dracula Untold appeared to receive a bit of a Halloween bump this weekend, barely hanging on in the top 10 due to a fairly strong 33% hold. Of course, it would only receive that bump because it had the word “Dracula” in its title, which is perhaps misleading since the film is more historical action-fantasy than horror. It actually profiles closer to the more comedic Hansel and Gretel than any kind of horror film, and Hansel & Gretel was a disappointment domestically ($55.7m) that made up for it overseas ($170.6m). So, far, Dracula Untold is following that same pattern, and should ultimately end with a totals in the same ballpark.
What About Birdman?:
Two weekends ago, Birdman had the second best limited debut of the year, behind only Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s not quite keeping up that pace as it continues to add more theaters, but with a per-theater average of $10,866 from 231 theaters this weekend and a 17-day total just over $5m it should crack the top 10 very soon assuming they continue adding more theaters.
What About Guardians of the Galaxy?:
Though it made only $2.4m this weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy is now up to $94.3m in China with one weekend left to go. That’s enough to up its international haul to $435.7m and worldwide to $765m, making it the second biggest film of the year worldwide, behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($1.08 billion). If you’re curious, this is how much the five most recent comic book movies made in China (highest to lowest):
- X-Men: Days of Future Past – $116.4m
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $115.6m
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $94.4m
- Man of Steel – $63.4m
- Thor: The Dark World – $55.3m
What About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & The Maze Runner?:
Both TMNT and The Maze Runner opened in China this weekend, with TMNT emerging the victor with a No. 1 debut to the tune of $26.4m. The Maze Runner pulled a respectable $13.7m from the territory, contributing to an international weekend total of $23.8m. Maze Runner is now up to $208m foreign/$305.3 worldwide, both totals superior to 2014’s other new YA franchise, Divergent ($137m foreign/$288m worldwide). That’s even more impressive considering that Maze Runner cost over $50m less to make. As for TMNT, it is now up to $244m foreign/$434.1m worldwide, a strong showing for a film carrying a $125m production budget.
What’s Up Next?:
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar looks to overcome less-than-euphoric reviews while Disney Animation’s Big Hero aims to pick up the slack in what has outside of The LEGO Movie been a relative down year for animation. Right now, the pros at BoxOfficeMojo are predicting the domestic totals for Interstellar and Big Hero 6 will end up at $265m and $215m respectively. Everyone seems to simply trust that the Christopher Nolan brand will turn Interstellar into an unquestioned hit, albeit one nowhere near on par with his last 2 Batman films (both over $490m) or Inception ($292m). They’re probably right, but what happens when we all see Interstellar and realize that, gasp, it’s not actually a masterpiece? That Nolan fella has spoiled us, or not, depending on what you thought of Dark Knight Rises.