There are a trio of wide releases coming out this week looking to dethrone Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The Purge: Anarchy is the most likely film to come out on top, but the original didn't win over many moviegoers. It opened big, but collapsed very quickly after that. Planes didn't perform much better with moviegoers, but there hasn't been an animated family film released wide since How to Train Your Dragon 2, so Planes: Fire and Rescue could benefit from the lack of competition. Sex Tape is the only non-sequel opening wide this week and that could help it do well. Or the fact that it is not based on a previous movie could hurt it. There is one last film that might reach the top ten, Persecuted, which is opening in 700 theaters. It would only need a per theater average of just over $4,000 to reach the top ten, which is doable. This year, we should have four films that earn more than $20 million. Last year there were only three. However, last year, The Conjuring earned more than $40 million, a milestone no film this year will reach, while seven films earned more than $10 million. This year there will be only four films earning more than $10 million. Again, it looks like 2014 is going to get crushed at the box office.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opened with $72.61 million, which was on the high end of expectations. It should continue to do well this weekend thanks to a number of factors. Firstly, the reviews are amazing, among the best of the year so far. Secondly, there is no direct competition. The Purge: Anarchy is the closest, but it is a low-budget thriller / horror movie, so it is close, but not direct competition. Finally, not only is there no direct competition, none the three films that are opening wide are expected to be big hits. The film could hold onto more than 50% of its initial weekend haul, giving it $37 million over the weekend. That's a bit too bullish for me, but I think it will come relatively close with $35 million during its sophomore stint.
The Purge: Anarchy will likely be the biggest hit among the three wide releases, at least during its opening weekend. The original opened with $34.06 million, which is great for a film that cost $3 million to make. However, it earned less than that during the rest of its run, which is a bad omen for the sequel. Granted, this film is earning better reviews, but I think the damage has been done. On the high end, it could top $30 million, while on the low end, it might not reach $25 million. I think $28 million is the safest bet.
Planes: Fire and Rescue is the sequel to Planes, a movie that started as a proposed direct-to-DVD release, but ended up earning $90 million at the box office. I don't think the sequel will match that, despite having a better release date and slightly improved reviews. That said, like most sequels, it should start faster during its opening weekend and could compete for second place with $26 million. It should also have better legs and should end its run as the biggest hit of the three wide releases of the weekend.
Next up is Sex Tape, a movie starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel and written by some people who don't know how the internet works. Once a video is online, it is impossible to "get back". Worse still, the critics mostly agree the movie just isn't funny enough to be worth checking out. That said, I would be shocked if the film didn't make at least $20 million and it has a small chance to compete for second place with close to $30 million. Split the difference and you get an opening of $24 million.
Transformers: Age of Extinction and Tammy should be in a close battle for fifth place with $7 million each, more or less. Both films will be profitable, but neither lived up to the lofty expectations some had.
Persecuted is the final new release with a shot at earning a spot in the top ten. The faith-based thriller is opening in 700 theaters, so it will only need a per theater average of just over $4,000 to earn a spot in the top ten. Will it get there? I'm not sure. On the one hand, faith-based films tend to have openings faster than that. On the other hand, there are very few reviews on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment and they are all negative. Then again, the target audience might actually want to go see a movie more if the critics hate it, because it plays into the persecution complex. I'm going to be bold and predict just over $3 million and tenth place, but the film also could open below the Mendoza Line, so keep that in mind.
Date posted: 2014-07-17