Both man and myth, Hercules leads a band of mercenaries to help end a bloody civil war in the land of Thrace and return the rightful king to his throne. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a God but feels the suffering of a human.
There were two truly wide new releases that came out this weekend, and both of them did very well. In fact, Hercules placed second and earned as much as some people predicted Lucy would earn while placing first. Lucy topped the high end of expectations and unless its legs are really short, will easily become a surprise $100 million hit. This helped the overall box office rise 3.7% from last weekend up to $155 million, which is a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, the weekend total was still down 10% from this weekend last year, meaning the 2014 slump continues. It has gotten so bad that 2014 is now behind 2013 by 6.1% at $6.01 billion to $6.40 billion. Next weekend should finally end the slump, but it might be too late to save 2014 overall.
There are a trio of wide releases coming out this week, sort of. The first of these, if we go alphabetically is And So It Goes, but it is only opening in 1,762 theaters, which is not quite enough to be wide and likely not enough to reach the top five. Hercules and Lucy are both opening truly wide and both are earning reviews that are currently in the overall positive level. (Although it is close enough that it might change.) Lucy will very likely come out on top, while Hercules should earn second place. There's one more film of note, The Fluffy Movie, which is opening in 400 theaters and has a slim chance at making the top ten. This weekend last year saw the release of The Wolverine, which opened with $53.11 million. There's a chance the top two films won't make that much this year. In other words, 2014 is going to lose in the year-over-year comparison yet again.
Overall, June was not good. Most films matched expectations, or came close enough that there weren't major disappointments. However, it looks like How to Train Your Dragon 2 will miss expectations by more than $100 million. This was such a massive amount that 2014 lost its lead over 2013 and not even Transformers: Age of Extinction's $100 million opening was able to turn things around. Looking forward to July, there's not a lot of good news. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes might be the only film coming out during July that will reach the $100 million milestone, but on the high end, it might reach the $200 million mark. There are a few others that have a shot, but are not favored to reach the century mark. On the other hand, there are more films that may or may not open / expand wide and even if they do, they will likely have no real impact at the box office. By comparison, last July, Despicable Me 2 was the top draw and finished with more than $350 million. There were also four other films that surpassed $100 million at the box office. It seems practically impossible for 2014 to match those numbers and will likely finish the month behind last year's pace. Overall, 2014 isn't doing poorly, but the summer has been much weaker than the spring was, so we've gone from potential record breaking year to merely average.
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