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Weekend Estimates: Purge Surges to Number One

June 9th, 2013

Coming into this weekend, Universal was already celebrating above-expectations performances this year for their releases Fast and Furious 6, Identity Thief and Mama, but those three successes have been eclipsed by a big surprise in the opening weekend for The Purge. The home invasion movie, made for just $3 million, will top the chart this weekend with an estimated $36.4 million, blowing past all expectations, and putting it on par with big budget movies like Oblivion. Doing so from a modest 2,536 theaters (and with a correspondingly low marketing budget) makes the victory even sweeter for the studio, which now boasts a 15% market share for the year. If it keeps going at this pace, Universal will have its best year since we started keeping records in 1995.

The Purge's outsized success left this week's other wide debut, The Internship in the dust, although the comedy will still drum up about $18.1 million, which is hardly a disaster. That will only be enough for 4th place though, behind Fast and Furious 6 (which crosses $200 million this weekend) and Now You See Me. The latter film will be off only 34% this weekend, which is an impressive performance this day and age, and sets it up to top $100 million in due course.

The market as a whole is down from last year, thanks to unfavorable comparisons with Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Prometheus, which posted $60 million and $50 million openings respectively, but individual films did well on a week-to-week basis this weekend with declines generally in the 30% to 40% range. Epic was down just 27% in its third weekend and Mud fell only 1% in its 7th weekend in theaters.

The indie market also has several reasons for good cheer. Joss Whedon's home movie, Much Ado About Nothing will top the theater average chart with $183,400 from five venues and an average of $36,680. Dirty Wars is headed for an opening around $67,000 from four theaters for an average of $16,750. Finally, Before Midnight is the fourth member of the $10,000 club (The Purge is the third) thanks to an excellent $584,648 from 52 theaters.

In what was meant to be one of the slower weekends of the Summer, there are lots of reasons to feel good about the health of theatrical business.

Bruce Nash

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Oblivion, Fast and Furious 6, Epic, Now You See Me, The Internship, Mud, The Purge, Much Ado About Nothing, Before Midnight, Dirty Wars, Joss Whedon