Weekend Wrap-Up: New Releases Sparkle

Lucy poster

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.

Lucy showed Scarlett Johansson has what it takes to be an action lead, as Lucy earned first place with $43.90 million during its opening weekend. Even with reviews that are just a hair under the overall positive level, the film should have legs long enough to reach $100 million domestically. Since the movie cost only $40 million to make, this will be more than enough to cover its production budget and put a serious dent in its P&A budget. If it can just match this result internationally, then the film will break even before the lucrative home market.

Hercules also did better than expected with $29.80 million over the weekend. It earned the best reviews of the weekend and that should help its legs at least a little bit. It probably won't help them enough to match its $100 million production budget domestically, but this film will likely have strong appeal internationally, so breaking even some time on the home market is a reasonable goal to have.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes fell a little further than expected due to the stronger than expected competition. It still managed $16.77 million over the weekend for a total of $172.46 million after three weeks of release. It is still on track to top $200 million before its run is over, which is great news, especially compared to the weak summer blockbuster season so far.

The Purge: Anarchy fell 65% to $10.48 million over the weekend for a total of $51.86 million after ten days of release. Not only is this a much better hold than the original managed, but this film has nearly caught up to the earlier film's running tally, which was $51.96 million at the same point in its run. It did cost more, but it will be profitable before it reaches the home market.

Planes: Fire and Rescue fell 46% to just $9.53 million over the weekend for a total of $35.35 million after two. This is well below the original's pace, so much so that I think the next film will be direct-to-DVD. There will be a next film, as the merchandise is too valuable to not continue the franchise.

And So It Goes matched expectations perfectly with with $4.64 million in 1,762 theaters for an average of $2,635. Given that average and its reviews, it will likely have a very short run in theaters.

There was one last new release to reach the top ten, A Most Wanted Man, which earned tenth place with $2.69 million in 361 theaters. With its per theater average and its 90% positive reviews, it could stick around in theaters quite a long time.

Looking in at the sophomore class, we find Sex Tape in sixth place with $6.05 million over the weekend for a total of $26.95 million after ten days of release. This represents a steep 59% decline. Additionally, with a per theater average that is now under $2,000, it will see its theater count tumble quite quickly from now on. The final film in the sophomore class was Persecuted, which fell 80% to just $169,000 over the weekend for a ten-day total of $1.44 million. It would have needed to earn that much on its opening day to be considered a box office hit. There are still no positive reviews, so this result is not that surprising.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-07-29