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Weekend Estimates: Maze, Mass and Everest Make Solid Debuts

September 20th, 2015

Black Mass

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials will win the weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates released on Sunday, with a very solid $30.3 million. That’s down a bit from The Maze Runner’s $32.5 million this weekend last year, but the difference is small enough that a good performance on Sunday and slight increases in the actuals for Friday and Saturday could actually push the sequel slightly ahead. Either way, the franchise seems on fairly solid ground, although the increase in budget for the second film to $61 million from $34 million the first time around suggests it won’t be as profitable. As always, international box office will be key, and early signs there are good, with $78 million already in the bank.

In second place, Black Mass will pick up a very creditable $23.36 million. Its theater average of $7,327 is pretty close to Scorch Trials $7,993, but the Johnny Depp-starrer rolled out in fewer theaters (3,188 to 3,791). Its opening is a little closer to that of Argo, which debuted with $19.5 million, than that of Gone Girl, which started with $37.5 million. Black Mass will be hoping for similarly long legs, but has opened quite a bit earlier than those other two—Argo opened October 12, and Gone Girl on October 3. So it will need to have exceptionally long legs to still be around when Awards Season gets going in earnest. It’s more likely to have a second life in the home market timed either around Christmas or Oscar nomination time.

Universal is the studio that can do no wrong this year, and their latest release strategy seems to have worked out fairly well. Everest opened on large screens only this weekend and averaged a very healthy $13,867 per theater for a weekend projected at $7.6 million. That’s good enough for fifth place, and the film should stick around for a while as it expands into more theaters. This is such an unusual release strategy that it’s very hard to predict where it’ll go from here.

This weekend’s sole (soul?) dud is Captive, a faith-based drama that follows a string of other faith-based dramas into theaters. This one will pick up $1.4 million from 806 venues, well behind recent comparable films (see a comparison here). It looks as though 90 Minutes in Heaven’s $2 million start last weekend may have been a portent of saturation in this segment of the market, rather than a one-off.

A couple of limited releases made very good starts at the weekend. Sicario will earn around $390,000 from just six theaters for an average of $65,000. The well-reviewed thriller, starring Emily Blunt, could have a very nice run over the next month or two. Also doing well on debut is Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer, which will bring in around $225,000 from 12 locations. Fashion documentaries have a habit of doing very well on debut in big cities and then having long lives on the home market. This looks like it will follow that pattern.

- Weekend estimates
- Maze Runner comps
- Black Mass comps
- Everest comps
- Captive comps

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Everest, Black Mass, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Captive, Sicario, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt