8th UPDATE, Monday, 1:32 PM: It was a down weekend. After the dust cleared today, we can see the final dips: The calendar year-to-date is down 6% with the weekend of the Top Ten from last year to this year down 25%. All films added in, the business is down 23.9%. Given that all pictures underperformed a bit, here are the final box office numbers as they look this morning. Of all the newbies, The Purge: Anarchy actually was able to gross the high end of yesterday’s estimate and ended with $29.8M. Both Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue and Sony’s Sex Tape took more of a hit, both off just a tad from their yesterday expectations; neither performed well. Meanwhile, Earth To Echo and Maleficent came in only $29K apart and the more exciting part of this box office weekend was that the smaller films did exceptionally well. Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary America from Lionsgate, at No. 12, held quite well, down only 30% as did Jon Favreau’s Chef (Open Road), which even after dropping about 150 locations saw a significant jump on Saturday and ended the weekend at $25.9M. Another bit of sweet news was the solid per-screen number of Richard Linkaleter’s little masterpiece Boyhood (IFC) which held a nice $34,418 per screen; its cume is now $1.785M after two weeks in a platform release. The Top 20 chart follows:
Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend
This weekend’s domestic box office was off a whopping 28 percent, which has people wondering why. Could it be the quality is just not there? “Yeah, what the hell is going on, right?” said one distributor when I asked. “It’s content driven. We’re in a slump at the moment, but next year will be better. This year, I don’t think it’s any indication that problems are anything but the content.” As in quality, or lack thereof, and I think that most Deadline readers would concur that though this summer has seen some gems (like The Fault in Our Stars, Apes, Heaven is For Real), they’ve wrapped around some real stinkers (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Moms Night Out).
By the way, Paramount’s Transformers:Age of Extinction has made $659.1M internationally and around $228M to date domestically, is on track to become the 19th picture ever to move past the $1B mark and could end up in the Top Ten all-time worldwide grossers. But others have fallen flat. As we’ve noted in the past, it’s a cyclical business. Some of the pictures from 2014 moved to 2015 to avoid having to deal with the World Cup. Next summer looks more promising: the April 3rd release of Fast and Furious 7, followed in May by the highly-anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron and then The Fantastic Four, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Minions and Terminator.
But here’s the question: When will the industry see a movie that will go four consecutive weekends in a row at No. 1? (see chart below, courtesy of Rentrak). And could Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy do it?
Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Swings With $72.6M Weekend; ‘Boyhood’ Mans Up With Strong Per Screen
UPDATED, Monday 1:57 PM: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, brought in, as we reported this AM a total take of $72.6M for the three-day weekend (which included $4.1M in Thursday late nights). This, after it took in $31.3M overseas so it has a worldwide total of $103M+ already and it has barely begun its international run.
The Matt Reeves-directed film had a wonderful Saturday and ended up with an A- CinemaScore so audiences loved it as much as the critics. Sunday moviegoing was off for all films, probably due to the World Cup Finals and the nice weather. Fox’s other film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 had a great hold from Saturday to Sunday but will be hit by Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue when it bows next weekend. Apes should have at least two solid weeks of play before audiences look to Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to keep them entertained when it bows on August 1. Transformers: Age of Extinction — in its third weekend of release — crossed $200M on Saturday.
Sony opens Sex Tape next weekend in hopes of making it pop over its estimated $42M+ budget. I’ve seen it and yes, it starts out raunchy, but it is really funny and even, at times, hilarious. The guys will go to see a naked Cameron Diaz and the girls will go see tall drink of water Jason Segel, but it’s really for couples. Rob Lowe also co-stars in this film from the next generation Kasden — Jake — who directed the two in Bad Teacher.
The other movie opening next weekend is Universal’s horror film, The Purge: Anarchy. And, after seeing the one-sheet, I certainly hope they aren’t running those teaser one-sheets reminiscent of the Joker around the Cinemark Theater in Colorado where it will be in the marketplace during the two-year mark of the theater shooting. To me and others who suffered through that, it’s a hard image to look at … sort of like the geniuses who came up with The Strain one-sheets that people don’t want to see either. “Not for everyone.” Indeed. The Purge is bowing today and over the weekend in 14 overseas markets. The chart follows:
Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Controversy Erupts As Paramount Stakes Claim To $100M Three-Day Gross, No One’s Buying It
FINAL UPDATE, MONDAY 1:20 PM: Sorry, Paramount, but our Box Office chart will reflect what we believe is the more accurate three-day gross of Transformers: Age Of Extinction. We are also posting Par’s numbers so we can show the industry how they claimed to have gotten there. See below. Also, it is worth noting that with the accurate grosses, it puts Transformers 4‘s worldwide total at $299.6M. With Paramount’s inflated domestic grosses, it puts their worldwide gross at an inflated $302.1M. But what better headlines to please the bosses and shareholders with: A $100M domestic and over $300M worldwide. The only problem? It’s a public company and there are strict guidelines about this type of thing.
10th UPDATE, MONDAY 9:43 AM: The first big controversy of box office in the sixth months since I’ve been reporting erupted this AM as Paramount Pictures put the final three-day domestic cume of Transformers: Age Of Extinction at $100.038M as its opening weekend for the fourth installment. “They’re lying,” said one distribution head at a major studio. Said another, “I don’t get get it. Is it just arrogance? What is the point of inflating your box office numbers? So they can claim the first $100M movie opening of the year? Oh please, who cares? It’s a great opening anyway.”
That being said, the Box Office Chart below reflects both the industry three-day gross for Transformers as well as Paramount’s purported final gross, which, by everyone’s account in the industry is inaccurate and inflated.
One insider at Paramount with knowledge of the financials told Deadline that there have been concerns that there could be more layoffs if Transformers 4 didn’t hit the $100M mark. So maybe that’s what’s going on. Even so, everyone in town — and I mean everyone – has it much less than $100M. Hey, as one my colleagues just said, the movie itself is inflated to 2 hours and 45 minutes, so why not the box office grosses, too?
Fox 2000‘s The Fault In Our Stars just crossed $100M domestically to become one of the most profitable films released in 2014. On a $12M negative (not counting marketing and distribution costs), the film based on the best-selling John Green book is also besting Twilight’s opening in the UK and in Brazil. In fact, in Brazil, where the World Cup is in full swing, the tearjerker is on fire and remains the top market for overseas where it has earned $18.2M to date. And, how surprising is this? In Brazil, in 11 days it surpassed the lifetime gross of not only Twilight, but also The Hunger Games and Divergent (which featured Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as brother and sister). Fox can thank their international distribution team of Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus and their staff.
The international cume is now $64.9M a for a worldwide cume of over $165M. How cool is that for these two young actors? Elgort and Woodley’s stars have been rising and now they are certified international presences. Great news for the filmmakers who just signed Elgort in Van Cliburn. As my colleague Mike Fleming reported exclusively yesterday, Elgort will star in a movie about the famous Texas-born pianist who rose to prominence during the Cold War between Russia and the U.S. It’s also great news for Lionsgate Films, where Woodley and Elgort are currently shooting the Divergent sequel Insurgent. Elgort will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children opposite Adam Sandler.
‘The Lego Movie’ & ‘Captain America’ Top U.S. Grossers In First Half Of 2014 So Far As ‘Transformers’ Readies In Wings
Prior to Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age Of Extinction bow this weekend — and it’s tracking to big numbers and could be the first movie in 2014 to have a $100M opening – the first half of the year has been fairly flat compared to last year. It has, however, seen two movies in a virtual dead heat for the title of biggest grosser domestically so far. Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie, which opened February 7, and Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, released April 4. After this weekend, these two films are only $6,038 apart. Meanwhile, Disney’s Maleficent is expected to pass Godzilla by the end of its run. The Angelina Jolie-starring fantasy film opened to $69.4M already has grossed $185.8M and is still playing strong in its fourth week of release. By comparison, Godzilla opened to $93.1M six weeks ago and is at $194.98M after grabbing another $1.8M over the three-day.
Here are the biggest domestic grossers of 2014 for the first half of the year. Ranking six to 10 are Maleficent, Divergent (LGF), Neighbors, Ride Along and Rio 2. And the Top Five that U.S. audiences reacted to?
FINAL BOX OFFICE: First Half Of 2014 No Growth From Year Earlier As ‘Think Like A Man Too’ Debuts With $29M+; ‘Jersey Boys’ With $13.3M
OPENING: Think Like A Man Too (SONY/SCREEN GEMS) to come in at No. 1 and around $29.2M as first predicted; Jersey Boys (WB) at No. 4 at $13.3M.
6th UPDATE, MONDAY 3:16 PM: The first half of 2014 is flat so far — as in no growth year from last year — up only .5% in terms of box office revenue. The summer box office so far is actually down around 15% this year as well so Transformers: Age of Extinction will be a welcome offering this weekend. One note is that last summer and last year both were revenue records, driven by such top hits as Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, and Man of Steel to name a few. This year is kind of seen as a transition year before sequelmania hits in 2015.
While The Lion King ($2.1 million), Wicked ($2.03 million) and The Book Of Mormon ($1.6 million) regularly duke it out for the three top-grossing slots on Broadway each week, they’re all hit musicals running in big houses. In the fourth slot for Week 4, which ended Sunday, is All The Way, which star Bryan Cranston, playing President Lyndon Baines Johnson, has led to a record-making run as he and the Robert Schenkkan drama prepare to end their limited engagement next week. All The Way took in $1.425 million at the Neil Simon Theatre — a cool 104.15% of its gross potential and a record for a non-musical in a standard eight-performance week.
In the fifth spot, according to figures released by the Broadway League trade group, was Kinky Boots, still a near-sellout at $1.39 million. It’s worth noting that All The Way and Kinky Boots, at the Hirschfeld, are in similar-size theaters of just over 1,400 seats.
EXCLUSIVE: Nielsen/NRG has ousted one of its top executives, sending shockwaves across studios, talent agencies and filmmakers who looked to him for guidance and has prompted several calls into the company to voice their dismay over the decision. Nielsen/NRG president Derek McLay, who joined the company in 2009, was the behind-the-scenes guru for many high-ranking executives around town, well-liked and knowledgeable and, by all accounts, a straight-shooter unafraid to tell it like it is. McLay was the liaison between the company and all the major studios, providing the those in the industry with insight into the all-important area of research and tracking.
According to sources, McLay was called into the office Monday night and told his services would no longer be needed. Nielsen/NRG is one of the preeminent research firms for the entertainment industry.
In my 30 years of reporting, I seriously have not seen an outpouring of support like this (both on and off the record) for any executive after a firing. Clearly the guy had strong relationships and also, quite apparently, a dedication to his clients. Don’t take my word for it, just look:
“Derek McLay is the heart and soul of NRG and I’m crushed,” said Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Co., whose company relied on him for guidance and research expertise on a number of pictures including Oscar nominees Silver Linings Playbook, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Django Unchained to mention a few. Added TWC COO David Glasser, “It’s one thing to get information, it’s another thing to interpret it and have the personal relationships to communicate those results to the studio and the filmmakers in a way that we can not only understand it but use it to help shepherd our films.”
Filmmaker David O. Russell, said through his rep that he was surprised, noting that he “enjoyed working with McLay, and always found Derek extremely helpful.” (Russell is well-known to be a big believer in the research process and uses that information to help shape his films and the their marketing).
Those who have worked with him said McLay made sense of the research and translated the numbers to the executives and what mattered is that he truly understands marketing and distribution, having previously worked at MGM in distribution. Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Lionsgate, said “Derek is an excellent executive and a great help in all of our processes and hope he’s back at it soon so we can again take advantage of his talent.” Friedman, himself, is a marketing expert with many years under his belt and has an astute understanding of the importance of research to the overall picture.
FINAL BOX OFFICE: ’22 Jump Street’ Ends Weekend With $57M, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ No. 2 With $49.4M
OPENING: 22 Jump Street (SONY) looks like it may be $60M or a little under; How to Train Your Dragon 2 (FOX) should come in around $50M.
FINAL UPDATE, MONDAY, 1:11 PM: It’s the morning after and the harsh reality has set in. 22 Jump Street came in below $60M at $57M (still pretty darn good) while How to Train Your Dragon 2 tallied $49.5M when dust cleared this morning. What happened? Father’s Day, good weather, NBA Finals, and Stanley Cup finals in the top two TV markets (take your pick) all suppressed Sunday moviegoing a bit. 22 Jump Street mid-week numbers will be interesting to watch as there is a great possibility that it’s already been there-done that with its core fans, but this weekend only sees the opening of the older demo Jersey Boys from Clint Eastwood and the Kevin Hart-Tim Story re-teaming with Think Like A Man 2.
Dragon 2, although it didn’t open to higher numbers as expected,still is well-executed and the distribution date was well chosen. Expect it to keep playing straight through to mid-July when Planes: Fire & Rescue bows from Disney as families will be looking to it and to Maleficent until then. (Earth to Echo comes out in between). Edge of Tomorrow edged out Fox’s The Fault in Our Stars this weekend as the latter took a bad tumble, down 69% in its second weekend. Edge is actually holding fairly steady (-43%) but this is a big-budget bummer for Warner Bros. at the domestic box office. Here’s final chart for Father’s Day weekend:
BOX OFFICE: ’22 Jump Street’, No. 1, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ No. 2 Around $50M In Big Sequel Weekend
OPENING: 22 Jump Street (SONY) looks like it may be $60M or a little under; How to Train Your Dragon 2 (FOX) should come in around $50M.
9th UPDATE, SUNDAY 7:15 AM: A softer-than-expected Saturday for moviegoing now has 22 Jump Street just a smidgen over or under $60M and How to Train Your Dragon 2 hovering around $50M+, yet those are still two good openings and account for a significant 60% of the Top Ten box office marketshare this AM. 22 Jump Street started out strong Friday, front-loaded with the teens and 2o-somethings who had long anticipated this sequel. By yesterday’s matinees, it was clear that it was softening and looks like it dropped 26% from Friday (that includes that $5.5M late night Thursday). It becomes the second-biggest R-rated comedy behind Hangover II and grossed 65% higher than the first installment.
UPDATE, SATURDAY 10:55 AM PT: Godzilla continued its domination of the China box office on Saturday with a flash estimate of $14.8M from approximately 9,000 screens. The No. 1 film in the market this weekend gave Warner Bros its biggest ever Saturday (and 2nd day) results in the territory. After bowing to $10.9M on Friday, the Warner/Legendary film now has a local cume of $25.8M, according to the studio. The international total as of today is an estimated $237.4M. More numbers and analysis to come tomorrow.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 12:47 PM PT:Warner Bros and Legendary‘s Godzilla roared into the world’s second biggest box office market today with a monstrous $10.9M bow. The Gareth Edwards-directed creature feature is playing on an estimated 9,000 screens, more than a third of the nation’s moviegoing real estate. The bow marks Warner Bros’ biggest opening day of all time in the territory and is the biggest opening day there for 2014, according to the studio. The Lizard opened internationally in May with $103.4M overseas. Its domestic open was $93.1M; in North America it now has a cume of about $187.5M. Internationally, its cume as of last weekend was $208.7M in 63 markets.
When France hosted – and ultimately won — the 1998 World Cup, Parisians were encouraged by the mayor’s office to be nice to our guests. Billboards went up all over town reminding us to smile and heartily say “Bonjour!” Many were skeptical, but that feeling changed quickly. This year, Brazilians, not known for the same frosty exterior as the French, are gearing up for their own World Cup as hosts (and favorites), but the atmosphere is not looking quite so warm. With preparations woefully behind, some stadiums not at completion and a general sense that too much money has been spent on the event, many locals are exasperated with the whole thing before it’s even begun. A crime wave has broken out in Rio and strikes have started with the threat of more looming. Despite all of this, it would be foolhardy to think the country won’t get behind its team and focus on the 12 pitches where the beautiful game will be played over the next month. Indeed, all over the world, fans will start planning their days around kickoff times come Thursday with a projected 1 billion people tuning in to the opening Brazil vs Croatia match. That’s a lot of butts on couches and bar stools — and not in movie theater seats. With that in mind, here’s a look at how the studios strategize around the world where some countries embrace the sport as though it were a matter of life and death, and others don’t get so worked up.
It’s fair to say the U.S. falls into the latter category. Yet, there has been some movement in recent years. ESPN, which aired the Euro Cup in 2012 and the 2010 World Cup from South Africa, has seen increased ratings, and execs this week all but guaranteed additional growth this year (see the full U.S. TV schedule below). When the Americans tied England in the Group C opening game of the 2010 World Cup, a studio exec tells me it did lead to some effect on cinema-going. Roundly, though, while the studios have put the mega sporting event into their international strategic plans over the past decade, industry insiders contend they don’t pay too much mind to the tournament’s domestic impact. Despite the preponderance of kids who play the sport, soccer has just never been massive in the States.
With the major European national teams like Germany, France and Spain, box office is usually down by about 50%-60% in those markets if the home team is playing, and about 20% if they’re not. And yet, Hollywood doesn’t see having a major soccer year as a pass. As one exec says, “You don’t go, ‘it’s the Euro Cup, therefore we get to have a bad year.’ In theory, you might say, ‘It’s World Cup next year, if you’re really expecting us to do $2 billion international, it’s unrealistic.’” However, “Everyone expects it to work itself out. There are losers that were going to be losers anyway, they’re not casualties of the World Cup.”