13th and 14th UPDATES, Sunday, 6:30 AM and 8 AM: As the industry waits for next weekend’s Guardians of the Galaxy to lift the summer box office blues (it will start next Thursday at 7 PM), this weekend is wrapping up: Lucy will end the 3-day with $44M for Universal, director Luc Besson and our new solo, female action star Scarlett Johansson. On a budget of what the studio claims to be $40M, this picture should turn a profit with international yet to weigh in (it doesn’t open until next weekend) and Johansson already an known entity overseas from all the Marvel movies she’s been in. Now, if Sunday moviegoing drops more than 20%, Lucy will come in around $43.5M for its debut weekend. Its second weekend could dive, given the mixed reviews and the C+ CinemaScore it received Friday night.
This weekend continues to be down around 14% from last year at this time, and overall moviegoing is off about 6% from 2013′s record-breaking box office year and what was the all-time highest summer (with a total of $2.753B from the beginning of May through Sept. 2). So far, May 2nd to July 27th 2014 is $2.930B compared to last year’s $3.674B year’s for the same period. Now, if you bring the April bow of Captain America: The Winter Soldier into the mix, moviegoing is off 14%. No wonder everyone is waiting with baited breath for the debut of Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy which could lift the box office about 15% to 20% next weekend up over the equivalent weekend in 2013. It’s tracking for a $65M to $75M opening but veteran distributors think it could go to $80M.
Universal weighed at 8 AM that Lucy the fifth No. 1 opener for the studio this year and Johansson’s top opener where she was the lead in a film. That’s fair. It did equally well among genders (literally a 50/50 split). Lucy also marks the 2nd biggest weekend ever for a French-produced film (it is from Besson’s EuropaCorp.) behind only Taken 2 which grossed $49M in its opening weekend (EuropaCorp./Canal +). Among the Top Ten French produced films, EuropaCorp. now has seven of those. Well done.
The unsung hero for Lucy? It would be Peter Cramer, co-president of production for the studio, who really championed this project, was instrumental in bringing it into the fray, and oversaw the production on behalf of Universal.