Box Office Guru Wrapup: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Outshines the Competition
Transformers: Age of Extinction and Tammy round out the top three.
Grossing more than the next 15 films combined, the new sci-fi sequel Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conquered the North American box office with an estimated $73M opening. The Fox tentpole averaged a muscular $18,402 from 3,967 locations and took advantage of stellar reviews, low competition in the marketplace, and a built-in audience which liked its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes from three summers ago. Dawn opened 33% better than Rise.
The studio had a solid product to sell and marketed it very aggressively and in advance including promotions during high-profile sports events over the past month to raise awareness. Demographic data showed that the audience was normal for this type of action flick. Males made up 58% of the crowd and 55% were over 25. 36% of the gross came from 3D screens and a good A- CinemaScore indicates that customers were mostly satisfied with Caesar and his crew as they fought for their survival against the damn dirty humans.
Dawn was not the typical sequel. The story took place a decade after Rise plus the director and human cast were all new. With positive buzz and no new action tentpoles opening next week, the $170M-budgeted film could find its way to about $200M from North America alone beating the $176.8M of Rise.
Overseas, Fox is waiting until the completion of the World Cup before attacking most markets but it did enter 26 territories this weekend with an estimated $31.1M. Korea and Australia were the only major ones, however. Rise enjoyed an incredible run in overseas markets and with substantial growth since 2011 in the international box office - especially in China - Dawn looks to find its way to over $600M in global box office. The next film in the series is already slotted on the calendar for July 29, 2016 with Matt Reeves returning to direct.
After two weeks at number one, Transformers: Age of Extinction fell to second place and grossed an estimated $16.5M. The Michael Bay actioner fell 56% in its third weekend which was not shocking considering the direct hit it took from Dawn and the fact that four-quels erode quickly. Paramount has banked $209M to date and is headed for a domestic finish of about $250M making North America the second biggest market for the Autobots flick.
China continued to shine with another $25M this weekend lifting the total there to an amazing $262.6M making it the all-time box office champ in that market. That's a bigger total than any film has made in the U.S. this year. 12 new markets opened and combined with strong holdover territories to deliver a stunning $102M this weekend. That sent the international cume soaring to $543.5M and the worldwide tally to $752.5M. Age of Extinction is now 2014's top-grossing global blockbuster and it still has not opened in many key markets such as Brazil, France, Germany, and Italy which all launch this coming week. The new Transformers even has a realistic shot at beating the international gross of The Avengers. No studio exec would dare put a stop to funding more of these Bay smash-a-thons.
With no new comedies opening, Melissa McCarthy's Tammy enjoyed a decent second weekend hold falling 40% to an estimated $12.9M for a new total of $57.4M. Reviews were poor and even the CinemaScore was a dismal C+ so a larger tumble was expected. However, sophomore films opened mid-week last week for the holiday session so second weekend declines were not as bad as usual. Costing just $25M to produce, the road comedy from Warner Bros. looks to end its domestic run with about $85-90M.
The summer's top-grossing comedy, 22 Jump Street, followed with an estimated $6.7M in its fifth weekend. Off just 32%, the leggy Sony sequel has banked an impressive $172M. Down 35% in its fifth round, How to Train Your Dragon 2 grossed an estimated $5.9M pushing the domestic tally to $152.1M. It is running 15% behind the pace of its 2010 predecessor. Given that this is the first summer in nine years without a Pixar film, Dragon should be doing better.
Kidpic Earth to Echo followed its soft debut with a 34% slide to an estimated $5.5M giving Relativity $24.6M so far. A $40M final seems likely. Horror pic Deliver Us From Evil dropped 52% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.7M giving Sony $25M to date. Look for a $35-40M finish. 2014 remains dreadful for the fright genre.
No summer film has spent more weeks in the top ten than Maleficent. The Angelina Jolie smash took eighth place in its seventh weekend with an estimated $4.2M, down 32%, for a new domestic cume of $222M making it the top-grossing non-sequel of the season. Disney's worldwide tally is now a stellar $669M.
The indie film Begin Again expanded from 175 to 939 locations nationwide and jumped into the top ten with an estimated $2.9M. Averaging a mild $3,126 per theater, The Weinstein Co. release starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo has collected $5.3M to date. Reviews have been fairly good.
Jersey Boys and Think Like A Man Too dropped by about half and tied for tenth place with an estimated $2.5M each. Cumes are $41.7M for Warner Bros. and $61.9M for Sony.
The critically-acclaimed drama Boyhood enjoyed a sparkling debut in platform release with an estimated $359,000 from only five theaters in Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Brooklyn for a sensational $71,800 average. That was the second best opening weekend average of the year behind The Grand Budapest Hotel's industry record $202,792 from four theaters back in March. Film critics have been gushing over Boyhood which was shot over 12 years with the same cast and centers around a boy's life from ages 6 to 18. With Oscar buzz spreading and expansions to more markets to come, the IFC Films release will remain a major box office factor for the rest of the summer.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $134.8M which was down 27% from last year when Despicable Me 2 stayed at number one with $43.9M; and off 10% from 2012 when Ice Age: Continental Drift debuted on top with $46.6M.