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The Independence Day holiday session was lacking in box office fireworks as the Autobots tentpole Transformers: Age of Extinction led the marketplace for a second straight time while new releases brought one good debut and a handful of lackluster ones that paying audiences were mostly uninterested in.
This weekend, the fourth round of Autobots destruction conquered the global box office as the Michael Bay sequel Transformers: Age of Extinction scored the largest opening of 2014 both domestically and worldwide. The PG-13 film which featured a new cast led by Mark Wahlberg scored a domestic opening weekend of an estimated $100M.
Sony ruled the North American box office with a pair of popular comedy sequels, each connecting well with its target audience. The battle-of-the-sexes pic Think Like a Man Too featuring an ensemble cast including red hot star Kevin Hart opened in first place by a narrow margin with an estimated $30M. That was off 11% from the $33.6M debut of its predecessor from April 2012, but still a muscular start. The PG-13 film averaged a spectacular $13,483 from 2,225 locations.
In a battle of sequels, the R-rated action-comedy 22 Jump Street overpowered the animated family film How to Train Your Dragon 2 while last weekend's champ The Fault in Our Stars went tumbling down the charts.
This weekend, teen girls and young women ruled the multiplexes as the tearjerker The Fault In Our Stars generated a spectacular opening, grossing an estimated $48.2M which quadrupled its production cost. The PG-13 film based on the best-selling romance novel was mostly a one-quadrant film, but the turnout was so incredible that it was able to beat every other film in the marketplace, including Angelina Jolie's smash hit Maleficent and Tom Cruise's new action tentpole Edge of Tomorrow.
Angelina Jolie dominated the box office with the fairy tale-inspired epic Maleficent which generated the largest opening of her career with an estimated $70M from 3,948 theaters for a sensational $17,730 average. Disney's PG-rated tale of the villain from Sleeping Beauty used its starpower to attract a wide audience and came close to the $79.1M debut of the studio's Oz: The Great and Powerful from last year. This also marked the first time in nine years that Jolie hit the number one spot with a live-action film. Mr. & Mrs. Smith with future life partner Brad Pitt was her last one from this month in 2005.
Wolverine and his mutant friends conquered the Memorial Day holiday weekend box office with the number one debut of X-Men: Days of Future Past which opened to an estimated $90.7M, the second best showing ever for the seven-film franchise. The Fox release averaged a muscular $22,698 from 3,996 locations and was helped by 3D and large format ticket prices.
This weekend, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures smashed expectations with its monster reboot Godzilla as a different type of super hero conquered the worldwide box office with a mammoth global debut. The PG-13 action tentpole grossed an estimated $93.2M in North America from 3,952 locations for a spectacular $23,584 average. The radioactive beast generated the year's second best debut trailing closely behind the $95M of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Raunchy comedy trumped super hero action as North American audiences flooded multiplexes to see the buzzworthy new film Neighbors which captured the number one spot with a thunderous opening shoving last week's champ The Amazing Spider-Man 2 into second place in only in second weekend.
While not breaking any major records, the super hero sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did kick off the summer movie season with a strong debut delivering the second best opening weekend of 2014. However, it did not drive the overall marketplace the way studio tentpoles usually do on this particular frame as the Top 20 slumped to the worst showing in eight years for the first weekend of May which since 1999 has marked the start of the summer blockbuster season.
Cameron Diaz's new revenge comedy The Other Woman booted Captain America from the number one spot and enjoyed a strong debut driven by adult women not interested in super heroes. The Fox hit bowed to an estimated $24.7M from 3,205 locations for a fantastic $7,707 average.
This weekend, the Easter frame saw a menu of new releases debut but audiences still made the super hero juggernaut Captain America: The Winter Soldier the top attraction as the Marvel man spent his third consecutive weekend at number one. Soldier is the second biggest blockbuster of 2014 trailing the $252.3M of The LEGO Movie which also happens to be the only other movie this year to threepeat.
Marvel muscle kept Captain America: The Winter Soldier on top of the North American box office for a second time while the Brazilian birds of another April sequel, Rio 2, landed in second place followed by middling debuts from a pair of other new releases.
Marvel magic worked wonders again as the super hero sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened to record business while pulverizing the competition in the process. The Disney release debuted to a gigantic $96.2M, according to estimates, setting a new April opening weekend record beating the $86.2M of 2011's Fast Five. Factor out three years of ticket price increases and 3D surcharges and the audience sizes were about the same.
The artsy epic adventure Noah conquered the North American box office with a strong opening of $44M, according to estimates. The Paramount release successfully countered some bad buzz to get audiences out to the multiplexes in the first weekend and will now hope that momentum can roll into the coming weeks of April. Led by Russell Crowe, the PG-13 pic averaged a muscular $12,335 from 3,567 locations including 341 IMAX screens which contributed a solid $6.2M (14%) of the tally.
This weekend, grossing more than the next five films combined, the futuristic thriller Divergent opened at number one in North America with a muscular debut ranking as the year's biggest opening for a live-action movie. The Lionsgate release collected an estimated $56M from 3,936 theaters for a spectacular $14,228 average. IMAX and 3D screens helped boost ticket prices with the large-screen format accounting for an impressive 16% of the weekend business.
The top ten was littered with new faces as smaller films performed better than larger ones. The street racing actioner Need For Speed and Tyler Perry's comedy The Single Moms Club both underperformed while indie pics The Grand Budapest Hotel and Veronica Mars jumped onto the list with the best averages. Overall, the domestic marketplace performed at normal levels for mid-March but it was a cartoon holdover that seized control of the number one spot.
Exactly seven years after the record-breaking opening of the blockbuster Spartan battle pic, the historical action sequel 300: Rise of an Empire conquered the global box office with international growth helping to make up for understandable domestic shrinkage. The brutal R-rated war epic debuted to an estimated $45.1M in North America capturing the top spot with ease driven by a carnage-loving male fan base. Warner Bros. averaged a strong $12,983 from 3,470 locations including 343 IMAX screens (up from only 62 on the first film) which did tremendously well.
Liam Neeson conquered the North American box office with his latest action thriller Non-Stop which exceeded expectations debuting at number one with an estimated $30M. Universal's third top spot debut of the year averaged a muscular $9,715 from 3,090 locations and reinforced the 61-year-old actor's reputation as one of the most bankable and reliable box office draws around. Over the past five years, Neeson has had six action movies open at number one. That's more than Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, and Will Smith - combined!
This weekend, two new Hollywood action offerings were met by yawns from ticket buyers who instead showed up again for the hit animated film The LEGO Movie which became the first toon in nearly four years to spend three consecutive weeks at number one.