In the blockbuster film continuum, tentpoles typically function like firecrackers, shining brightly in opening weekends and then eventually diminishing, either rapidly or gradually. But Marvel’s big 2014 “risk” “Guardians Of The Galaxy” has remained incandescent for a unusually long time. It’s been second at the box-office for two weeks, suffering the mild ignominy in playing second fiddle to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," but it appears that the kids have gotten their fill of that particular reboot. Dropping only 30% from last weekend, “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is back at the #1 spot this weekend after its fourth week of release, and it will likely end up the highest grossing film of the summer. Indeed, ‘Guardians’ has outgrossed both "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Maleficent" to attain the summer box office crown. Hovering around $251 million, it’s the third highest grossing movie of 2014 domestically and by next weekend it should be able to eclipse "The Lego Movie" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." It may also become the first film of 2014 to hit the $300 million mark stateside.
Worldwide, ‘Guardians’ has grossed almost $490 million and will easily crack $500, but the question now is how far it will go past $600? The movie is currently the 10th highest grossing film of the year worldwide, but it still has another five-six weeks to keep earning. That said, the film’s domestic grosses have already surpassed foreign grosses, which is rare. But North America tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to movies. International audiences tend to see films featuring the likes of Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Sylvester Stallone long after Americans have succumbed to movie star fatigue. It may be that Chris Pratt and Co. may are not yet known, and it might take the sequel for ‘Guardians’ to really roar for audiences overseas.
While the YA weepie “If I Stay” starring Chloe Grace Moretz was expected to win the weekend, the film’s grosses slowed on Friday and it settled for third with a $16.4 million domestic total. While the movie has connected in Mexico and Russia, it has not yet opened in Japan, the U.K. and China, and has underwhelmed in the other 16 territories.
So “If I Stay” wasn’t a “Fault In Our Stars”-sized hit, but due to the fact that it was made for an equally inexpensive $11 million, it’s off to a decent start (an A- Cinemascore) and certainly shows that YA films can encompass more than science fiction. The true indicator will be how much it drops off in its second week, or if teen audiences got their fill in opening weekend.
Perhaps one of the biggest bombs of the year, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” flopped hard. The Robert Rodriguez-directed reprise could not gross $7 million in its opening weekend and could only claim a pitiful eighth spot (by contrast, “If I Stay” earned more than its entire weekend run just on Friday). While the film did have a B+ Cinemascore and the under 25-males that saw it evidently enjoyed it, it appeared for the rest of audiences that this sequel was nine years too late. Poorly received by critics, the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score wasn’t that low compared to some this year (43%), but its opening was down a massive 78% from the original released in 2005. But it appears the movie was a victim of savage indifference more than anything else. It’s another blow to the Comic-Con film —one that the young male fanboys love, but which interests no one else. Of course, for every “Kick-Ass 2” and “Sin City 2” there’s a “Guardians Of the Galaxy,” but it perhaps demonstrates that San Diego is not a reliable barometer for the rest of the world. The film was made for a relatively inexpensive $40 million (at least by blockbuster standards), and there was loose talk of a third picture, but for a movie that performed DOA on opening weekend? This franchise is done.
Elsewhere, "Let’s Be Cops" had a much stronger hold than expected with only a 40% drop, but "The Giver" fell almost 50% and "The Expendables 3" almost 60%. The latter has grossed a dreadful $27.5million domestically, and one assumes no matter how well it does overseas (which doesn’t look good so far), this series is also done for. In fact, ‘EXP3’ has opened in almost 30 territories in in two weeks hasn’t even grossed $50 million globally. China, Japan and Russia are still to come, but this franchise appears to be already rotting. The pretend cop comedy made its budget back in opening weekend (minus theater split and promotion and advertising) and has climbed to a very strong $45 million in two weeks, so it’s definitely looking like it’ll turn a profit. Perhaps the surprise film of the weekend was Sony’s football movie "When the Game Stands Tall." With no stars and little visibility or marketing (at least not in Blue States/East Coast), the movie took the fifth spot with a respectable $9.1 million bow. The fact that it opened three spots higher than a big time blockbuster sequel is one of its many little victories.
Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" fell out of the top 10 after cracking the list last week, but having grossed $16.5 domestically and only dropping a scant 6.4%, the indie is still performing incredibly well. In limited release, “Love Is Strange” and “The One I Love” (already on VOD) both had good per screen averages (the former a solid $126,552 PSA, the latter a decent $55,100 PSA).
In global milestones, Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” is still rising and has hit $748 million worldwide. It has overshadowed “Captain America 2” and is now the second highest grossing film of 2014 globally. “Dawn of The Planet of The Apes” cracked the $200 million mark at home for a $540 million worldwide total, but despite great reviews and a great opening weekend, the movie has slowed down compared to estimates that predicted possibly a $250 million domestic total (not happening). “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is the third highest grossing film of the year worldwide and after 14 weeks in theaters (long these days), it appears Fox is just going to leave it in theaters until it finally surpasses “X-Men: The Last Stand” at home. Meanwhile, Luc Besson’s “Lucy” has inched its way up to $226.6 million worldwide.
At home “Neighbors” closed its strong R-rated comedy run with $150 million and after five weeks of release "Hercules" hasn’t even cracked the $70 million mark at home.
Full International and limited release numbers still to come.
1). Guardians of the Galaxy—$17.6M ($251.9m)
2). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles —$16.8M ($145.5m)
3). If I Stay — $16.3M
4). Let’s Be Cops — $11 ($45m)
5). When the Game Stands Tall — $9.1M
6). The Giver —$6.7M ($24.1M)
7). The Expendables 3 —$6.77M ($27.5M)
8). Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — $6.4M
9). The Hundred-Foot Journey — $5.4M ($32.65M)
10). Into The Storm — $3.8M ($38.3M)