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Weekend Box-Office: Brad Pitt Brings The ‘Fury’; ‘Birdman’ Takes Flight In Limited Release

Weekend Box-Office: Brad Pitt Brings The ‘Fury’; ‘Birdman’ Takes Flight In Limited Release

As projected, Sony’s WWII drama “Fury” won the box-office weekend, thanks to solid reviews (not from us though), a huge movie star in Brad Pitt and, to a lesser extent, Shia LaBeouf doing the mea culpa rounds on the talk shows, talking about his recent arrest and his crazy antics on the set of David Ayer’s WWII movie. But projections of earnings over $30 million proved hasty, and “Fury” could only rake up $23 million in its opening weekend. It’s a good haul for a 2014 drama released in October, but for Pitt, it’s not even in the top 10 of his best openings (international numbers have not yet hit for “Fury”).

20th Century Fox’s “Gone Girl” continuing its remarkable run, shifting only to the number two slot, but making an incredibly low 32.6% drop from its previous weekend. David Fincher‘s pulpy satire crossed the $100 million mark domestically this weekend and now stands at $201 million worldwide. It is now the 2nd highest grossing film of Fincher’s career domestically, and it should become the top grossing by next weekend. If this trajectory continues, “Gone Girl’ has a shot at becoming Fincher’s highest grossing film worldwide (currently held by ‘Benjamin Button’ which grossed $333 million in 2009).  The fortunes of Universal’s “Dracula Untold” were more or less opposite, falling about 58% in its second week. It’s grossed a decent $40.7 million in two weeks, but if it keeps plummeting like this, it’ll be out of the top 10 quickly and won’t reach that coveted $100 million domestic mark that a franchise-starter needs to earn.

Strongholds were the story of the weekend though. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” fell only 34% in its second weekend, and “The Judge” only fell 39%. Neither opened  to overly impressive numbers, but these holds suggest these inexpensive movies have found their audience and are here to stay for the forseeable future.

Are chinks showing in Nicholas Sparks’ armor? Relativity’s “The Best of Me” was the lowest grossing Sparks film adaptation opening of yet, despite being shown on the 4th highest number of screens of nine films released so far. A Sparks adaptation hasn’t opened this low since “A Walk to Remember” in 2002, but the good news is the picture wasn’t terribly expensive (though not quite cheap either), so if it holds, it should be able to “break even” (which means a fake variety of “break even,” which doesn’t consider promotion and advertising and split theater costs).

Warner Bros.’ “Annabelle” has done exactly everything a cheapie horror with no names should do. Made for $6 million, the picture has grossed $166 million worldwide. That’s a stupendous profit, so we’ll just assume a sequel announcement is around the corner. Performing slightly less impressively is “The Equalizer,” the sequel of which has already been announced. It’s made $158 worldwide, but cost $55 million. It looks like that film will make it past the $100 million mark, but probably not by much. “The Maze Runner” is ending its tenure within the top 10 shy of $100 million domestically, but perhaps it can make it in the theater if it stays in theaters a little while longer. But not to worry: it was inexpensive and worldwide the YA sci-thriller is at an impressive $251 million which is closing in on the $288 million that “Divergent” grossed earlier this year (and no Shailene Woodley or recognizable stars to boot).

Meanwhile, in milestones outside the top 10: “Guardians of the Galaxy” has become the fourth highest grossing film of 2014 worldwide (it claimed the domestic top spot back in September). And if this pace continues, it will easily become 2014’s second highest grossing film worldwide, surpassing “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” and “Maleficent.” ‘Guardians’ is now the third highest grossing Marvel film both domestically and worldwide, having just surpassed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” internationally this weekend. That’s about as high as ‘Guardians’ will go, but it’s a superb achievement that bodes extremely well for Marvel’s bid to release pictures based on obscure characters: their dream position to be in.

The high profile limited releases did very well this weekend. Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s “Birdman” scored the 2nd highest limited opening of the year behind Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (which still holds the all-time limited release record). On only four screens, that movie grossed $415,000 amounting to a whopping $103,750 per screen average. That’s also just outside the top 10 for best limited release openings of all time. With this stellar opening, Fox Searchlight’s platforming plan is set, and the picture is likely just going to soar from here all the way to awards season. While its performance wasn’t nearly as strong, Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” still had an impressive opening: $344,000 from 11 screens for a $31,273 per screen average. That figure is very good for indies in 2014. Compare that to Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children” which was a positive bomb. The drama expanded into 608 theaters and grossed even less than Simien’s picture: $320,000 from 608 screens for a deeply unremarkable $526 per screen average. That earns it the worst wide expansion of 2014, even below “The Rover” and Kevin Smith’sTusk.” In fact, Box Office Mojo ranks it as the 5th worst wide-opening expansion of all time (1982 to present, and from experience this list could be off a little bit, as it’s manually updated). And today is Reitman’s birthday. Ouch. Expect Paramount to pull the plug on a 3,000+ wide expansion and for the movie to quickly fade from theaters if similar wider opening failures in 2014 are any indication.

More updates later in the day when more international numbers arrive.

1. Fury — $23,500,000
2. Gone Girl — $17,800,000 ($107,069,000)
3. The Book of Life — $17,000,000
4. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day — $12,039,000 ($28)
5. The Best of Me — $10,200,000
6. Dracula Untold — $9,889,000 ($40,735,000)
7. The Judge — $7,940,000 ($26,843,000)
8. Annabelle —$7,925,000 ($74,127,000)
9. The Equalizer — $5,450,000 ($89,170,000)
10. The Maze Runner — $4,500,000 ($90,837,000)

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