This year the official summer season launches, as did last, with a Marvel comic sequel.
Sony’s costly “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opened $2 million ahead of the expected gross of $90 million. But that is no better than other recent Marvel entries from other studios, and considerably below last year’s “Iron Man 3,” which launched a terrific three months of stellar grosses with $174 million.
The result is a 3-day Top 10 take of around $142 million, down almost $70 million from last year, and by far the weakest weekend-to-weekend comparison in many months. “Spider-Man”‘s performance hints that the upcoming season might not be up to last year’s standard.
“Iron Man 3” also kicked off a terrific month of May last year, quickly followed by “The Great Gatsby,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Epic,” “Hangover Part III,” and “Fast and Furious 6.” This year isn’t bereft of promising titles for May – “Neighbors,” “Godzilla,” “Million Dollar Arm” and “Maleficent” are among entries with potential coming up. But the 9% year to date jump seen through the first four months could quickly recede.
1. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (Sony) – Cinemascore: B+; Criticwire: C; Cinemascore: 53
$92,000,000 in 4,324 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $21,277; Cumulative: $92,000,000
Any opening weekend gross of $92 million is terrific, and a worldwide total (with many early international openings) at $370 million is nothing to sneeze at. Sony is on its way to modest returns for their sequel to the reboot of the superhero franchise, due to a risky combined production/marketing budget clocked at over $400 million.
Not all the comparisons are great — “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” coming off a weaker series reboot and opening in less-prime April, had a slightly better opening weekend. And with the opening May weekend established as a go-to slot for top superhero films (the last two years, “The Avengers” grossed $207 million and “Iron Man 3” $174 million), this doesn’t compete on their level. But the decent Saturday number is down only slightly from the first day number (which includes Thursday evening shows), in line with similar films. This suggests strong family weekend matinee attendance, crucial for both initial and ongoing success.
Comparisons to the previous “Spider-Man” are tricky since it opened on a Tuesday of a July 4th weekend. For the record, that film grossed $62 million its first weekend and $137 million its first six days on its way to $262 million domestic and $752 million worldwide haul.
International — where the last “Spider-Man” soared far above its domestic take — is already at $277 million. China opened Sunday with a reported $10.4 million tally, ahead of “Captain America 2″‘s first day gross. India’s opening weekend of $6.5 million is the best ever for a Hollywood-produced film, and other new territories show continued success.
This production suffered the loss of producer Laura Ziskin, who passed away in 2011, but saw the return of director Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”) and leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The writing team was all new, culled from other successful sci-fi/fantasy movies and TV efforts: their efforts took the brunt of the criticism from mixed reviews.
What comes next: The second weekend will be critical in determining real audience reaction. Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla” should prove significant competition when it opens May 16.
2. “The Other Woman” (20th Century Fox) Week 2 – Last weekend #1
$14,200,000 (-43%) in 3,238 theaters (+33); PSA: $4,385; Cumulative: $47,345,000
A decent hold for Nick Cassavetes’ female-centered comedy led by Cameron Diaz. Weekday grosses suggested some strength for this beyond the hints from last weekend’s #1 opening, and this weekend’s 26% jump Saturday suggests this is getting more couples attending, critical to sustaining a run for a few more weeks. This now has a chance to more than triple its opening, the usual standard for a good performance.
What comes next: This does face the challenge of well-reviewed raunch comedy “Neighbors” opening next Friday.
3. “Heaven Is for Real” (Sony) Week 3 – Last weekend #3
$8,700,000 (-39%) in 2,930 theaters (+225); PSA: $2,969; Cumulative: $65,600,000
Sony has good news beyond its decent “Spider-Man” openings as this continues its march to a likely surprise $100 million+ gross, and breaks out beyond its faith-based core audience. This will be one of their most profitable films of the year.
What comes next: Not exactly sequel-bait, but expect an industry-wide scramble for similar after-life experience films ahead.
4. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (Buena Vista) Week 5 – Last weekend #2
$7,762,000 (-52%) in 3,179 theaters (-441); PSA: $2,442; Cumulative: $237,143,000
“Spider-Man” had its biggest impact on this fellow Marvel superhero, which had its biggest % drop after a month of terrific play. Still, the gross is almost double for the weekend of what its predecessor did in its fifth summer stanza, with both the domestic and international totals soaring ahead the first “America.” Full worldwide number is now $680 million!
What comes next: Lots of results still to come, but at this point, this film looks to have a strong chance of retaining its position as #1 2014 grosser for some time to come, with its April release being a strong factor. Curiously, Buena Vista has already staked claim to the prime first weekend in May for 2016 for the third entry.
5. “Rio 2” (20th Century Fox) Week 4 – Last weekend #4
$7,600,000 (-45%) in 3,314 theaters (-389); PSA: $2,293; Cumulative: $106,470,000
The competition for family audiences from “Spider-Man” likely is the cause of a bigger-than-usual drop for a successful animated film (they tend to hold better). But with over $400 million worldwide in sight for this film, and only minor cartoon competition until “Maleficent” at the end of the month, this has some life yet.
What comes next: Nothing to suggest Fox won’t continue flying down to “Rio.”
6. “Brick Mansions” (Relativity) Week 2 – Last weekend #5
$3,545,000 (-63%) in 2,647 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $1,339; Cumulative: $15,482,000
A steep second weekend fall for this English-language, French-produced action remake starring Paul Walker.
What comes next: Despite Walker’s presence in one of his final films, this looks like it will fall short of Relativity’s two other recent release, “3 Days to Kill” and “Oculus.”
7. “Divergent” (Lionsgate) Week 7- Last weekend #9
$2,175,000 (-41%) in 1,639 theaters (-427); PSA: $1,327; Cumulative: $142,662,000
Continuing its fine sustained run, this first entry in Lionsgate/Summit’s latest young adult adaptations manages to jump a couple spots even with a 41% fall. Worldwide — rolling out more slowly — is already around $250 million, decent for a film with a relatively thrifty production cost of $85 million.
What comes next: The sequels will roll out, with this series, while not looking to achieve “Twilight” or “Hunger Games” numbers, looking to provide a good return on investment.
8. “The Quiet Ones” (Lionsgate) Week 2 – Last weekend #7
$2,000,000 (-48%) in 2,027 theaters (unchanged) ; PSA: $987; Cumulative: $6,761,000
“The Quiet Ones” is not only a good description for this low-impact British horror film, but also for the entire line-up of underperforming films in the genre this year so far.
What comes next: The next horror entry is Sony’s “Deliver Us from Evil” July 4th weekend. Maybe by then interest will return.
9. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Fox Searchlight) Week 9 – Last weekend #13
$1,735,000 (-%) in 884 theaters (-137); PSA: $1,963; Cumulative: $51,506,000
weakness of the weekend allowed this to jump three spots, but that
alone isn’t responsible for this continued success. Now in its third
month, without any concurrent awards hoopla to boost its momentum, Wes
Anderson’s acclaimed film is setting new standards for early year
specialized success. Even among films with later release dates, but
still played out theatrically, it has soared. It already has done more
than 50% better than last year’s “Blue Jasmine.” Worldwide is
approaching $140 million.
What comes next: With a
gross of $57 million (looking likely), this will soar ahead of both
Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave” and the impressive total for May
2011 release “Midnight in Paris.”
10. “God’s Not Dead” (Freestyle) Week 7 – Last weekend #11
$1,725,000 (-38%) in 1,330 theaters (-270); PSA: $1,297; Cumulative: $55,520,000
Also regaining a Top 10 slot, though falling behind (barely) “Budapest” for the first time in a few weeks, this remains the low-budget smash of the year.
What comes next: With this heading to $60 million, expect many similar films with a fundamentalist Christian take ahead from other independent production companies.