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Box Office Top Ten: So Far Comedy, Family Fare and Fox Dominate the Summer

Box Office Top Ten: So Far Comedy, Family Fare and Fox Dominate the Summer

Hollywood front-loaded the summer with big-budget actioners to get ahead of the month-long World Cup, which provides massive international competition. But this weekend two sequels, Sony comedy “22 Jump Street” and Dreamworks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” scored well stateside. And both improved on their previous efforts’ March openings, delivering more than $50 million, which is rare for the same weekend. Last summer, for example, only “Monsters University” and “World War Z” both opened at over $60 million. Nonetheless the weekend Top 10 total is down $12 million from last year, when the mighty “Man of Steel” managed $116 for its initial three-day weekend (on top of Thursday), with long-legged hit “This Is the End” supplementing the returns.

The year-to-date is about 2.5% above last year, with June performing comparatively better than May (despite boasting more tentpole releases). Both of this week’s openers disappointed on Saturday. Was it the World Cup? It’s not usually a big draw in the U.S. (although it does appeal to the Latino population, which is a prime driver for box office). This could still prove to be a bumpy summer, with more surprises ahead.

Yes it’s true: Twentieth Century Fox has three films in the top six this week, all with over 3,000 screens.

1. “22 Jump Street” (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 71

$60,000,000 in 3,306 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $18,149; Cumulative: $60,000,000

Coming in two-third higher than “21 Jump Street” and ahead (among R-rated comedies) of “Ted”‘s opening two years ago, this a clearly a happy result, especially with a modest $45-50 million budget that is far lower than the season’s previous #1 openers. The audience played equally male/female, and the raucous comedy drew a young crowd (an increasingly tough draw) despite the rating.

Most impressive, “22 Jump Street” is playing in nearly 1,000 fewer theaters than “How to Train a Dragon 2” and most #1 films of late. It also lacks the 3D surcharge boost that benefit many top films (including “Dragon”). However, the drop from Friday (even excluding the Thursday night shows) to Saturday was a bit more than “Ted,”; “21 Jump Street” had a slightly better second day result. But it’s still close to the same range, and the end result is a higher overall gross.

“Jump Street” marks the year’s second hit for directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who also made the earlier “Jump”), they also helmed “The Lego Movie.” For Jonah Hill (who also had voice roles in “Lego” and the current “Dragon”), this follows both “This Is the End” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And Channing Tatum is also on the rise, with his performance in the forthcoming “Foxcatcher” already acclaimed at Cannes.

What comes next: With the gross this high, a steep second weekend drop is likely. The first “Jump” did only about half as well foreign as domestic, but Hill and Tatum are bigger draws now. Whatever the ultimate results, this already seems like a clear success.

2. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (20th Century Fox) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 77

$50,000,000 in 4,253 theaters; PSA: $11,756; Cumulative: $50,000,000

DreamWorks Animation took a write down for both of its most recent releases (though 20th Century Fox), with “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” and “Turbo” joining their earlier “Rise of the Guardians,” their final Paramount film) as losses. So much rides on this success. “HTTYD2” is a much better opening gross than any of those (“Peabody” opened best of the group at $32 million but failed overseas), and is $7 million ahead of the first “Dragon.” So things are looking good. 

Comparisons fall short, though, to last summer’s two animated sequels. “Despicable Me 2” and “Monsters University” both opened to over $80 million. With an A Cinemascore, strong reviews and the popularity of the earlier film, this gross, though good, seems somewhat below what might have been expected. And with both “Frozen” and “The Lego Movie” in recent months also showing the strong appeal of animated films, even at an initial cost of $145 million, this appeared to be primed to be a major summer hit.

So far, particularly with the way well-received family features hold and the absence of top competition over the next few weeks, this should get into profitable territory. But it still feels a tad disappointing at this early stage.

What comes next: Unlike the norm recently, this did not have a parallel worldwide release in most territories. With animated films soaring overseas in most cases, that likely will guarantee success for this. And of course the second weekend hold will be a much clearer indication of reaction.

3. “Maleficent” (Buena Vista) Week 3 – Last weekend #2

$19,008,000 (-45%) in 3,623 theaters (-325); PSA: $3,623; Cumulative: $163,525,000

Still holding well, with a surprise #3 slot this weekend. The even better story is worldwide, which combined with the domestic total is now approaching $500 million.

What comes next: This looks like it could approach $250 million domestic and reach over $600 total, very strong.

4. “Edge of Tomorrow” (Warner Bros.) Week 2 – Last weekend #3

$16,175,000 (-44%) in 3,505 theaters (+15); PSA: $4,615; Cumulative: $56,649,000

As expected, this had a smaller drop than most of the summer’s films (on good word of mouth), but 44% from a disappointing opening still means a disappointing domestic take so far compared to its high cost ($178 million budget). Before this weekend, this had taken in $111 million additional in foreign, so this weekend’s report will give a stronger indication of its chances for ultimate success. Tom Cruise both helped guarantee a likely $100 million + domestic gross but also could provoke resistance that makes getting much higher (outside of the “Mission: Impossible” films) tougher. And with the expense of the films he makes, that’s a problem.

What comes next: Two more weeks before the new “Transformers,” so a better chance it can stabilize a bit.

5. “The Fault in Our Stars” (20th Century Fox) Week 2 – Last weekend #1

$15,725,000 (-67%) in 3,273 theaters (+100); PSA: $4,804; Cumulative: $81,700,000

This is a stunning drop for last weekend’s sensational #1 tearjerker. It’s not an inaccurate spin to say that before it opened, everyone involved would have been thrilled with this gross for its second weekend. With its $12 million budget, whatever money it makes from here out is profit, and this remains the sleeper success of the summer. But still, the drop is much bigger than expected. As unexpected as its placing ahead of “Edge of Tomorrow” was last weekend, its falling below it this weekend an equal shock. This suggests that social media marketing can do a great job of rousing potential fans to an opening (and to special events such as the Thursday night special showings) but can’t sustain even a well-received film as well.

What comes next: This will still easily cross $100 million. The international rollout will be more gradual with most major territories still yet to open.

6. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (20th Century Fox) Week 4- Last weekend #4

$9,500,000 (-37%) in 3,042 theaters (-597); PSA: $3,123; Cumulative: $205,940,000

A solid hold, a fine total so far, with worldwide now around $650 million. This is one of the undisputed hits of the summer among the highest-budgeted films.

What comes next: This now looks to become the highest grossing (unadjusted) of the “X-Men” series both domestic and worldwide.

7. “Godzilla” (Warner Bros.) Week 5  – Last weekend #6

$3,155,000 (-48%) in 2,088 theaters (-1,022); PSA: $1,511; Cumulative: $191,301,000

is not a good figure for a well-received film that opened a month ago
to over $90 million. So now to the better news — a strong China opening,
likely (not fully reported yet) to be around $35 million, and Japan has
yet to open. This is likely to end up over $600 million worldwide and
make a profit. But when Warners is also dealing with the disappointments
of both “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Blended,” a small profit will be

What comes next: This might not
even make the Top 10 next week. It has already lost nearly half of its
theaters, and will probably take another big drop next weekend.

8. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (Universal) Week 3 – Last weekend #5

$3,077,000 (-58%) in 2,413 theaters (-747); PSA: $1,275; Cumulative: $38,937,000

The hurt continues for Ted MacFarlane’s western comedy, which through three weekends hasn’t managed to gross 2/3s of what “22 Jump Street” did for its opening.

What comes next: International – some yet to open – won’t add enough to mitigate the loss.

9. “Neighbors” (Universal) Week 6 – Last weekend #7

$2,484,000 (-53%) in 1,896 theaters (-778); PSA: $1,310; Cumulative: $143,137,000

Considering the theater losses and new competition from “Jump,” this is doing fine for this point of the run.

What comes next: With its likely $150 million+ total, this will be among the top R-rated comedies of recent years.

10. “Chef” (Open Road) Week 6- Last weekend #9

$2,275,000 (-13%) in 1,102 theaters (-196); PSA: $2,065; Cumulative: $14,076,000

No longer expanding, but significantly the PSA remained about the same this weekend. This could hold for several more weeks and accumulate a decent take without Open Road’s usual higher wide marketing costs, making its ultimate take more impressive than the raw numbers.

What comes next: This should hit $20 million. It already has the highest gross among initially limited films this year after “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

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