Well, a new young adult franchise has been born. Made for a relatively low $34 million, 20th Century Fox took the #1 spot this weekend with their latest YA entry, “The Maze Runner.” On a whopping 3,604 screens, its $32.5 million opening didn’t break the bank, nor did it outperform opening-weekend numbers from 2014 YA movies like “The Fault In Our Stars” or “Divergent,” but it did best YA films like “Ender’s Game” and the last “Percy Jackson” movie. And so for this more modest picture with fewer well-known stars, “The Maze Runner” did solid business. Especially when you consider that its overseas totals made for an $81.5 million opening weekend global total. The film also did well considering its season, early September when audiences aren’t flocking to theaters. And so “The Maze Runner” opening was the 6th highest September opening ever, and course without 3D surcharges.
52% of audiences were female, and while Dylan O’Brien isn’t a huge star, his stint on MTV’s “Teen Wolf” has certainly raised his exposure high enough to get the teen girls into theater seats this weekend. All of this has been good enough for Fox. They’ve greenlit the sequel and already given it a release date. Nope, not two years from now, but pretty much the same time next year: September 18, 2015. Which means they’ll be putting that film into production ASAP.
Elsewhere, the other wide releases of the weekend, Warner Bros.’ ensemble
sitcom comedy “This is Where I Leave You” and Universal‘s “A Walk Among The Tombstones” failed to move the needle much. While only on 602 screens, A24’s Kevin Smith film “Tusk” was a gigantic flop, taking in a pitiful $886,000. So much for Smith’s comeback, and one has to be at least slightly worried about A24, a smart indie company who also flopped earlier in the year with “The Rover” in expansion. “Tusk” is now Smith’s biggest financial national release flop.
As expected, despite being at number 1 last weekend, Screen Gems’ “No Good Deed” fell almost 60% and almost out of the top 10. But it did make another $10 million, so it appears that Screen Gems’ tactic to not screen the movie for critics worked. “Dolphin Tale 2” fell 43% in week two, and “Guardians Of The Galaxy” added another $5.2 million to its domestic total. And ‘Guardians’ hit more milestones this weekend too. The movie surpassed “Iron Man 2” both domestically and internationally at the box-office, and now has become the fourth highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe picture at home (it’s #5 worldwide). With $313 million domestically, ‘Guardians’ is still the #1 movie of 2014 in North America and it should probably stay that way unless “The Hunger Games” can challenge it or Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” turns into a huge hit.
In perhaps the most surprising box-office news of the summer, 20th Century’s Fox’s “Let’s Be Cops” has hit $100 million globally. We should probably prepare ourselves for a sequel of some kind. Rounding out the top 10 was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” ($333 million worldwide), “The Drop” ($7 million domestic total so far), and “If I Stay,” which has made a not-too shabby $69 million worldwide off an $11 million budget.
What’s been interesting to watch is the movies that belatedly keep charting overseas as they expand into bigger markets. “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” finally opened in Japan and China where it’s already grossed $103 million. The movie has grossed $681 million worldwide and should end its run well north of $700 million. Luc Besson‘s “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson keeps trucking internationally too. The movie has grossed $377 million globally and it’ll eventually crack the $400 million mark, a very big success for a movie that only cost $40 million. Meanwhile, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is only $4 million away from surpassing “The Dark Knight Rises” on the all-time worldwide grosses list. It should be able to do so by next week or the week after, and it will take the 10th spot for the highest grossing movie of all time globally.
In limited release, the Nick Cave doc “20,000 Days on Earth” did well (26.8K in 1 theater for a $13,427 PSA), “Hector & the Search for Happiness” did ok, but it may be in major trouble next weekend because it’s supposed to go wide and its prospects don’t look great. Not quite impressing was the critically-well-regarded throwback horror “The Guest.” The indie was on 19 screens, but its $82,126 gross and $4,321 PSA were not amazing. It too is supposed to expand next weekend. The Weinstein Company is having trouble with their indie releases this fall. The critically regarded “The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby” has underperformed in limited release, and so did this weekend’s addition, “Tracks,” staring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver. With a $21.5k gross from 4 theaters and an unremarkable $5,389 PSA, this one will probably remain in limited release.
1. The Maze Runner — $32.5 million
2. A Walk Among the Tombstones — $13.1 million
3. This is Where I Leave You — $11.8 million
4. No Good Deed — $10.2 million ($40.1mil)
5. Dolphin Tale 2 — $9.005 million ($27.07mil)
6. Guardians of the Galaxy — $5.1 million ($313mil)
7. Let’s Be Cops — $2.6 million ($77.1mil)
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — $2,650,000 ($185.mil)
9. The Drop — $2.05 million ($7.6mil)
10. If I Stay — $1.8 million ($47.6 mil)