Summer 2015 has prospered not only because of the large number of breakout smashes, but also a low number of big budget flops. “Fantastic Four,” 20th Century-Fox’ reboot of their previously successful Marvel-character franchise, managed only $11.3 million for its combined Thursday night-Friday showings. It garnered an awful C- Cinemascore, meaning it likely won’t even hit $30 million for the weekend and could struggle to do much more than double that in its entire domestic run. With a $120 million pre-marketing budget, that spells trouble, even if foreign picks up some of the slack.
Three other wide openings appealing to distinct audiences had a limited impact, with only one promising. “The Gift,” a thriller and the directorial debut of actor Joel Edgerton as well as the first release from brand-new STX Entertainment, placed third with $4.1 million in only 1,648 theaters. This inexpensive film, with the marketing more expensive than its production cost, garnered strong reviews. It looks likely to be positioned to expand and end up as a multi-week performer.
“Ricki and the Flash,” with Oscar winners Jonathan Demme, Diablo Cody and especially Meryl Streep as draws, managed only an anemic sixth place/$2.25 million. It also started with fewer than normal theaters (1,603), but needs to show some spark tonight (when its core older audience might be more likely to show up) to position it anywhere close to success.
The other opener, Aardman Animation’s “Shaun the Sheep Movie” (Lionsgate), which got great reviews when it opened midweek, only managed to place 11th yesterday with $1.2 million. Matinees might propel it up a notch for the three days.
Holdovers took over the other slots, with “Vacation” (Warner Bros.) in fourth with $2.655 million, “Ant-Man” (Buena Vista) in fifth and “Minions” (Universal) seventh like “Ricki and the Flash” were at $2.2 million or slightly above. “Trainwreck” (Universal) took eighth with $1.9 million, the quickly fading “Pixels” (Sony) ninth with $1.6 million, and “Southpaw” (Weinstein) for now at least in tenth with $1,338,000.