‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ Leads, ‘Black Mass’ Surprises at Friday Box Office

     September 19, 2015

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After three less-than thrilling frames, this weekend’s box office offers several points of interest: an underwhelming sequel, an overperforming drama, and an IMAX-only surprise.

The sequel is, of course, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. On this same weekend last year, Fox introduced Maze Runner, the first in a planned trilogy based on the books of James Dashner. With its young adult protagonists and dystopian setting, comparisons to The Hunger Games were unavoidable. But when it came to the box office, Maze Runner was neither a Katniss-sized hit nor a Mortal Instruments type miss. The film earned a solid $102.4 million in North America and $340.7 million worldwide – more than ten times its original budget.

maze-runner-the-scorch-trials-posterWith a strong opening chapter in Maze Runner, box office logic dictated a superior debut for the sequel. Early projections for The Scorch Trials were between $35 and $45 million: well ahead of its forerunner’s $32.5 million opening. Based on Friday’s estimate, however, it looks like $30 million may be closer to the mark. The Scorch Trials earned a reported $11 million from 3,791 locations yesterday, or just over $2,900 per screen. On its own first day, Maze Runner claimed $11.29 million and an average of $3,125.


If The Scorch Trials was a bit underwhelming, the opposite was true of Black Mass. The R-rated crime drama, starring Johnny Depp as Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, earned an estimated $8.8 million from 3,188 locations. That equals a per-screen average just slightly below the more-marketable Maze Runner sequel. Original projections for Black Mass did not exceed $20 million, but based on Friday’s estimate, the Warner Bros. release should top $25 million by Sunday. That would put Black Mass on par with The Town, another Boston-based crime drama. On this same weekend in 2010, The Town debuted with $23.8 million on its way to a $92.1 million domestic total.

Even considering the unanticipated strength of Black Mass, this weekend’s biggest surprise came courtesy of Everest. One week ahead of its scheduled release date, Universal booked the disaster epic for an IMAX-only debut in 545 theatres. You may recall that Paramount chose a similar route for its Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol release back in 2011, with excellent results. Everest earned an estimated $2.3 million yesterday, or $4,220 per location. That’s by far the best average among Friday’s top ten films, and indicates a weekend total close to $6 million.

We’ll have complete details on the weekend box office tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $11,000,000 $11
2.  Black Mass $8,815,000 $8.8
3.  The Visit $3,570,000 $34.5
4.  The Perfect Guy $3,025,000 $34.7
5.  Everest $2,300,000 $2.3

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