‘The Scorch Trials’ Tops Box Office with $30.3 Million; ‘Black Mass’ in Second

     September 20, 2015

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There’s good news and bad news this weekend for Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The good news is that the sequel is number one at the box office. The bad news? It’s opening was lower than the first film in the series. The Scorch Trials earned an estimated $30.3 million from 3,791 locations, compared to the $32.5 million that The Maze Runner claimed on this same weekend in 2014. That’s a very marginal difference, but considering that most projections had Trials easily topping its predecessor, it takes some of the fun out of coming in first.

This year’s box office has been hit and miss for sequels. On the high end we had Avengers: Age of Ultron, Furious 7, and Pitch Perfect 2. But the low end included Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and others. Falling somewhere in the middle was The Divergent Series: Insurgent. The sequel earned a solid $130.1 million in its domestic run, though that was $20 million less than Divergent claimed in 2014. Insurgent did perform slightly better than its predecessor worldwide, but it also cost more to make so the positives and negatives are pretty well balanced.


That kind of balance is what The Scorch Trials needs to find. Even assuming the sequel holds well in the weeks to come (a big assumption given its so-so word of mouth), its opening indicates it won’t match the $102.7 million domestic total of the first film. On the other hand, The Maze Runner made most of its $340.7 million worldwide total overseas. Even with a budget almost twice the size of its predecessor, The Scorch Trials will be a winner for Fox as long as international audiences prove receptive.

black-mass-posterAudiences have not been particularly receptive to Johnny Depp for some time. The actor’s list of misfires stretches back to 2011 and includes Mortdecai – the lowest grossing major release of 2015. It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like the actor’s losing streak is finally over. Black Mass, starring Depp as real-life crime boss Whitey Bulger, took in an estimated $23.3 million from 3,188 locations this weekend. That’s not as high as Friday’s debut indicated, but considering that pre-release projections had the film opening below $20 million, Warner Bros. can still be proud of its second-place finish.

Universal is also feeling good about their box office results this morning – as if the company responsible for Furious 7, Jurassic World, and Straight Outta Compton needed more reasons to feel proud this year. As we told you yesterday, the studio decided to launch Everest a bit early – and in premium, large format 3D theatres only. That’s the same way audiences were first introduced to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. In that case, the early release was credited with breathing new life into a seemingly worn-out franchise. In its first three days in 545 locations, Everest earned an estimated $7.56 million, or $13,872 per screen. That’s lower than the $12.7 million that Ghost Protocol realized from 425 screens in 2011, but it beats the $6 million that Universal was expecting only yesterday.


Also new in limited release this weekend was the faith-based Captive. Following only weeks behind War Room and 90 Minutes in Heaven, which also targeted Christian audiences, Captive came up short. The Paramount feature earned an estimated $1.4 million from 806 locations, or a per-screen average of $1,737. In a more successful limited run, Sicario captured the weekend’s highest location average. The early awards contender opened in 6 locations in New York and Los Angeles and earned a reported $65,000 per screen.

Here’s the weekend’s top ten, based on studio estimates:

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $30,300,000 $30.3
2.  Black Mass $23,360,000 $23.3
3.  The Visit $11,350,000 $42.3
4.  The Perfect Guy $9,640,000 $41.3
5.  Everest $7,560,000 $7.5
6.  War Room $6,250,000 $49
7.  A Walk in the Woods $2,732,700 $24.8
8.  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation $2,250,000 $191.7
9.  Straight Outta Compton $1,970,000 $158.9
10.  Captive $1,400,000 $1.4

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