Not every summer weekend can be a box office blockbuster, a maxim which has been abundantly clear over the past three frames. Beginning with the disappointing Memorial Day launch of Tomorrowland, this year’s overall grosses have trailed 2014’s by a significant margin. The box office could turn that trend around next weekend with the opening of Jurassic World, which has a shot at claiming the biggest June opening of all time ($116.6 million is the current record). But until then we work with what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is less impressive than what we had at this time last year.
Let’s start from the top. 2014’s winner was The Fault in Our Stars, which opened with $48 million. Considering that the audience for the romantic drama was made up almost entirely of women, that was something of a coup. This year’s number one film, Spy, also skewed female. And that’s where the similarities end. Spy took in an estimated $30 million from 3,711 locations: down from the $35 – $40 million that many expected.
Why were projections that high? Spy reunites Melissa McCarthy with her Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig. Both former titles over-performed at the box office. Bridesmaids opened with $26.2 million but wound up with almost $170 million by the end of its domestic run. Two years later, The Heat claimed $39.1 million in its debut and almost $160 million in total. Those are multiples that most summer releases only dream of. Spy also inspired reviews that are almost unheard of for a major summer release: 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film’s CinemaScore (B+) was down from Bridesmaids’ A- but even so, Spy should be able to make up over the long-term what it lacked on opening weekend.
That will not be the case for Insidious Chapter 3. With a few exceptions, horror films depend on opening weekends to fill out the bulk of their final gross. One film that bucked that trend was 2011’s Insidious. The PG-13 feature opened with just $13 million but boasted more than four times that amount by the end of its run. Even better, Insidious was budgeted at less than $2 million, so everything after opening day was profit. In 2013, Insidious Chapter 2 was much more traditionally front-loaded: earning nearly half of its $83 million domestic total in its first three days. If Chapter 3 follows the same pattern it will wind up as the lowest grossing entry in the series.
Last weekend’s number one film, San Andreas, was down just 52% in its sophomore frame with an estimated $26.4 million. The disaster pic just missed hitting $100 million after ten days in North America but should see its worldwide total jump after opening in China, South Korea, and additional markets over the past week (estimates will be available later on Sunday).
In our Friday box office recap, we mentioned that Entourage was not doing as well as expected. The screen version of the long-running HBO series opened on Wednesday, which complicated projections just a bit. Allow me to clarify: Entourage was originally expected to bring in $15 million on its first weekend. That means Friday – Sunday and does not include its first two days in theatres (or its Tuesday previews). According to Warner Bros., Entourage earned an estimated $10.4 million from 3,108 locations this weekend. Sure, adding Wednesday and Thursday gets the film well past that $15 million goal, but since when do we use weekdays to fill out a film’s weekend gross? WB hasn’t released an official budget for Entourage, but reports have it in the $30 million range. And that’s why $10.4 million is not looking so impressive.
Of course, Warner Bros. was able to deflect some of the disappointment surrounding Entourage courtesy of Mad Max: Fury Road. The fan-favorite not only hit $300 million in worldwide grosses on Friday but, for the first time since opening four weeks ago, Fury Road managed to top Pitch Perfect 2 on the weekend chart.
In other holdover news, Cameron Crowe’s much-maligned Aloha was down 66% in its sophomore frame. That gives the film a total domestic gross of $16.3 million after ten days. So, wait. Maybe Entourage isn’t looking so bad after all?
Overall, the box office was down almost 20% from the same frame last year, making this the third weekend in a row to underperform relative to 2014. At this point, Jurassic World could not be more welcome but, until then, here’s this weekend’s top ten:
|3.||Insidious Chapter 3||$23,000,000||$23|
|5.||Mad Max: Fury Road||$7,970,000||$130.8|
|6.||Pitch Perfect 2||$7,740,000||$161|
|8.||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$6,021,000||$438|