Here are your estimated three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Think Like a Man Too - $30.0 million ($30.0 million total)
2. 22 Jump Street - $29.0 million ($111.4 million total)
3. How to Train Your Dragon 2 - $25.0 million ($95.1 million total)
4. Jersey Boys - $13.5 million ($13.5 million total)
5. Maleficent - $13.0 million ($185.9 million total)
6. Edge of Tomorrow - $10.3 million ($74.5 million total)
7. The Fault in Our Stars - $8.6 million ($98.7 million total)
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past - $6.2 million ($205.9 million total)
9. Chef - $1.84 million ($16.9 million total)
10. Godzilla - $1.82 million ($194.9 million total)
The Big Stories
Welcome to the least interesting week at the summer box office. No new summertime blockbusters. Just counterprogramming after seven weeks of fatigue of audiences trying to find something new. That's right, for the eighth straight week we have a new leader at the box office and its sadder than ever. This week our choices were a cinematic adaptation of a stage musical that really wasn't much of a musical by a jazzbo director who never really listened to the music involved when it was popular and a sequel nearly as bad as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and maybe twice as lazy. Guess which film won and which studio is laughing all the way to the bank on your dollars?
Think Like a Smart Person
If Tim Story were such a person he would hitch his wagon to Kevin Hart like Dennis Dugan has to Adam Sandler all these years. Since taking the hit on the horrendously awful Fantastic Four films he has made three straight trips to the bank thanks to Kevin Hart. The original Think Like a Man grossed $96 million worldwide on a $12 million budget. This year's Ride Along grossed $153 million on a $25 million budget. Now on a $24 million budget, Think Like a Man Too is the nuimber one film at the box office taking in a little less than the original back in 2012.
There is not a lot more to say about this victory. My original projections for the film had it just breaking the $100 million barrier. Maybe that will make it more interesting. The original dropped almost 48% in its second frame, but the only thing to challenge it next week is a completely different audience for is a new Transformers. Plus the July Fourth holiday will keep some steady momentum in the top 10. Think Too currently rates slightly better with critics (23%) than Ride Along (18%) did. The latter has another 50-some reviews to cull from (and another 47 negative) so give critics some time to catch up with this lazy travesty. Audiences meanwhile gave Ride Along an "A" from Cinemascore and Think Too an "A-." Yeah, boring.
And You Thought THAT Was Boring?
Welcome to Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys, which does not have the benefit of having its standard-issue story interrupted by a live concert of Four Seasons impersonators. Eastwood's film is most definitely the Memorex version of a very average play to begin with and the translation is hardly the kind of thing to get your toes tapping. You would have thought Warner Bros. learned its lesson back in 2012. It was then, on the third weekend of June, the studio released a big-screen version of a celebrated stage musical. The film opened to $14.4 million and did not gross $60 million worldwide on a $75 million budget. That film was Rock of Ages and it was a major flop for the studio that year.
Jersey Boys is in a little better situation. It's own mid-$14 million opening is nothing special, but at least the budget is almost half of Rock of Ages' and the reviews are a tad better (55% to 41%). Clint's new film opened better than Invictus, Hereafter and J. Edgar in their wide launches, but also got a wider launch in the middle of summer (Clint's first since Blood Work in 2002) compared to those fourth-quarter starts. Adults just are not bringing it home this summer. Though Jon Favreau's Chef is a decent word-of-mouth indie hit, Disney's Million Dollar Arm did not drum up as much interest as people thought it would. Unless Frankie Valli has some serious international appeal Jersey Boys will likely be another disappointment for Warner Bros. this summer.
Tales of the Top 10
This is where things get interesting. Well, at least, more interesting. The inverse proportion of the universe still has not corrected itself as 22 Jump Street once again beat How to Train Your Dragon 2. The Lord/Miller comedy held better than most number ones this summer but is currently $18 million off the pace of Maleficent (which is headed for over $200 million) and $9 million off from Ted (which finished with $218 million) but $175 million seems like a real possibility. Within the next two weeks it will beat Neighbors as the highest grossing R-rated film of the year and is helping to correct Sony's early year course of flops and disappointments.
Speaking of Dreamworks, its investors can not be happy with a 49% drop in its second weekend. Maleficent's sterling hold (to the tune of $521 million worldwide) can be partially attributed to that, but with no other challengers out there, the film not reaching $100 million in 10 days is just bad news. Do you know how rare it is for a film to make $200 million when it does not even average $10 million a day for its first 10? It has only happened five times in this century.
Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol ($96.5* million), King Kong ($95.1), Alvin and the Chipmunks ($84.0), Wedding Crashers ($80.3), Tangled ($80.1)
Ghost Protocol's numbers* reflected its first 10 days in wide release. Notice that four of those films opened during the end-of-year holiday season when films open softer and gain strength over vacation time. Only Wedding Crashers gained the kind of word of mouth over the summer to extend to $200 million in the modern era. If there remains some good news on the Dragon 2 front, it is that the original film back in March 2010 had only grossed $92.1 million after 10 days. But that was after a mere 33.7% and a $29 million second weekend. Weekends three through five had drops under 22% and hit $200 million in its seventh week. Good luck with that, Dreamworks
X-Men: Days of Future Past still needs about $32 million to be the highest grossing film worldwide of 2014 but it is maintaining its status as the number one film of the summer on its way to about $230 million. Fox will certainly try to get it to $235 million to be the highest grossing domestic X-Men film (over Ratner's The Last Stand) but it is far and away the biggest grossing film in the franchise worldwide. Godzilla, as expected, is struggling to hit $200 million in the U.S. but its $250 million overseas has made it Warner Bros.' third hit of 2014 and its only hit thus far this summer. (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is still limping to $200 million as well.)
Speaking of Warner Bros., Edge of Tomorrow is still hoping to be the little engine that could. It is not going to win any medals but is instead that marathon runner everyone is hoping reaches the finish line. Another $26 million in the U.S. will give the terrific Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt sci-fi actioner $100 million and then another $122 million overseas will get the film to break-even status. Let's hope that audiences continue to discover and recommend the film over the newbies that opened this week. That way, not counting that whole Legends of Oz debacle, Adam Sandler will have the biggest loser of the summer to date in Blended. Oh, sorry Warner Bros.
Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
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