• Industry

World Box Office August 25-31

The summer is officially at a close, and it’s not been one to remember. Not from a North American viewpoint, at least. Blockbuster season was unusually slow this year, dropping 15% as compared to 2013. Nor was there to be a fairytale Labor Day comeback as the weekend has proved unremarkable, as usual. The champ this session was again Guardians of the Galaxay, which finished the weekend with a $16.3 million gross. The Disney and Marvel Studios picture, starring Chris Pratt, and Zoe Saldana, continues to blow away expectations. The film has now grossed $274.6 million, and is the biggest movie of 2014 in the U.S. and Canada. It also added $19.7 overseas to reach a very welcome global cumulative of $613.4 million. A sequel with a proposed July 2017 release date is already in the works, although Disney and Marvel may attempt to push for an earlier release to take full advantage of this unexpected level of fanfare.
Just like last frame, this was an unfortunate weekend for new releases. As Above So Below, a horror story about a team of archaeologists fighting for their lives in the Paris catacombs, ended with an unremarkable $8.3 million showing for fifth place. With a production budget of just $5 million, Legendary Pictures will still most likely turn a profit from this late summer entry. The November Man, a $20 million spy flic from Relativity Media, made just $7.7 million to close its domestic debut weekend to finish in sixth place. It stars Pierce Brosnan in a role he won’t have had to do much work preparation for: The old Bond actor plays an ex-CIA agent, lured out of retirement for one more action packed mission. The road to profitability, though, isn’t likely to be challenging given the actor’s lingering popularity around the world.
As has been happening all year round so far, the level of total disaster for the weekend as a whole was mitigated by a very big Chinese opening. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which premiered in the U.S. in June, pulled in $47 million in its weekend launch in the People’s Republic, the fourth biggest of all time for a foreign picture in that country. It was shown on a staggering 7,000 screens. With this addition, the 20th Century Fox picture has reached an international gross of $408.1 million. Its domestic tally of $205.2 million brings the global cumulative to a very satisfactory $613 million, well clear of its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ $481.8 million foreign and domestic run.
Lucy continued to gain ground abroad as well. The French-American production from director Luc Besson came in second on the international charts, earning $31.2 million in 48 territories. It was number one in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Croatia, among others. Mexico, where it earned $4.3 million, was the film’s biggest new territory, while Japan and Brazil pitched in a welcome $2.6 million and $2.4 million a piece, respectively. In the director’s native France it finished first for the fourth week in a row, and now has a $35.1 million cumulative there.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had another positive weekend abroad, taking $13 million from 43 territories. It earned $11.8 million at home for a decent $24.8 million weekend cumulative, and has now amassed a global total of $274.5 million.
Warner Brothers’ medium budget disaster film Into the Storm did very well overseas to earn $12.9 million. It had an exceptional showing in South Korea where it pushed aside local phenomenon Roaring Currents to finish in first place with $5.2 million. In Italy, it finished second with $1.2 million.
Also of note was the $2.6 million United States launch of Spanish language picture Cantinflas, a biopic about one of Mexico’s most beloved comedians. The Pantelion and Lionsgate venture is another sign of Hollywood’s effort to tap the U.S.’s massive Spanish-speaking audience.
In other news John Favreau’s indie film Chef crossed the $30 million threshold, and Ghostbusters, re-released by Sony, made a modest $1.65 million at the weekend box office.
Next weekend North American theaters will have only one major release, The Identical, and audiences can look forward to an IMAX reissue of Forest Gump on the classic picture’s 20th anniversary.
Lorenzo Soria