Another weak box-office weekend in North America

Things are losing steam in the USA as far as box-office collections go. The weekend that has just gone by was the lowest earner for the entire year, which ain’t a great way to begin the new month. There was only one new wide release viz. The Identical, a musical drama with a faith-based theme. Very few would even be aware of this movie, and fewer still went to the theatres to catch it. The Identical, made on a production budget of about $16 million, opened with a tiny figure of $1.9 million in North America, which puts it on the 11th position on the box-office charts. I can hardly remember a worse opening in quite a long time, especially when there weren’t even any other new releases. The movie has been released by Freestyle Releasing which has had only one other wide release this year, the surprise hit God’s Not Dead that has earned $60 million domestically as against its budget of $2 million. It seems Freestyle Releasing overestimated the potential of another faith-based film in The Identical, but the movie must have been really badly made too to have a 4% Rottentomatoes score. This one is dead and buried within days of its release!

Earnings_The Identical

With such dud competition, the top three spots remain unchanged at the domestic box-office charts. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is just about $5 million short of becoming the first film of the year to cross $300 million in North America. Globally too it has similar numbers so far, and with China release pending, the movie should be crossing past the $700 million figure in worldwide earnings which I had been wondering about for long. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is doing well for itself too with $300 million earned worldwide so far, and it is yet to release in a number of important territories. The “youth-adult” movie If I Stay has earned $50 million worldwide till date, and while this is no The Fault in Our Stars, it ain’t doing bad for a $11 million budget movie which is still in its third week of running. And a shout out to Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson which has a $313 million worldwide earning figure so far that makes it a smash hit considering its modest production budget of $40 million.

Marvel's Guardians Of The GalaxyL to R: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel), Rocket Racoon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana).  ©Marvel 2014

The year has given a lot of hit movies so far, but the box-office collections are still about 6% less when compared on a year-to-year basis in North America. True, the foreign markets are getting wider and larger, but the domestic market still forms an important chunk of the revenue share and also gives the production studios a better return on their dollar as compared to some of the other foreign territories where the exhibitors enjoy a higher share of the box-office earnings. The movies lined up in September seem unlikely to reverse the direction in which the domestic box-office is headed this year, and it may just be a question of seeing the month through with limited damage so that the subsequent quarter can try to save the day. Fingers crossed!

Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):

1. Guardians of the Galaxy ($10.2 million; sixth weekend)

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($6.5 million; fifth weekend)

3. If I Stay ($5.8 million; third weekend)

4. Let’s Be Cops ($5.4 million; fourth weekend)

5. The November Man ($4.2 million; second weekend)


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