Three wide releases this weekend. And it is still the movie of the previous week which remains perched safely on top of the box-office charts in North America. What does that tell you? Either the movie at the top is way too good or the new releases are quite bad. Well, both the sides of the coin hold merit for this weekend results. The numero uno movie we are talking of is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which declined close to 50% on its second weekend to gross a strong $36 million. That’s in fact the lowest second weekend fall amongst all the top grossing movies that have released this year. Domestic earnings of $139 million over ten days puts it in an easy race to move above the domestic earnings of the previous movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($177 million). But given the high production budget of $170 million for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, there is a lot riding on the foreign markets where it has earned $101 million so far but has many of the major territories left to open in. The extremely strong word-of-mouth is definitely going to play a big role in seeing Caesar and the apes achieve a few milestones in this franchise in a few weeks’ time!
Three new releases battled among each other only to see themselves being outrun by the apes. Yet second-placed The Purge: Anarchy, which is the sequel of last year’s surprise hit The Purge, would hardly be disappointed with its $28.4 million opening in North America. This is still lower than the opening of The Purge ($34.1 million), but it is still a strong way to begin things, considering that The Purge never had great reviews in the first place which would have not made its sequel a guaranteed success, and also it has been quite a dull year for horror flicks so far. The Purge: Anarchy has been made on a production budget of only $9 million, still three times the budget of the original flick, and its overall worldwide earnings by the end of its theatrical run should result in strong profits for the studio. Though a third film could be a risky one, given the dip in domestic revenues for the sequel, and the increasing budget. Maybe this would mark the end of the Purge!
Another sequel grabs the third spot on the box-office charts. Disney’s animated flick Planes: Fire & Rescue earned $18 million over the weekend which is slightly lower than the opening of last year’s Planes ($22 million). Planes itself was a low budget film from the standards of the animation industry, and was meant for a direct DVD release, before Disney took a gamble with a theatrical release which worked brilliantly. The movie made close to $220 million worldwide, about 60% of which came from foreign markets, on a production budget of $50 million. Now the sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue has been made on a similar budget, and Disney would feel triumphant if it crosses the $200 million mark worldwide again; even a slightly lower figure could get the studio to break-even. So not for the first time, the foreign markets will play an important role to decide the movie’s fate. We need to check on this one too after maybe a couple of weeks.
The final new release was the R-rated comedy Sex Tape starring Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz. Compared to the strong responses that R-rated comedies have received in recent times, this one has simply fizzled. Generally movies of this nature, unlike an animated Disney film, would have a skewed revenue chunk coming from the domestic market. So a $15 million opening for Sex Tape is hardly good for it to recover its production cost of $40 million and additional marketing costs. This one falls somewhere with the likes of Blended and A Million Ways to Die in the West, both of which tanked, rather than being compared with 22 Jump Street (which had opened with $57 million) or Neighbors ($49 million). It is quite possible that Sex Tape, in its entire theatrical run in North America, may not match up to the opening weekend earnings of the latter two! Some respite would be needed from abroad, with the studio hoping to bank on Cameron Diaz’s fame, though this one seems down and out already. Ahh, in the meantime, Transformers: Age of Extinction is at $886 million and counting…
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($36.0 million; second weekend)
2. The Purge: Anarchy ($28.4 million)
3. Planes: Fire & Rescue ($18.0 million)
4. Sex Tape ($15.0 million)
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction ($10.0 million; fourth weekend)