Last weekend itself, we faced one of the slowest weekends of the year in Hollywood. It looked all gloomy then. A week later, things are bright and sparkly again. And no wonder, Disney is involved. The studio has developed a Midas touch, and that magic is not restricted to the Marvel universe or Pixar films alone. Not only Disney’s animation movies are blooming, but the live action ones are churning great profits too. Last year it was Maleficent, and this year, we have Cinderella. The retelling of the classic fairy tale has found many interested viewers, as the movie opened with $70 million on the weekend in North America. That makes it the second biggest domestic opening of the year after Fifty Shades of Grey ($85 million). If you draw comparison with some of the similar themed movies, you will find Cinderella to be comfortably placed amongst the lot – at par with Maleficent ($69 million) and a bit lower than Oz the Great and Powerful ($79 million), but well above Snow White and the Huntsman ($59 million). Cinderella though outdoes its competition because of its much lower production budget of $95 million only, while the others were made on budgets of $170 million and more. To earn 0.74 time of the budget in the opening weekend is quite spectacular, and given that the movie has earned strong reviews and has a global appeal, the profits that will accrue to Disney will be huge. This is also director Kenneth Branagh’s biggest ever domestic opening, even above 2011’s Thor. Cinderella has earned $132 million worldwide so far, and we could be looking at $500 million being breached before its theatrical run ends. Aren’t fairy tales truly magical!?
Challenging the fairy tale, was an action thriller, Run All Night starring Liam Neeson. Eh, action movie, Liam Neeson, again? You are bound to ask yourself that question at some point. No doubt that Neeson is a fantastic actor, and no question that his booming voice and his charismatic personality are worth paying a ticket price for. But everything has its limits. Liam Neeson in the action genre might just have reached his. Run All Night opened with only $11 million in North America, which is the weakest opening for a Liam Neeson action flick in the post Taken movie world. It is in fact even lesser than last year’s disappointing A Walk Among the Tombstones. This is the third collaboration of director Jaume Collet-Serra with Liam Neeson, after Unknown and Non-Stop, though the first one to fail. To release this film within two months of Taken 3 was a really bad idea, for it is quite likely that anyone interested in seeing Neeson draw out guns would prefer the franchise flick (which was releasing earlier too) than this unknown movie. Taken 3 is of course quite a hit, Run All Night is definitely not. With a budget of $50 million, this movie might not even reach $100 million in worldwide collections, and it could seriously make Liam Neeson reconsider his movie choices from now on.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is keeping a remarkable hold each weekend; it has crossed $100 million domestically and made $277 million across the globe so far. Will Smith’s Focus has grossed more than $100 million worldwide till now, and if it can manage another $50 million, then it wouldn’t be a bad business after all, though nothing spectacular of course. Last week’s Chappie has dropped sharply by 56% in its second weekend; the movie’s domestic earnings are weak, and only a strong boost in foreign markets can help, though so far its worldwide collections are only about $57 million.
And finally, just a little note on Disney’s animated Oscar winning flick Big Hero 6 of last year. The movie had been released in foreign markets in a very gradual manner, and so I kind of lost track of its earnings. But this weekend, it has become the biggest animated film of 2014 with $633 million (and counting), leaving behind DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train your Dragon 2 ($619 million). Disney studio is really on a roll!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office:
1. Cinderella ($70.1 million)
2. Run All Night ($11.0 million)
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service ($6.2 million; fifth weekend)
4. Focus ($5.8 million; third weekend)
5. Chappie ($5.8 million; second weekend)