It was one of the most crowded period for movie releases seen in recent weeks in North America. Three movies released in more than 2,500 theatres each, a fourth one came out in some 800-odd theatres, and there were already two strong performing movies from last weekend to also consider. If that is not crowded, then I don’t know what is! Inspite of all the new movies to watch, the audience still cannot get enough of Gone Girl which has dropped only 29% in its second weekend. This time last year it was Gravity creating all the waves at the box-office with only a 22% fall in its second weekend, and now Gone Girl is the one with the twin victory of commercial and critical success. The movie has collected $140 million worldwide so far, and considering the success it is seeing in foreign markets too, it could very well be the biggest David Fincher movie yet. That would require eclipsing the $334 million earnings of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which there is still some time to go. Even if it comes anywhere close, Gone Girl would be a much bigger success in terms of returns it would provide to the studio considering its $61 million budget as compared to that of $150 million for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 21st Century Fox has been having a fantastic year already so far, and with Gone Girl it has struck gold once again!
Luke Evans’ starrer Dracula Untold is the first of many new movies chasing Gone Girl. Its $23.5 million weekend opening is a solid start and also is significantly higher in terms of per theatre earnings as compared to the other two wide releases. A good reason why this opening should also be seen positively is because despite having the initial look and feel of this year’s I, Frankenstein which had a similar production budget too, Dracula Untold has done incredibly better with an opening which is higher than the entire domestic theatrical earnings of $19 million of I, Frankenstein (may the Lord have pity on those who watched that movie!). Nonetheless, Dracula Untold has a hefty production budget of $70 million to recover. The domestic box-office collections alone will not help the studios recover their money, and so a strong acceptance in foreign markets is required. This action/horror flick seems to have begun well abroad with $62.6 million collected from foreign markets so far. That brings the worldwide figure to a hefty $86 million for now. Anything north of $200 million (worldwide) is what the studios would be aiming for here, and seems like Dracula Untold is on its way to reach that mark.
Following the horror flick is the comedy adventure with the incredibly long name, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. A $19.1 million for this Disney comedy flick is a bright opening on an otherwise crowded weekend. And given the $28 million production budget of the movie, the studio should be making a decent return here. The opening is in fact on par with that of Crazy, Stupid, Love that also had Steve Carell in the central role, but had been made on a bigger budget of $50 million. If Alexander too earns north of $75 million domestically than the foreign earnings could be a wonderful bonus for Disney. The disappointment of the box-office though came in the form of The Judge, a $50 million R-rated drama movie, which would have banked on the star potential of Robert Downey, Jr. sans his suit. The movie opened with a timid $13.3 million which is a shame as the movie seemed to have a lot of potential to attract the audience. Seems like the presence of another R-rated film in the form of Gone Girl has killed any chances of The Judge making any sort of impact at the box-office. Eh, if only Robert Downey Jr. had talked lesser about Iron Man 4 during his promotional tours!
In all this din, Annabelle took a 56% tumble to move to fourth place at the domestic box-office charts. That is not as terrific as the 47% decline of The Conjuring, but is still quite a strong hold for a horror movie. Annabelle has earned $122 million worldwide so far, is already a massive hit, and can only keep getting bigger and bigger as its theatrical run continues. The low-key Addicted released in 846 theatres over the weekend and had quite solid earnings of $7.6 million, which translates to a better average per theatre as compared to Dracula Untold. I am not certain about the movie’s budget, but somewhere it is quoted at $6 million, which makes this opening all the more impressive. While the few reviews of the movie have been largely terrible, it will still see a wider release in the coming weekend and could have a decent enough run for the studios to earn some returns on their investment. There is another crowded weekend though round the corner. Stay tuned…
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Gone Girl ($26.8 million; second weekend)
2. Dracula Untold ($23.5 million)
3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day ($19.1 million)
4. Annabelle ($16.4 million; second weekend)
5. The Judge ($13.3 million)