New releases fail to impress, ‘Fifty Shades’ plummets

It was Oscar night this weekend, where the best of 2014 were honoured. But at the box-office, business as usual continued. Three new releases hit the theatres, each opening in as many as 2,500 to 3,000 theatres. And yet none of them could manage to enter the top three positions at the box-office in North America. Bad timing, or bad movies? McFarland, USA led the newcomers’ pack with $11 million opening weekend earnings. This sports biopic starring Kevin Costner has not been able to grab much attention with the audience despite earning strong reviews with the critics. Don’t we love Kevin Costner anymore? Costner has been prolific lately in his work as an actor, but nothing has clicked for him yet. He has had five releases since January 2014, out of which he was the main man in four movies, but none of these movies has had a good outing at the box-office with the average opening weekend collection being even lower than $11 million. Only positive point to make is that McFarland, USA did somewhat better than last year’s sports movie Draft Day (with Kevin Costner in it) though that is hardly any consolation. McFarland, USA has been made on a modest production budget of $17 million, but the studio is going to find it difficult to recover even this amount, at least it won’t do that from the domestic market alone.

Earnings_McFarland USA

Just a little bit behind McFarland, USA is the teen comedy The Duff starring Mae Whitman. This ain’t no Mean Girls, but the movie has nonetheless earned some good reviews. The excitement amongst the audience though has been tepid with the movie managing only $10.8 million on the opening weekend. The marketing of the movie seems to have fallen flat, not able to capitalize on and reach out to the younger crowd. The movie has been made on a low production budget of $8.5 million, and so the studio might just about recover the investment. A far terrible result awaited for the third release of the weekend, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 which managed close to only $6 million on its opening weekend. A delayed sequel of a movie, which in itself had not been any kind of sensation, had its fate sealed long before its release. No John Cusack too. Wise man. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 has received quite bad reviews, and so one can expect massive drops in the coming weekends, which would mean the $14 million production budget on this would be really difficult to recover. The movie might just do better on video, though that is the place where it should have been released to begin with.

Earnings_The Duff

As the new releases fizzled, Fifty Shades of Grey remained on the top of the domestic box-office charts for the second weekend, despite a massive 74% dip. That’s a huge fall by any standards, and in fact, it is the second biggest fall on the second weekend for a movie which has released in more than 3,000 theatres. The audience was always going to be front-loaded, but no one would have expected the dip to be so massive in the coming weeks. This does not change the verdict on the film though, it is a huge hit, having earned $409 million worldwide so far as against its production budget of $40 million. The announcement of a sequel should be coming soon. The other release from last weekend, Kingsman: The Secret Service, had a 49% dip in its second weekend, and is doing quite well both domestically and globally. It has earned $154 million worldwide so far with many weeks still to go.

The year has been a strange one till now, with some big hits already recorded, along with a few big flops and numerous low budget movies doing modest business. With a lot of big-named movies to release soon, it is bound to get more exciting!

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

1. Fifty Shades of Grey ($22.2 million; second weekend)

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service ($18.3 million; second weekend)

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ($16.6 million; third weekend)

4. McFarland, USA ($11.0 million)

5. The Duff ($10.8 million)


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