Forget inflation. Even in absolute terms, this Independence Day weekend has been the worst for Hollywood in a pretty long time. To get some perspective on this, note that the gross earnings of the top 12 movies over this weekend in the domestic market is estimated to be the lowest Independence Day weekend earnings since 1999! And that too despite three new wide releases. The summer of 2014 is going through a tough time indeed.
Even with the new releases, it was last week’s Transformers: Age of Extinction which kept top position in North America though it fell a sharp 64% over the previous weekend. The movie has earned close to $175 million in the domestic market so far, and is the weakest in the franchise on home turf. But it seems that this one was never made for the Americans. With the unmissable Chinese influences in the movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction is taking the Chinese market by storm. It has already earned $213 million there (much more than the American market!), and will surpass Avatar very soon (might already have!) to become the highest-grossing movie ever in China. Oh boy, isn’t Michael Bay smart or what!? Worldwide, Transformers: Age of Extinction has earned $575 million so far in its 10-day run, and let’s see how further it holds in the Chinese market. Do not be surprised if the next installment is entirely shot on the Great Wall of China!
Unlike the big-budget blockbusters, the modest ones like Tammy have to rely more on the home audience. So this latest Melissa McCarthy comedy picked up $21 million over the weekend, and $33 million on its five-day run, which seems a good start for a movie that needed only $20 million to be made in the first place. It is still poorer than recent McCarthy hits like Identity Thief and The Heat, and has earned quite poor reviews too (23% score on Rottentomatoes, though that is still higher than 17% for Transformers: Age of Extinction), so McCarthy needs to be careful of not burning herself out with too many similar roles.
If last year made us think that low-budget horror movies are the easiest route to great returns, then think again. The horror genre has been driving away its fans this year, as none of them, be it Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Devil’s Due, Oculus or The Quiet Ones, have really made the kind of splash seen before. The quality does seem lacking, as one more fails to galvanise the fans of the supernatural elements. This one titled Deliver Us From Evil in fact comes from Scott Derrickson who had created Sinister, and even stars Eric Bana. Yet it has managed only $9.5 million over the weekend, while its production budget of $20 million is slightly on the higher side for a horror movie. There seems to be a big gap here to be filled, as fans of the horror genre cannot be satisfied with anything else, and so maybe something with a bit more quality and spookiness is waiting round the corner. And to wrap it up, the final wide release Earth To Echo, which is of the “found footage” genre, hardly impressed anyone, and its $8 million weekend earnings in North America does not make it one of the top five movies of the weekend. Hopefully, better weekends lie ahead for Hollywood!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction ($36.4 million; second weekend)
2. Tammy ($21.2 million)
3. Deliver Us From Evil ($9.5 million)
4. 22 Jump Street ($9.4 million; fourth weekend)
5. How To Train Your Dragon 2 ($8.8 million; fourth weekend)