It was a cinematic David Vs. Goliath this weekend as the Fox low-budget young adult drama The Fault in Our Stars had a fantastic debut this weekend at the North American box office and made mincemeat out of the mega-budget Tom Cruise Sci-Fi epic Edge of Tomorrow. The teen weepie earned nearly $20 million more than Cruise’s well-received action flick, which had to settle for a third place finish behind last week’s champ Maleficent.
Produced for a mere $12 million, The Fault in Our Stars opened to a tremendous $48.2 million in its first three days on 3,171 screens. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Fault tells the tale of two teens (Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) who meet in a cancer support group and fall in love. Reviews from the nation’s critics were solid for the adaptation of the best-selling novel from John Green (82% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes). The film also stars Laura Dern and Willem Dafoe which, at long last, is the Wild At Heart reunion we’ve all been waiting for.
Fault’s weekend gross was heavily front-loaded. Thursday night’s $8.2 million haul was nearly as much as the Thursday night openers of recent event pics Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In addition to the sold-out advance screenings that started at 9pm, big sales came from $25 tickets for the multi-city simulcast event The Night Before Our Stars. For that amount, fans saw a screening of the movie and a Q&A session with the cast, director and author Green, and received a poster and commemorative charm bracelet.
The Thursday night total was part of the mammoth $26 million total reported by Fox for Friday, approximately 54% of its weekend haul. With demand met upfront, Saturday was expected to earn less but the 52% drop to $12.6 million was still a concerning one. Sunday leveled off a bit to an estimated $9.5 million, which represented a 25% decline. As if the domestic bow of The Fault in Our Stars didn’t pay for the production four times over, the $17 million generated from a limited amount of foreign markets covered it as well.
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Disney’s Maleficent got its wings clipped in its second weekend as the Angelina Jolie fantasy dropped 53% to an estimated $33.5 million from 3,951 theaters to bring its ten-day total to a great $127.4 million. The $175 million variation on Sleeping Beauty should wind down its North American run near the $190 million mark. The film continued its tear overseas this weekend where it has earned a massive $208 million thus far.
Tom Cruise can’t seem to catch a break these days at the box office. His last two films, Jack Reacher and Oblivion, did mild box office business stateside but fared a bit better overseas. The same will most likely be said for his latest film, the Sci-Fi epic Edge of Tomorrow. Despite the best efforts of stars Cruise and Emily Blunt to promote the movie, the most it could muster was an estimated $29.1 million for a third place debut on 3,490 screens. 3D tickets accounted for 47% of the weekend total with IMAX screens chipping in a large $4.2 million. The opening for Edge of Tomorrow was in line with last year’s Sci-Fi box office disappointments Elysium and After Earth, although critics enjoyed this film far more than either of those features.
Directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and co-starring Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson, Tomorrow earned great reviews from critics (89% approval on Rotten Tomatoes) but found itself up facing three sizable obstacles: The Fault In Our Stars, a lousy ad campaign courtesy of the film’s distributor Warner Brothers and an overabundance of big-ticket action movies over the past six weeks. The fact that the public appears to be wary of Cruise most likely didn’t help matters much either.
Still, should the word-of-mouth be as strong as the critical notices have been, there is a possibility that the film may be able to generate some decent money over the next few weeks. 67% of the opening weekend crowd for Edge of Tomorrow was comprised of adult males over the age of 25. As we all know, adults tend not to rush out to movies on their opening weekend so business may not be as front-loaded as other films have been. Direct competition for Tom and Emily is on the light side until Marky Mark shows up with Optimus Prime on June 29th.
Warner Brothers appears to be having better luck overseas where Cruise is still a big star. In ten days of release Edge of Tomorrow has bagged a big $111 million.
Continuing its quick fade is Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past with $14.6 million from 3,639 theaters in its third weekend, good enough for a fourth-place finish. Its domestic total stands at $189.1 million and should finish near the $210 million mark. Overseas, the film has earned a franchise-best $420 million of which $83 million has come from China. The half billion mark should be reached in the next week or so.
Rounding out the top five was the Seth MacFarlane dud A Million Ways to Die in the West with $7.2 million from 3,160 screens. The film has earned $30.1 million to date and should limp its way to about $42 million, roughly $12 million less than Ted did in its first three days two years ago. Foreign totals stand at $20 million.
Rounding out the top ten are the following:
6. Godzilla (2014-Warner Brothers) $5.9 million (-50%) $185 million
7. Neighbors (2014-Universal) $5.2 mill (-36%); $137.8 million
8. Blended (Warner Brothers) $4 million (-50%); $36.5 million
9. Chef (Open Road Films) $2.6 million (+36%); $10.3 million
10. Million Dollar Arm (Disney) $1.8 million (-49%); $31.3 million
Next weekend sees the arrival of the sequels 22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2. Both should see big openings with Dragon 2 taking the top spot from The Fault in Our Stars.