Sunday, September 21, 2014

'The Maze Runner' impresses in first with $32.5 million, 'A Walk Among The Tombstones' disappoints in second at weekend box office

After several quiet weekends at the box office, Hollywood debuted four new films this weekend. The big new release was Fox's YA adaptation The Maze Runner, which performed very well with $32.5 million. That number was strong enough for Fox to immediately approve a sequel, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, which will hit theaters on September 18, 2015. The film received an "A-" Cinemascore from audiences, meaning that word of mouth will keep the film going for the next few weeks. The Maze Runner has also already pulled in $49 million overseas for a worldwide total of $81.5 million. Not bad for a film that only cost $34 million. All in all, this is a great success story for Fox and continues their box office hot streak.

The Liam Neeson thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones finished in second place with $13.1 million. The dark detective picture fell short of modest expectations, which pegged the film for a debut in the high teens. Some have suggested that the film's disappointment came from just too much Liam Neeson. I blame it on the bleak, disturbing content and the R rating. The film looked good, but reviews pegged it as a downbeat pic. The "B-" Cinemascore also indicates that audiences weren't all that enamored with the film. But in all honesty, this film will end up doing just fine. It cost only $28 million and Neeson already has a certified box office hit coming in the form of Taken 3 in January. There won't be a franchise of Matt Scudder detective adaptations, but everything will be fine for all parties involved.

This is Where I Leave You, the light family dramedy with a spectacular ensemble cast, finished in third place this weekend with $11.8 million. The film was tracking poorly from the start and pretty much debuted in line with expectations. Although the film cost only $19.8 million, this is a bit of a letdown. The film has a spectacular cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver and Rose Byrne, but simply could not translate that to box office success. Audiences enjoyed it ("B+" Cinemascore), but the film's tepid Rotten Tomatoes score (43%) didn't help matters at all. However, with the film's relatively low budget, Warner Bros. can pretty much just leave this one behind them.

No Good Deed plummeted 58% to fourth place this weekend and snagged $10.2 million. The surprise low-budget hit has now grossed $40.1 million, which is impressive considering its $13.2 million budget. The film will probably go on to make $55 million. Warner Bros.' Dolphin Tale 2 was close behind in fifth place with $9 million. The family drama has now pulled in $27 million and will struggle to make a profit considering its surprisingly high $36 million budget with additional marketing costs thrown in as well. Write this one off as a sequel that nobody truly wanted.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy stayed strong in sixth place, grossing $5.1 million. The highest grossing film of the year has now made $313.6 million and will likely close with $325 million. Guardians' worldwide total now stands at $632.2 million, which is higher than both the original Iron Man and Iron Man 2. It might even pass Man of Steel by the end of its worldwide run. Very impressive.

In seventh place was Fox's Let's Be Cops, which took in $2.6 million. The comedy surprise hit has now made $77.1 million and will probably tap out with $80 million in the bank. Very good considering the film cost a mere $17 million. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was close behind with $2.6 million in eighth place. The big-budget action flick's total now stands at $185 million.

Despite adding 383 theaters, The Drop plummeted 50% this weekend and took in only $2 million. The crime drama has now made $7.6 million. And finally, If I Stay rounded out the top ten with $1.8 million. The tear-jerker has now grossed $47.6 million.

In the limited release world, Tusk disappointed with $886,000 in over 600 theaters. That adds up to a weak per-theater average of $1,472. It's safe to say that this one will fade rather quickly. With poor reviews and a disturbing plot, odds are that Tusk will be out of theaters in a few weeks.

Next weekend will see the release of The Equalizer and The Boxtrolls. Here are my early predictions:

1. The Equalizer- $43.5 million
2. The Boxtrolls- $16 million
3. The Maze Runner- $15.8 million
4. A Walk Among The Tombstones- $6.5 million
5. This is Where I Leave You- $5.9 million
6. No Good Deed- $5 million
7. Dolphin Tale 2- $4.9 million
8. Guardians of the Galaxy- $3.8 million
9. Let's Be Cops- $1.4 million
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- $1.3 million

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