This Weekend @ The BoxOffice: 2014_Jun.15

Hand of Evil

Surprise at the box office this weekend...

Weekend Report: 'Jump Street' Sequel Scores, 'Dragon' Disappoints
by Ray Subers --- June 15, 2014

As expected, highly-anticipated sequels 22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2 took the top two spots at the box office this weekend. It came as quite the surprise, though, that the R-rated comedy easily took first place ahead of the DreamWorks Animation movie.

Playing at 3,306 locations, 22 Jump Street opened to a fantastic $60 million this weekend. That's the second-biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy behind The Hangover Part II, and ahead of hits like Neighbors and Ted. It's also up a whopping 65 percent from 21 Jump Street's $36 million debut in March 2012.

22 Jump Street's strong start is likely due to a combination of goodwill from the first movie and a strong marketing campaign this time around. 21 Jump Street came out just over two years ago—the ideal wait time between a movie and its sequel—and had a strong run thanks in part to good word-of-mouth. That movie promised that stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum would be heading to college next, and marketing for the latest entry suggested it was going to deliver on that promise. It also helped that the movie received a strong promotional push from Hill and Tatum, who have each seen their stars rise in recent years.

22 Jump Street's audience skewed younger (56 percent under the age of 25) and was split evenly between men and women. As usual with younger-skewing movies, 22 Jump Street was very front-loaded through the weekend: around 42 percent of its earnings came on Friday.

Even still, the movie's solid reviews (83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and word-of-mouth ("A-" CinemaScore) suggest it will hold up decently in the coming weeks. Ultimately, 22 Jump Street will earn over $150 million without breaking a sweat, and could even come close to $200 million.

This is the fourth movie so far from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. All four movies opened in first place with over $30 million. The first three closed with over $120 million, and this is guaranteed to join that club as well. Even more impressive is that 22 Jump Street is the second $60 million opener of the year for Lord/Miller after February's The LEGO Movie.

In second place, DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon 2 opened to an estimated $50 million. That's an improvement over the first movie's $43.7 million, though it's far from the type of gain expected given the fact that the first Dragon is only of the most beloved animated movies of the past decade. It's also the first June animated release to fall short of $60 million since Ratatouille opened to $47 million back in 2007.

There are likely a few reasons behind Dragon's lackluster debut. First, the movie's marketing positioned it as a dramatic action/adventure, while only hinting at the movie's humor. Historically, the most successful animated movies put laughs first and story second. This calls to mind action-heavy DreamWorks Animation sequel Kung Fu Panda 2, which was unable to leverage goodwill from the first movie in to any kind of sequel bump (it ultimately earned much less than its predecessor).

Another factor is the four-year gap between movies. While audiences loved the first movie at the time, the excitement has surely died down a bit during the long wait. The brand did stay active during that time thanks to the DreamWorks' Dragons show, though that also may have reduced the must-see factor for the big-screen follow-up (if you're seeing these characters for free on TV, is the movie worth the ticket price?).

Dragon's audience was 53 percent female and 56 percent under the age of 25. They awarded it a strong "A" CinemaScore. The movie faces very little competition for the remainder of Summer, and will certainly hold up well in the long run. It's unlikely, though, that it comes anywhere close to matching its predecessor's $218 million.

In third place, Maleficent eased 45 percent to an estimated $19 million this weekend. On Saturday, it eclipsed Snow White and the Huntsman's total, and has now earned $163.5 million.

Thanks to strong word-of-mouth, Edge of Tomorrow dipped a light 44 percent to $16.2 million this weekend. In comparison, Tom Cruise's Oblivion fell 52 percent in its second weekend. Edge has now earned $56.6 million, and could ultimately come close to $100 million.

After taking first place last weekend, young-adult adaptation The Fault in our Stars wound up in fifth place this weekend with $15.7 million. While a steep drop was expected, the movie's 67 percent decline is still a bit surprising. Through 10 days, Fault has earned $81.7 million.

X-Men: Days of Future Past eased 37 percent to $9.5 million this weekend. On Friday, it passed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to become the highest-grossing movie of Summer 2014. On Saturday, it crossed the $200 million mark, which makes it the first 20th Century Fox movie to get there since Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel in January 2010. So far, the seventh X-Men movie has earned $205.9 million.

Around-the-World Roundup

With the World Cup kicking off this weekend, the overseas box office was a bit slower than usual.

The big story is Godzilla's mammoth $36 million debut in China. That's the biggest three-day opening ever there for Warner Bros. Overall, Godzilla has now earned $248.3 million overseas, and still has Japan on the way in late July.

Edge of Tomorrow added $37.4 million this weekend, which brings its total to a solid $181 million. Its biggest market was once again China, where it took in $9.3 million ($49.7 million total). It reaches its final market, Japan, on July 4th.

Maleficent wasn't far behind with $37.2 million. Overall, the Disney fantasy has grossed $272.9 million total, and is set to expand in to China next weekend.

Coinciding with its domestic debut, How to Train Your Dragon 2 opened in a handful of international markets this weekend. Including some minor debuts last weekend, the movie has earned $26.1 million so far. It had a huge $12.8 million debut in Russia, and had the biggest animated opening ever in Malaysia ($2.3 million) and Singapore ($1.7 million). It also had the second-biggest animated opening in the Philippines ($1.9 million) and India ($1.2 million). Next weekend, it expands to 28 additional markets including Australia, Brazil and Mexico, and should ultimately have no trouble out-grossing its predecessor ($277 million).

The Fault in our Stars added $16.3 million this weekend, which brings its total to $38.8 million. It opened in first place in Germany with a solid $1.9 million.

X-Men: Days of Future Past has now earned $456 million overseas. That's more than April's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.


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