NORTH AMERICA: Studio Estimates: 'Lucy' Breaks Out with $44.0M; 'Hercules' Stronger than Expected with $29.0M

on July 26, 2014
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Sunday Update: Universal's Lucy exceeded expectations this weekend with a strong estimated first place start of $44.0 million. The modestly budgeted sci-fi action film starring Scarlett Johansson was no doubt helped out greatly by Johansson's rising drawing power on the heels of Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier this year. In addition to Johansson's presence, Lucy was also likely helped out by being a non-sequel in a summer full of sequels, by the relatively soft overall box office thus far in July and by moviegoers potentially rushing out to see the film before Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theatres this coming Friday. Lucy debuted 22 percent stronger than the $36.01 million debut of Salt back in July of 2010.

Lucy debuted with $17.1 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.75 million from evening shows on Thursday), decreased 12 percent on Saturday to take in $15.0 million and is estimated to fall 21 percent on Sunday to gross $11.9 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.57 to 1. The audience breakdown for Lucy was evenly split between genders and skewed towards moviegoers 25 years and older (65 percent). One potentially troubling sign for Lucy going forward is that the film received a disappointing C+ rating on CinemaScore. With that said, holding power won't be as important for the film going forward after such a strong opening weekend performance.

Hercules also exceeded expectations this weekend with a respectable estimated second place take of $29.0 million. The Dwayne Johnson led 3D action-adventure film from Paramount and MGM had been expected to open in the range of $20 million to $25 million. In addition to Johnson's presence, Hercules was likely also aided by serving as a PG-13 alternative to the R rated Lucy and by the mentioned relatively soft overall box office thus far in July. Hercules opened 13 percent below the $33.46 million start of 2012's Wrath of the Titans.

Hercules grossed $11.08 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.1 million from evening shows on Thursday), fell 8 percent on Saturday to take in $10.24 million and is estimated to fall 25 percent on Sunday to gross $7.68 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.62 to 1. The film received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore. But much like Lucy, Hercules could potentially experience a sharp decline next weekend when the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in the marketplace.

Hercules grossed an estimated $4.0 million from IMAX locations, which represented 13.8 percent of the film's overall gross this weekend.

With the stronger than expected debuts of Lucy and Hercules, Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes took a sharper than expected fall this weekend with an estimated third place take of $16.40 million. The critically acclaimed 3D sci-fi action sequel was down 55 percent from last weekend. Despite this weekend's hold, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continues to exceed expectations with a 17-day gross of $172.09 million. That places the film an impressive 29 percent ahead of the $133.58 million 17-day take of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which fell 42 percent in its third weekend to gross $16.12 million).

Universal's The Purge: Anarchy fell a sharp 67 percent in its second weekend to land in fourth with an estimated $9.9 million. On the positive side of things, the horror sequel held up better in its second weekend than last year's The Purge did when it declined a harsh 76 percent in its second weekend to gross $8.32 million. With a healthy ten-day take of $51.28 million, The Purge: Anarchy is now running just 1 percent behind the $51.96 million ten-day take of The Purge.

Planes: Fire and Rescue rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $9.3 million. The modestly budgeted computer animated sequel from Disney was down a significant 47 percent from last weekend. Planes: Fire and Rescue has grossed $35.12 million in ten days. That places the film 22.5 percent behind the $45.34 million ten-day take of last year's Planes (which fell 40 percent in its second weekend to gross $13.39 million).

And So It Goes debuted in eighth place with an estimated $4.55 million. The Clarius Entertainment release starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton opened in line with its modest pre-release expectations. The opening weekend figure for And So It Goes was in the same ballpark as the $3.75 million debut of Clarius' Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return back in May. And So It Goes took in $1.36 million on Friday, increased 39 percent on Saturday to take in $1.89 million and is estimated to decline 31 percent on Sunday to gross $1.30 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.34 to 1. And So It Goes received a B+ rating on CinemaScore.

On the limited front, Roadside's A Most Wanted Man debuted in tenth place with an estimated $2.72 million. The critically acclaimed thriller starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman earned a healthy per-location average of $7,527 from 361 locations for the frame.

Open Road's The Fluffy Movie was off to a lackluster start with an estimated $1.31 million from 432 locations. That gave the comedy concert film starring Gabriel Iglesias a modest per-location average of $3,042 for the frame.

Saturday Update: Universal reports that Lucy earned a strong $17.1 million on Friday, including Thursday night's $2.75 million early grosses. BoxOffice projects the film could net around $46 million for the weekend.

Making Lucy's debut even more impressive is the fact that its opening day handily topped that of 2010's Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, which took in $12.5 million on its way to a $36 million opening frame. There's no doubt that Scarlett Johansson's rising star power in the wake of her Marvel movie turns helped drive Lucy's success. Unfortunately, early word of mouth looks like a mixed bag with a 58 percent Flixster user score. Reviews are on the fresh/rotten bubble at Rotten Tomatoes as its score hovers at 60 percent this morning.

Meanwhile, Paramount's and MGM's Hercules bowed to $11.05 million on Friday for a projected weekend of $30 million. Star Dwayne Johnson is to thank for giving the film some needed moviegoer appeal, although the numbers are still modest in the grand scheme of things for a $100 million production budget (excluding marketing and distribution). Overseas performance will be the key in determining the film's theatrical profitability. Early word of mouth is also somewhat mixed at 69 percent on Flixster, while critics gave the film 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fox's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes added $4.7 million yesterday, off 55 percent from last Friday in the face of new competition, and should bring in around $16.5 million for its third frame. With $160.4 million in the domestic bank so far, the sequel is currently running 31 percent ahead of its 2011 predecessor at the same point in release.

Rob Reiner's And So It Goes posted $1.36 million on opening day from 1,762 locations. BoxOffice projects a $4 million weekend.

On the limited release front, popular comedian Gabriel Iglesias sent The Fluffy Movie to a $0.513 million opening day and a likely opening weekend around $1.275 million.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official studio weekend estimates.

Friday Update #2: Sources report that Lucy is performing along optimistic expectations and could earn around $13 million for Friday (including last night's preview grosses). If that number holds, the flick should earn upward of $35-37 million for the weekend.

Meanwhile, Hercules is pacing for an opening day around $10 million (also including preview grosses). From there, the pic could hit $25 million for the weekend.

More updates as they come.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that Luc Besson's Scarlett Johansson vehicle Lucy nabbed a healthy $2.75 million from 8pm shows last night. Comparisons are scant for R-rated summer actioners with female leads, although Angelina Jolie's PG-13 rated Salt took in $0.55 million from midnight shows on the same weekend four years ago (ultimately bowing to $36 million over the three days). Edge of Tomorrow took in $1.8 million as part of a $28.8 million weekend earlier last month.

Meanwhile, Dwayne Johnson and director Brett Ratner sent Hercules to a $2.1 million start from 7pm shows. Reports indicate the film was heavily booked in 3D, which could skew it's Thursday-to-Friday ratio somewhat.

More to come...

Tags: Hercules, Lucy, north-america
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