Box Office: ‘Furious 7’ Fends Off Strong Debut from ‘Paul Blart 2’
For a third consecutive weekend, Furious 7 topped the weekend box office, fending off a strong debut from Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.
Furious 7 raked in $29.1 million to bring its domestic gross to $294.4 million. This comes after news that the film has become the fastest movie to ever reach $1 billion, thanks in large part to its jaw-dropping performance overseas. In particular, Furious 7 has earned a towering $250.5 million in China. Its incredible gross continues to make this the top earner of 2015, although Avengers: Age of Ultron looms in the distance. It’ll be interesting to see just what kind of legs Furious 7 has once the summer movie season kicks off proper. Still, I expect it to enjoy at least one more week at No. 1. Hell, they still have one more box office cycle before Ultron comes knocking.
The strong showing for Furious 7 kept it ahead of its new challengers this weekend, both of which impressed in their debuts.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 delivered a strong $24 million opening, coming just $6 million shy of matching its budget. Unfortunately, it also came well shy of matching the debut $39.2 million opening of the first film in the series, which was a major surprise hit back in 2009. But a film and premise like this was probably always going to suffer from diminishing returns, even if this had been a sequel people were actually demanding. Still, this isn’t a bad showing, necessarily, as the comedy basically matched industry expectations. It didn’t exceed them, but it didn’t underperform either. Paul Blart 2 was also just popular enough to keep ahead of its closest competitor and fellow new arrival.
Horror-thriller Unfriended landed at No. 3 with an outstanding $16 million debut. I say “outstanding” because Unfriended was made on a budget of just $1 million. So this one is looking like it’s going to turn a massive profit for Universal and Blumhouse, owing to the uncommon, video-chat visual style, and a slick marketing campaign that targeted social media. And it apparently worked, since close to 75% of the audience was under 25, with females accounting for 60 percent of ticket sales, a departure from expectations for the genre. Overall, it was a pretty good weekend for debuts. Disney’s latest nature documentary, Monkey Kingdom, opened to $4.7 million, taking the No. 7.
Of course, “a pretty good weekend for debuts” doesn’t mean a great weekend, necessarily. And nowhere was this more apparent than with the bombing of Lionsgate/Summit’s thriller, Child 44. Starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, the movie opened to a ghastly $600,000, which is bad enough without factoring in that this is a movie that cost $50 million to make. In essence, Hardy is going to need Mad Max: Fury Road to be a hit if he wants to maintain box office credibility, although, given that he’s an actor’s actor, I’d be surprised if he really even cared about being a huge box office earner. He seems driven more by good parts that let him flex his skills. Then again, will those parts come if he’s box office poison? Hell, this isn’t really even his fault. The marketing behind this film was borderline disastrous, to the extent that you’d be forgiven for never even hearing about Child 44 before right now. Produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ridley Scott, and directed by Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa, Child 44 is based on a fairly popular bestseller by Tom Rob Smith, hence the $50 million vote of confidence from Lionsgate/Summit. But, unfortunately, this was a miss. Ah well, can’t win’em all. (Buck up, Lionsgate! You still have Mockingjay – Part 2 later this year!)
How did the rest of the Top 10 do this weekend? Check out the numbers below for the Top 10 at the weekend box office below:
TOP 10 AT THE WEEKEND BOX OFFICE – 04/20/2015
1. Furious 7 ($29 million)
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 ($24 million)
3. Unfriended ($16 million)
4. Home ($10.3 million)
5. The Longest Ride ($6.8 million)
6. Get Hard ($4.8 million)
7. Monkey Kingdom ($4.7 million)
8. Woman In Gold ($4.5 million)
9. The Divergent Series: Insurgent ($4.1 million)
10. Cinderella ($3.8 million)