The big summer blockbuster heading to theaters this weekend ended up washing out, leaving room for number one to go to a quirky director who hasn't had a movie in the top spot in almost twenty years.
Friday was a bumper day for horror flick The Purge: Anarchy and for a moment it looked like it might be number one this weekend. But audiences for the movie got it out of their system opening night and the rest of the weekend went to last week's number one Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
If there was to be a proportionate increase in ticket sales for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes based on how much better it was than is predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it would have easily done twice as well. As it was, Dawn did better, but not by so wide a margin. With a $73 million debut it was well above the $54 million opening of Rise and an easy number one for the weekend.
Three new movies hit theaters for the Fourth of July holiday, but none of them unseated last weekend's number one.
There was only one new entry into the summer fray this weekend, and without much surprise Transformers: Age of Extinction was not only panned by critics, it was number one. Estimates have the movie standing at exactly $100 million, a dubious number that probably means that Paramount's probably hoping for the best, but when the actual numbers roll in it probably won't quite be that high. Just the same it's the highest opening of the year so far in a year where opening weekends for blockbuster movies aren't as impressive as they've been in the recent past.
Summer sequels took the top three spots this weekend, with newcomer Think Like A Man Too banking number one with $30 million. That's down slightly from the opening weekend of its predecessor which earned a $33 million debut two years ago.
Two sequels to two popular movies went head to head this weekend. One was after the rated-R crowd, the other after the family friendly folks, but there was still one that was expected to come out on top. It didn't.
Ask folks on the street which movie they think would do better on opening weekend, an action flick starring Tom Cruise or an adaptation of a young adult drama novel, most people would probably put their money on Cruise. This weekend proved yet again that these days the second most powerful box office demographic behind comic book fans are teenage girls.
Maleficent may have taken one of Disney's most wicked and terrifying villains and turned her into a limp shadow of her former self, but the film's sparkling marketing and Angelina Jolie's ability to look beautifully creepy in horns and cheek-bone defining facial appliances led the movie to a $70 million number one this weekend.
The four day Memorial Day holiday weekend saw the latest entry to the X-Men franchise dominate the box office. But it was also a great example of how franchises are struggling to keep up with themselves, both in money made and tickets sold.
Godzilla made a monster-sized return to the big screen this weekend, banking over $93 million for a number one opening. That start dwarfs the last major Godzilla flick, Roland Emmerich's version which opened at $37 million back in 1998. Even taking into consideration ticket price hikes and 3D sales, it's a step up for the long running giant radioactive beast franchise. It's almost as much as the $101 million that Guillermo del Toro's monster sci-fi action offering Pacific Rim earned during its entire domestic run.
Neighbors debuted at a solid number one with $51 million, making it the third largest ever opening for a rated-R comedy (Sex and the City is the highest, opening with $57 million in 2008, and Ted which opened at $54 million in 2012). That's the highest ever live-action opening for Rogen (his previous best was Green Hornet, $33 million in 2011). The same goes for Efron who has struggled to find the box office limelight post High School Musical 3.
May traditionally marks the start of the summer blockbuster season. This weekend The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swung into theaters to kick things off, but depending on how you look at it, the first sequel in the rebooted franchise either got things started with a bang or a pop.
After three weeks at number one Captain America: The Winter Soldier was finally bumped to second place. Newcomer The Other Woman banked $24 million to take the number one spot.
Captain America continued his heroic run this weekend. The Winter Soldier held on to number one for a third weekend in a row, adding $26 million to its domestic total and pushing past the $200 million mark. Rio 2 also held strong, continuing in second place with $22 million, just edging out the new competition.