Fri Box Office: 'Non-Stop' Earns $10M, 'Son Of God' Earns $9.4M

Mar 1 2014, 11:32am CST | by

Fri Box Office: 'Non-Stop' Earns $10M, 'Son Of God' Earns $9.4M
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

What seemed on the outset like a quiet weekend has turned into something of a whirlwind. We’ve got four new wide releases, two of which are basically recycled variations of an existing product, and one of which is an English-language dub of a Japanese animated film. Ironically enough, the one outright “new” movie this weekend topped the Friday box office, as Non-Stop earned $10 million. The Universal (a division of Comcast) release marks another notch in Liam Neeson’s action-hero belt, as the $50 million airplane-set thriller should earn over/under $30 million for the weekend. The picture once again proves that Liam Neeson is basically the last old-school action hero we have left, as the film’s success rests almost entirely on his shoulders.

The picture benefited from a fun and easy to explain premise (villain threatens to kill an airplane passenger every 20 minutes until he gets paid, Neeson protests, action ensues). While she has what amounted to a glorified cameo, Lupita Nyong’o helped the film earn plenty of free publicity, as the much-talked about 12 Years A Slave Oscar nominee has dominated media circles of late, with token mentions of this, her “next” film, in pretty much every article or interview.  I’m not saying she was a draw per-se, but general moviegoers who may have missed the trailer or TV spots were now likely to read about the film in an otherwise unrelated entertainment story and take notice. Every bit helps.

Anyway, the legs on this one may-well be short, although there is a chance it becomes a consensus pick in the coming weeks for those not interested in hard-R violence (300: Rise of an Empire) or kid-centric fare (Mr. Peabody and ShermanMuppets Most Wanted). With a budget of just $50 million, Non-Stop is of course the kind of movie where a $30 million debut is more-than good enough. It’s another solid win for Universal this year, scoring another moderately budgeted hit after Lone Survivor and Ride Along (which crossed $125 million today). In fact, with the delay of Fast & Furious 7, their entire 2014 slate seems to be made up of moderately budgeted programmers. Hmm… I think I’ll write about that next week.

The next new release basically amounts to a television re-run transformed into a theatrical release. 20th Century Fox distributed Son of God this weekend, which is basically a cut-down version of the very popular History Channel mini-series The Bible, with a few deleted scenes used to round out the narrative. The “story of Jesus” drama earned $9.4 million yesterday. $4.5 million of that came from advanced ticket sales going into the weekend, so front loading will depend on how many of those advanced sales went towards Friday versus Saturday/Sunday. The film was of course aggressively marketed to uber-religious moviegoers, the kind that might otherwise not go to the movies of a major new release on opening weekend.

It may sound nuts that around $28 million worth of audiences are heading to the theater to see a television re-run, but A) plenty of people didn’t see the mini-series and B) did you go to the theaters to see a 3D reissue of The Lion KingTitanicJurassic Park, etc. over the last few years?  The picture obviously didn’t get the loads of free publicity/controversy that courted Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ ten years ago this weekend, as whatever controversy is to be found in this arena is being reserved for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah which Paramount drops on March 28th. This film cost $22 million, so it’ll break even by the end of next weekend, with possibly huge foreign dividends as well. The lesson here is the same as something like Instructions Not Included: There is real money to be made targeted audiences who aren’t used to being targeted.

It took Aslan and Jesus to dethrone The LEGO Movie (which like many “the chosen one” stories has a touch of Jesus parable to it as well), but it will have to take comfort in crossing $200 million tomorrow or Sunday (it’s at $192 million today). The Warner Bros. (a division of Time Warner) blockbuster earned $4.4 million (-39%) and should end its fourth weekend with around $20 million for an over/under $205 million cume. Of note, Gravity was released on DVD/Blu Ray this week after being available on VOD for the last few weeks. It still dropped 0% this Friday, with $220,000 for yesterday and a $269.8 million domestic cume. Her may go home empty-handed (or it may win Best Original Screenplay), but last minute interest allowed the Spike Jonze sci-fi romance to jump 13% from last Friday, giving the picture $120,000 for yesterday and $24.2 million total. A Winter’s Tale lost 2,260 screens and dropped 88% from last Friday, earning $78,000 on 705 screens for a $12 million cume.

Walt Disney released an English-language dub of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises into 450 theaters this weekend. Walt Disney has been doing these semi-wide releases for the famed Japanese animation director for (at least) 15 years, as I have fond memories of seeing Princess Monokeke and Spirited Away in my local first-run Ohio Regal Cinemas. Since the films make a mint in Japan and elsewhere anyway, these domestic releases are almost an act of public service/charity. If The Wind Rises, which is a PG-13 film centered around World War II, might not be the kid-friendly magnet of something like Ponyo ($15 million domestic), there is still worth to releasing an animated film in America that isn’t explicitly intended for kids. As such, its $460,000 Friday gross (estimated $1.5 million for the weekend) counts as a moral triumph no matter how much or little it cost to dub and distribute.

In other “A for effort” releases, Paramount decided to unleash an alternate cut of Anchorman 2 into 1,317 screens this weekend. The version isn’t a traditional “unrated cut”, but an R-rated, 143 minute version of the comedy sequel that is allegedly made up of 95% new jokes taken from alternate takes and/or deleted scenes. This is the kind of “movies should be seen in a theater” move that I heartily applaud, even if inconvenient showtimes and weird theater scheduling prevented me from seeing it yesterday. As of this writing, it’s estimated to earn $1.4 million over the weekend.  But I’ll update when I know more and I still wanted to point out what an interesting gesture it was. In other unusual releases, Sony released Stalingrad on 308 3D IMAX screens, and the Russian WWII action film earned $147,000 last night.

In other holdover newsThree Days To Kill, already off a mediocre $12 million debut, buckled under the competition of Non-Stop and earned just $1.45 million, down 64% from last Friday. In specifically Sony holdover news,  Monuments Men earned $1.44 million yesterday and should flirt with $65 million by Sunday. About Last Night earned $1.04 million yesterday and should end the weekend with around $43 million, while Robocop should cross $50 million tomorrow after earning $1.14 million yesterday ($47 million thus far). Pompeii dropped a brutal 63% from last Friday and should end its second weekend with around $4 million for an over/under $18 million cume. In better Sony news, American Hustle started its Oscar weekend with $529,000 for a $145.29 million cume. In non-Sony news, Walt Disney’s Frozen should end the weekend with about $388 million domestic and may or may not cross $1 billion worldwide on Sunday to boot.

That’s it for today. Join us tomorrow for weekend estimates.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

US praises Cuba's contribution in fight against Ebola
New York, Nov 1 (IANS/EFE) US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, praised Cuba's contribution to the fight against Ebola in West Africa, and said that her country is very grateful.
 
 
UN warns of worsening food crisis in Somalia
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) A UN food agency Friday warned that poor rains in Somalia may worsen the country's food crisis, a spokesperson said.
 
 
Canada suspends issuance of visas to Ebola-hit African countries
Ottawa, Nov 1 (IANS) Canada has suspended issuance of visas to residents of West African countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease, a media report said Friday.
 
 
Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter returns home
Beijing, Nov 1 (IANS) China succeeded Saturday in the world's first mission to the Moon and back, becoming the third nation to do so after the former Soviet Union and the US.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

One dies as spacecraft explodes in US
San Francisco, Nov 1 (IANS/EFE) One person was killed and another badly injured when Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo exploded over southern California's Mojave Desert after takeoff on a test flight, the California...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
J.K. Rowling reveals details about story characters
London, Nov 1 (IANS/EFE) British author Joanne Kathleen Rowling, the author of the "Harry Potter" series, has revealed previously undisclosed background details of the saga's characters on her website, Pottermore,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ethiopia pull out of hosting Senior Challenge Cup
Nairobi, Nov 1 (IANS) The Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) announced that Ethiopia had pulled out as hosts of regional football showpiece, Senior Challenge Cup. Cecafa general secretary...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Benfica beat Rio Ave in Portuguese league
Lisbon, Nov 1 (IANS) Benfica beat Rio Ave 1-0 in the ninth round of the Portuguese football league at the Estadio da Luz here. Attacking midfielder Talisca scored the only goal of the match in the 60th minute Friday,...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Lions hoping Gayle can solve top order problems
Johannesburg, Nov 1 (IANS/CMC) Highveld Lions are hoping Chris Gayle's explosive batting at the top of the order can be the catalyst to their success in the upcoming Ram Slam Twenty20 League which bowls off here Sunday...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
BCCI demands multi-million dollar settlement from WICB
Bridgetown (Barbados), Nov 1 (IANS/CMC) The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will have to cough up nearly $42 million in order to stave off a lawsuit from the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI), stemming from...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Garth Brooks feels like 'arm candy'
Garth Brooks feels like Trisha Yearwood's ''arm candy.'' The country singer, who has been married to the 'Woman Before Me' hitmaker for 19 years, claims she is much more popular with their fans. The 52-year-old star,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kourtney Kardashian is so proud of Kendall Jenner
Kourtney Kardashian says Kendall Jenner is her ''favorite family member.'' The 35-year-old reality TV star, who is set to give birth to her third child with Scott Disick in December, is extremely proud of her 18-year-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
German Bundesliga standings
Berlin, Nov 1 (IANS) Following are the German Bundesliga standings after Friday's match (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points), according to Xinhua. Bayern Munich...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian appointed to UN peacekeeping panel
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Abhijit Guha, a retired Indian Army Lieutenant General, to a high-level panel to assess UN peace operations. Announcing the formation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla