Women ruled the box office this weekend, a rarity during the summer months when action-driven tentpoles aimed at young men are what the season is supposed to be about. Coming in first is what will forever be known as Fox 2000’s cash machine: Produced for just $12 million, the teen tearjerker “The Fault In Our Stars” will open its eyes Monday morning to a first weekend take of $50 million-plus.
Deadline calls that “astronomical.” A $25 million opening would’ve been considered a big success.
Fan-driven phenoms like “The Fault in Our Stars,” can quickly flame out due to a front-loading frenzy where everyone who wants to see The Big Thing does so that first weekend. A solid “A” from CinemaScore, though, could mean the kind of repeat business that keeps that cash machine pumping for quite a while.
In second place is another film aimed at the ladies, Disney’s “Maleficent,” which dropped an okay 53% over its debut weekend to grab somewhere around $35 million in weekend two. After 10 days, Angelina Jolie’s spin on “Sleeping Beauty” will have hauled in $125 million and change.
Coming in third is Tom Cruise’s $170 million sci-fi war film, “Edge of Tomorrow.” Though it’s doing somewhat better overseas (where Cruise is still a megastar), a $28 to $30 million domestic debut is still a disappointment. This is well below Cruise’s “Oblivion,” which opened to $37 million last year but only went on to gross $87 million.
Opening so close to “Oblivion,” which is also a big-budget sci-fi action film, movie-goers might feel “Edge of Tomorrow” is a bit redundant. A title that sounds like a daytime soap opera probably isn’t helping.
In fourth place, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” dropped 51% in week three for a $7 million weekend and total take of $190 million. The well-reviewed comic epic will creep over $200 million, but $225 million is now out of reach. Overseas, the 7th X-Men entry is in much better shape and already the top worldwide grosser in the 14-year-old franchise.
A worldwide gross of $518 million means profitability is assured. The magic line to be in the black is somewhere around $550 million (rule of thumb is to double the production and promotion budgets).
Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West” is already dead in the water. In its second weekend, the R-rated comedy Western sits at only $30 million after a $7.5 million weekend.
“Godzilla” is unlikely to see $200 million. In 6th place after five weeks, the reboot will sit at $185 million. Box Office Mojo reports that when you adjust for inflation, the new “Godzilla” is almost certain to fall short of 1998’s much-hated “Godzilla.”
Next weekend will shake everything up. “22 Jump Street” is almost certain to put a stake in the heart of “A Million Ways to Die” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ could gross more than everything released so far. Early reviews for both are phenomenal.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC