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411 Box Office Report: TMNT: Out of the Shadows Hits #1, X-Men: Apocalypse Falls

June 5, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

As predicted, it was a one-and-done for the X-Men leading the box office this year. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows topped the receipts this weekend with a $35.3 million start. That’s higher than the $30 million or so that final industry estimates were pegging the film at, but is not anything for Paramount Pictures to be happy about. The number is just over half of the $65.6 million that the first film opened to in 2014 and below the $40 million that most were predicting before the week began.

Out of the Shadows seems to be a victim of two primary problems: the first film’s reputation and Paramount’s marketing choices. The first film ended up grossing a total of $191.2 million domestically but was hated by critics and not beloved by audiences, with a mediocre B CinemaScore (and a C+ from the target 25 – 34 demographic). That film seemed to largely get by on nostalgia for the property, which Paramount smartly wove into the marketing campaign but had worn off by the time Out of the Shadows came about. Paramount seemed to recognize this and tried to shift the film’s promotion efforts at kids, which didn’t pay off. The distribution was more even among age demographics this time around (55% over twenty-five for the first and 48% over for the second), but younger audiences generally have less buying power which helped result in the lower sales.

The film added $34 million overseas for a ho-hum $69.3 million worldwide start. At this point, what Paramount does have going for it is more positive reviews (although still not kind; 35% on Rotten Tomatoes) and much better word of mouth with an A- CinemaScore. It seems unlikely with more blockbusters on the way that this one will get even remotely close to the first film’s gross; $100 million will be the vicinity of its ceiling domestically which means it will have to rely on overseas grosses to make up the $135 production budget as well as the marketing costs.

While it wasn’t great news for the Turtles, it was worse news for the mutants as X-Men: Apocalypse plummeted in its second weekend. The film fell to #2 with $22.3 million, down 66% from its opening salvo. That drop is just under the 69% fall that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice took in its second frame. In all fairness to the mutant franchise, it held up better throughout the week than Dawn of Justice, but that was due in part to the Memorial Day grosses. It will definitely top the bad 2.0 to 2.1 multiple that the DC film is finishing with, but it won’t finish much higher than $140 million domestically. That will put it on par with X-Men: First Class, whose $160 million budget was a bit below the $178 million of Apocalypse. However, Apocalypse’s foreign grosses bring its worldwide cume to $402.5 million, which is well above the $353.6 million worldwide that First Class finished at. Bottom line: the film will be a profit but Fox is likely disappointed at this point.

Counter-programming worked well for Warner Bros., who saw the romantic drama Me Before You overperform at #3 with an $18.3 million start. Most were predicting a low- to mid-teens start for this one so the studio has to be happy with the results. The Emilia Clarke/Sam Clafin film registered strongly with female audiences and counter-balanced mixed reviews (56% on RT) with dynamite audience scores, hitting A or A- in just about every demographic for an overall A CinemaScore. It was a perfect case of programming an alternative to the big-budget blockbusters with a film that was based on a popular book.

The question now is how high the movie will reach. While romantic dramas usually have a moderately quick drop-off rate there are certainly exceptions when word of mouth is particularly good. In this case, without a ton of female-oriented films hitting the theaters a $50 million to $55 million final gross seems to be a safe bet. That will be a moderate profit for Warner Bros, who put $20 million into the production budget.

Like Fox, Disney saw a rough drop in its big blockbuster from last week. Unfortunately, it could tolerate the fall much less as Alice Through the Looking Glass fell 60% from its poor opening weekend to $10.7 million. That brings the film’s domestic total to a meager $50.8 million and its worldwide total to $176.3 million. At this point the film is looking like around $90 million to $95 million in the US which, even with foreign receipts, won’t be able to make up for the spendy $170 million budget.

The Angry Birds Movie was down two spots to #5 in its third weekend with $9.8 million, down 48% from last weekend. The animated flick is up to $86.7 million domestically and $283.5 million worldwide from a $73 million budget. It should be able to finish with around $115 million to $120 million in the US.

Captain America: Civil War slipped two rungs to #6 to bring in $7.6 million. The Marvel Cinematic Universe film now has $388.9 million domestically and $1.13 billion worldwide. It should finish off at around $410 million domestically. The budget was $250 million.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising landed at #7 in its third weekend with $4.7 million. The comedy sequel is up to $48.6 million domestically and $89.4 million worldwide from a $35 million budget. It will be profitable, but only moderately so and will close out its domestic run with around $60 million to $65 million.

Opening without much noise at #8 was Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping with $4.6 million. The comedy mockumentary from the Lonely Island trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone didn’t do much to register with audiences despite having the best reviews of the week (77% on RT). There were a few big problems with this film’s performance, but the biggest is that audience interest just wasn’t there. Mockumentaries are a tricky proposition as they tend to have a narrow focus and the pop music documentaries that it spoofs wore out their welcome a few years ago (the last big one being One Direction: This is Us in 2013). Universal limited their marketing exposure by relying on the Lonely Island’s strong social media influence, which will be good for the bottom line but likely hurt the film’s above-the-board success a bit. The film will likely finish at around $12 million to $15 million domestically which won’t make up for the $20 million budget.

The Jungle Book slipped three spots to #9 with $4.2 million in its eighth weekend. The live-action/CGI animated film is up to $347.5 million domestically and $895.1 million from a $175 million budget. It should finish off with over $360 million by the end of its run and could even pass Deadpool as the #2 film of the year so far.

The Nice Guys closed out the top ten with $3.5 million, down 46% from last weekend. The Shane Black-directed film now has a domestic total of $29.1 million; at this point it should be able to finish off with around $35 million to $40 million in the US and oversea grosses will have to make up the difference to cover the $50 million budget.

The total weekend take was $129.1 million, down 3% from last year’s $132.7 million take. Last year was led by Spy’s $29.1 million start and San Andreas’ $25.8 million second weekend.

Next weekend will see another new #1, as the Turtles give was for The Conjuring 2 which should be able to get as high as $35 million to $40 million. Competing for second place will be the long-awaited Warcraft movie and Now You See Me 2 in the mid-$20 million range.

Note: Numbers include Sunday estimates and are three-day estimates. A studio recoups 55% of a film’s grosses on average, meaning it needs to approximately double its budget to be profitable during its theatrical run.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Numbers)
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – $35.3 million ($35.3 million total)
2. X-Men: Apocalypse – $22.3 million ($116.5 million total)
3. Me Before You – $18.3 million ($18.3 million total)
4. Alice Through the Looking Glass – $10.7 million ($50.8 million total)
5. The Angry Birds Movie – $9.8 million ($86.7 million total)
6. Captain America: Civil War – $7.6 million ($388.9 million total)
7. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – $4.7 million ($48.6 million total)
8. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – $4.6 million ($4.6 million total)
9. The Jungle Book – $4.2 million ($347.5 million total)
10. The Nice Guys – $3.5 million ($29.1 million total)