“The Maze Runner” ran away with the top spot this weekend, with one of the biggest September debuts ever. And thanks to strong international business, Hollywood may finally have a new young-adult franchise on its hands.
Playing at 3,604 theaters, “The Maze Runner” opened to an estimated $32.5 million this weekend. Okay, so that’s well below the Hunger Game movies and “Divergent,” but it is higher than 2010’s “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” ($31.2 million) and last year’s “Ender’s Game” ($27 million).
Plus, “The Maze Runner” cost roughly $34 million to produce, while Percy Jackson and Ender each had budgets of $95 million and $110 million respectively.
Unlike most YA adapted movies, opening weekend attendance skewed more male (49 percent). That’s almost unheard of for the genre. Maze Runner’s audience also skewed much younger (64 percent below 25 years of age). Moviegoers awarded the film a solid “A-” CinemaScore, which suggests word-of-mouth should be good. How the movie holds up next week, is another question, as these movies tend to have a huge drop.
Regardless, 20th Century Fox is very happy to have another film with “franchise” written all over it. The studio already announced “The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” will hit theatres September 18th, 2015.
Liam Neeson’s “A Walk Among the Tombstones” took second place with $13.1 million. That’s over 50 percent lower than the $28.9 million debut “Non-Stop” had in February. But keep in mind that “Non-Stop” was rated PG-13, while “A Walk Among the Tombstones” is a grim R-rated crime drama. This had to play a role in the film’s debut.
The audience was split evenly between men and women (51 percent), and skewed much older (77 percent over the age of 25. Those who saw the film awarded it a “B-” CinemaScore suggesting mixed word-of-mouth.
In the next couple of weeks things will get tougher for “A Walk Among the Tombstones” as it faces direct competition from “The Equalizer” and “Gone Girl.” Tombstones will likely finish its domestic run with around $45 million. How much longer until “Taken 3” comes out?
In third place, “This is Where I Leave You” opened to an estimated $11.9 million. Not a horrible debut, but not a great one either. Marketing sold the movie mainly on its cast—which included Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda and more, but clearly that wasn’t enough. Add in poor reviews (43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and this movie was done.
The movie’s audience was 63 percent female and 86 percent over the age of 25. However, it did earn a solid “B+” CinemaScore. With an older audience, If nothing else, it could hold up fairly well in the next few weeks.
After opening in first place last weekend, “No Good Deed” plummeted 58 percent to an estimated $10.2 million. The drop is not surprising, but the good news is that after 10 days, the home invasion thriller has grossed $40.1 million.
Meanwhile, in sixth place, “Guardians of the Galaxy” eased 36 percent to $5.2 million. On Sunday, it passed “Iron Man 2” to become the fourth-highest-grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians has now earned $313.7 million at the domestic box office, and over $318 million overseas.
Your top five flicks
1. The Maze Runner– $32.5 million
2. A Walk Among the Tombstones — $13.1 million
3. This is Where I Leave You — $11.9 million
4. No Good Deed — $10.2 million (Total gross $40.1 million)
5. Dolphin Tale 2 — $9 million (Total gross $27 million)