Universal's Non-Stop was able to hold off Fox's Son of God to claim first place at the box office this weekend. The action thriller starring Liam Neeson opened just ahead of its already lofty expectations with an opening weekend take of $28.88 million. Non-Stop opened 32 percent stronger than the $21.86 million three-day start of 2011's Unknown and represents yet another strong performer for Neeson (who has been a very consistent box office draw in recent years). Following in the footsteps of Lone Survivor and Ride Along, Non-Stop also represents another strong performer for Universal in the first quarter of 2014.
Non-Stop grossed $10.06 million on Friday, increased 23 percent on Saturday to take in $12.41 million and fell 48 percent on Sunday to take in $6.41 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.87 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film was nearly equally split between genders (female moviegoers represented 51 percent of the film's audience) and skewed heavily towards moviegoers 25 years and older (65 percent). Non-Stop received a promising A- rating on CinemaScore, though the film will also soon face upcoming direct competition from both Warner's 300: Rise of an Empire and Disney's Need for Speed.
Son of God also outpaced expectations this weekend with a second place start of $25.60 million. The biblical epic constructed from The Bible television mini-series was helped by strong group sales among church groups. The film being part of an already released mini-series could have been an obstacle at the theatrical box office, but ultimately that didn't hinder the film's performance. With so few religious films having been released in recent years, there aren't a lot of great box office comparisons for Son of God. However, while very different subject matter, the opening weekend take of Son of God was quite similar to the $24.48 million launch of Act of Valor back in February of 2012. While Son of God wasn't able to top Non-Stop this weekend, it should be noted that its price tag was significantly less than that of Non-Stop.
Son of God grossed $9.46 million on Friday, fell 1 percent on Saturday to take in $9.35 million and fell 27 percent on Sunday to gross $6.79 million (being a religious film helped out Sunday's hold). That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.71 to 1, which does indicate some initial front-loading (likely due in part to the initial group sales for the film). Son of God received an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore and will hope to hold up well between now and the Easter holiday.
After leading the box office for each of the previous three weekends, The LEGO Movie fell to third place this weekend with $20.83 million. In the process, Warner's blockbuster 3D computer animated film surpassed the $200 million domestic milestone this weekend, making it the first release of 2014 to do so. The LEGO Movie was down 33 percent from last weekend, as the film continued to hold up nicely this weekend. With an impressive 24-day take of $209.14 million, The LEGO Movie is currently running 18 percent ahead of the $177.41 million 24-day gross of 2012's The Lorax. The LEGO Movie will soon face its first major new competition for family audiences, when Fox's Mr. Peabody & Sherman enters the marketplace this coming Friday.
Both of last weekend's new wide releases, Relativity's 3 Days to Kill and Sony's Pompeii, were down very sharply this weekend. 3 Days to Kill fell two spots and 60 percent to place in fourth with $4.95 million, while Pompeii was down four spots and 58 percent to place in seventh with $4.33 million. Clearly, both films took a big hit from the added presence of both Non-Stop and Son of God in the marketplace. Respective ten-day grosses stand at a respectable $20.75 million for the modestly budgeted 3 Days to Kill and at a disappointing $17.77 million for the pricey Pompeii.
Sony's The Monuments Men rounded out the weekend's top five with $4.94 million. The George Clooney directed World War II film held up well this weekend, as it was down 38 percent from last weekend. The 24-day total gross for The Monuments Men stands at a solid $65.63 million.
In limited release, Disney's The Wind Rises took in $1.52 million from 496 locations. That gave the Hayao Miyazaki directed film a so-so per-location average of $3,059 for the frame. In comparison, Ponyo grossed $3.59 million during its first weekend of major release back in 2009 (though that film debuted in 927 locations). The Wind Rises has grossed $1.95 million through ten days of release.