NORTH AMERICA: Studio Estimates: 'The Maze Runner' Easily Leads with Strong $32.5M; 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' #2 with $13.1M; 'This Is Where I Leave You' #3 with $11.9M

on September 20, 2014

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Sunday Update: As was widely expected, Fox's The Maze Runner debuted comfortably in first place this weekend with an estimated $32.5 million. The modestly budgeted young adult adaptation opened in line with expectations and performed well with its price tag in mind. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Maze Runner delivered the sixth largest opening weekend performance of all time for the month of September. The Maze Runner opened 20 percent stronger than the $27.02 million start of last year's Ender's Game and going forward is likely to hold up better than Ender's Game did in part from facing relatively softer competition.

The Maze Runner debuted with $11.25 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.1 million from late night shows on Thursday), increased 19 percent on Saturday to gross $13.43 million and is estimated to fall 42 percent on Sunday to gross $7.83 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at an encouraging 2.89 to 1. The Maze Runner received an A- rating on CinemaScore, which is also an encouraging early sign.

The Maze Runner grossed $3.3 million from 351 IMAX locations this weekend. That represented 10.2 percent of this weekend's overall gross.

After this weekend's performance, Fox has scheduled The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials for release on September 18, 2015.

A Walk Among the Tombstones debuted in second place with an estimated $13.13 million. Universal's modestly budgeted action thriller starring Liam Neeson opened on the low end of pre-release expectations. A Walk Among the Tombstones opened softer than Liam's recent vehicles; including 33 percent softer than the $19.67 million debut of 2012's The Grey. A Walk Among the Tombstones opened with $4.7 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.43 million from late night shows on Thursday), increased a modest 8.5 percent on Saturday to take in $5.1 million and is estimated to decline 35 percent on Sunday to gross $3.33 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.79 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent female, 49 percent male) and skewed heavily towards moviegoers 25 years and older (77 percent). A Walk Among the Tombstones received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore and is likely to take a significant hit next weekend when Sony's anticipated The Equalizer arrives in the marketplace this coming Friday.

Warner's This Is Where I Leave You opened in third place with an estimated $11.86 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey opened in line with its modest expectations. This Is Where I Leave You opened 12 percent below the $13.53 million start of 2011's The Change-Up. This Is Where I Leave You started with $3.9 million on Friday, increased a very solid 28 percent on Saturday to take in $4.98 million and is estimated to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $2.99 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.04 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards female moviegoers (63 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (86 percent). This Is Where I Leave You received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Sony's No Good Deed was down three spots and 58 percent from last weekend's first place debut to place in fourth with an estimated $10.2 million. While the low-budget thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson experienced a sharp second weekend decline, in the bigger picture the film is still performing well with a ten-day take of $40.11 million. That places No Good Deed 6 percent ahead of the $37.75 million ten-day gross of 2009's I Can Do Bad All By Myself (which fell 58 percent in its second weekend to gross $9.88 million).

Dolphin Tale 2 rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $9.01 million. The family sequel from Warner Bros. was down 43 percent from last weekend, as it was unable to duplicate the second weekend strength of 2011's Dolphin Tale (which fell just 27 percent in its second weekend to gross $13.91 million). Dolphin Tale 2 has grossed a respectable $27.07 million in ten days, but is currently running 27 percent behind the $37.18 million ten-day take of Dolphin Tale.

Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy placed in sixth with an estimated $5.18 million. The blockbuster sci-fi superhero film from Marvel was down 36 percent from last weekend. With a massive 52-day take of $313.67 million, Guardians of the Galaxy is set to soon surpass the $318.41 million unadjusted final gross of 2008's Iron Man.

On the limited front, A24's Tusk was off to a very soft start with an estimated $0.89 million from 602 locations. That gave the low-budget Kevin Smith directed horror film a per-location average of just $1,472 for the frame.

Saturday Update: Fox reports that The Maze Runner picked up an estimated $11.25 million on Friday, a very healthy jump from its modest $1.1 million Thursday night shows (included in Friday's gross). BoxOffice projects the latest young adult adaptation will net around $31 million this weekend--already nearly matching its $34 million production budget. By comparison, Maze's opening day was 14 percent ahead of Ender's Game ($9.8 million) and 51 percent behind Divergent ($22.8 million). Early word of mouth appears very healthy with an 82 percent Flixster score, on par with Divergent's 81 percent.

Liam Neeson's A Walk Among the Tombstones bagged $4.7 million on opening day--27.5 percent behind the $6.5 million first day of The Grey in January 2012, but also 87 percent stronger than Killing Them Softly's $2.5 million first day. Unfortunately, early word of mouth appears mixed with a 66 percent Flixster score. BoxOffice is projecting a solid $14 million weekend for the Universal release.

Warner Bros.' ensemble dramedy This Is Where I Leave You posted $3.91 million on Friday, 6 percent behind Trouble with the Curve's $4.2 million first day and 90 percent ahead of Admission's $2.05 million bow. The film's 70 percent Flixster score leaves a bit to be desired, although this isn't necessarily a film aimed toward the online crowd. As adult audiences are expected to turn out over the weekend, BoxOffice projects an $11.6 million opening frame.

Last week's top film, No Good Deed, sank an expected 67 percent from opening day to $2.95 million. With $32.9 million in the bank through 8 days of release, the Sony thriller has performed ahead of pre-release expectations as it leads the pace of The Call by 32 percent. BoxOffice projects a $9.6 million second weekend.

Dolphin Tale 2 rounded out the top five as it slipped 50 percent from last week's opening day gross to $2.14 million on Friday. By comparison, the first flick eased 32 percent from its first-to-second Friday. The family-friendly sequel has tallied $20.2 million in its first 8 days, 24.5 percent off the pace of its 2011 predecessor. BoxOffice projects an $8.0 million sophomore frame.

Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy was off 35 percent from last Friday to $1.38 million yesterday. The year's top grosser so far is projected to bring in another $5.3 million for the weekend as a whole. With $309.9 million in the bank through Friday, its 50th day of release, Guardians stands 2.6 percent ahead of the pace the original Iron Man.

On the expansion front, The Drop took in $645,000 yesterday as it expanded into 1,192 theaters (up from 809 last week). Yesterday's haul was down 56 percent from opening day. To date, the film has grossed $6.3 million. BoxOffice projects $2.1 million for the current frame.

Unfortunately, no Friday estimates were made available for Kevin Smith's Tusk at the time of publication. The director's latest film opened in 602 theaters this weekend.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Early reports suggest The Maze Runner is trending for an opening weekend around $24 million based on Friday business. The west coast isn't yet a factor in that projection, though. Unfortunately, it's looking like the latest young adult adaptation will fall well short of tracking, but Fox is still likely in the black thanks to a modest production budget.

Liam Neeson's A Walk Among the Tombstones could net around $15 million this weekend as he continues to prove his box office drawing power. While it doesn't quite match the star's recent openers, the gritty flick was always going to be harder sell than the mainstream-friendly likes of Non-Stop and Taken.

Last but not least, This Is Where I Leave You is pacing for an opening weekend close to $10 million.

We'll have official studio estimates for Friday's grosses tomorrow morning, along with more concrete weekend projections. Check back then.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that The Maze Runner hauled in $1.1 million from Thursday night shows. That's a far cry from Divergent's $4.9 million Thursday start earlier this year and conflicts with this week's reports of strong weekend tracking in the $40 million+ range. The early bow also fell under Ender's Game's $1.4 million last November (onward to a $27 million weekend). As Friday progresses, the hope is that young audiences will turn out after school hours instead--a significant possibility given that Maze debuted at 10pm last night. Fortunately, the film's $34 million production budget means huge numbers aren't necessarily required for success.

Meanwhile, A Walk Among the Tombstones posted $428,000 last night. By comparison, fellow Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop earned $720,000 on Thursday as part of a $28.9 million weekend back in February.

Tags: north-america, The Maze Runner, A Walk Among the Tombstones, This Is Where I Leave You, Tusk

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