NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Estimates: 'Furious 7' Leads Third Straight Weekend Race with $29.1M; 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2' Claims Second with Solid $24.0M Debut; 'Unfriended' Takes Third with $16.0M

on April 18, 2015

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Sunday Update: Universal's Furious 7 took in an estimated $29.06 million this weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The seventh installment of the blockbuster franchise featuring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and the late Paul Walker was down 51 percent from last weekend. This weekend's hold was respectable, especially when taking into account the size of the film's grosses thus far and the added presence of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Unfriended in the marketplace. Furious 7 has grossed a massive $294.41 million in 17 days of release. That leaves the film just $5.59 million away from reaching the $300 million domestic milestone. Furious 7 is currently running a very impressive 45 percent ahead of the $202.81 million 17-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6 and a slim 3 percent behind the $302.45 million 17-day gross of 2012's The Hunger Games.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 debuted in a not-so-distant second place with an estimated $24.0 million. Sony's modestly budgeted Kevin James led comedy sequel debuted in line with expectations. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 did open 25 percent below the $31.83 million debut of 2009's Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but the sequel had been widely expected to open below its predecessor due in part to the six-year gap in between films. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 did open 20 percent ahead of the $20.07 million start of 2011's Zookeeper. The solid opening weekend performance is good news for James, who will appear in Sony's upcoming Pixels this July.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opened with $7.35 million on Friday (which included an estimated $450,000 from Thursday evening shows), increased a healthy 39 percent on Saturday to gross $10.2 million and is estimated to decline 37 percent on Sunday to gross $6.45 million. The film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio stands at 3.27 to 1, which is evidence of the film's appeal with family audiences. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 did receive a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore. While the film is highly unlikely to match the strong holding power of its predecessor, it will still have a solid chance of holding up well in the weeks ahead due in part to facing a limited amount of competition for family audiences (outside of Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron).

Universal's Unfriended debuted in third with an estimated $16.02 million. The ultra low-budget horror film from Blumhouse Productions opened on the low end of pre-release expectations. While Unfriended was unable to break out to the degree its high level of online activity had suggested; the film still performed well this weekend with its small price tag in mind. The potential for Unfriended may have also been limited a bit by its R rating. Unfriended opened 19 percent below the $19.88 million start of last year's Ouija.

Unfriended opened with $6.8 million on Friday (which included an estimated $656,000 from Thursday evening shows), fell 12 percent on Saturday to gross $6.0 million and is estimated to decline 46 percent on Sunday to take in $3.22 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday at an understandably front-loaded 2.36 to 1. Unfriended received a C rating on CinemaScore, which is respectable by horror film standards.

Home placed in fourth this weekend with an estimated $10.3 million. The successful 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation fell 44 percent from last weekend, as the film took a bit of a hit from the new competition from Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. While it has been relatively front-loaded for a computer animated film, Home continues to exceed expectations in a big way with a 24-day take of $142.61 million. That places the film essentially on par with the $142.44 million 24-day take of 2013's The Croods.

Fellow Fox release The Longest Ride rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $6.85 million. The Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood fell 47 percent from last weekend's debut. While that represented a sizable second weekend decline, it also represented a respectable second weekend hold given that Sparks adaptations often experience sharp second weekend declines. The Longest Ride has grossed $23.51 million in ten days. That is on the low end of expectations and places the film 34 percent ahead of the $17.55 million ten-day gross of last year's The Best of Me.

Meanwhile, Monkey Kingdom debuted in seventh place with an estimated $4.72 million. The latest nature documentary from Disney's Disneynature label debuted on the low end of its modest expectations. Despite receiving the widest launch ever for a Disneynature film (2,012 locations); Monkey Kingdom delivered the softest opening weekend performance to date for Disneynature. Monkey Kingdom opened just below the $4.78 million start of last year's Bears.

Monkey Kingdom took in $1.55 million on Friday, increased a slim 8 percent on Saturday to take in $1.67 million and is estimated to decline 10.5 percent on Sunday to gross $1.49 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.04 to 1. Monkey Kingdom will likely hold up well during the week, thanks in part to a promising A- CinemaScore, the past midweek strength of Disneynature films and from Earth Day falling on Wednesday.

On the platform front, A24's Ex Machina continued to perform well with an estimated $814,293 from 39 locations. That gave the critically acclaimed Alex Garland directed sci-fi film a per-location average of $20,879 for the frame. Ex Machina has grossed $1.14 million through ten days of platform release and is scheduled to receive a major expansion on Friday.

Saturday Update: Universal reports that Furious 7 once again held first place on Friday with an estimated $8.3 million, down 56 percent from last Friday. That brings the well-received blockbuster sequel's domestic total up to $273.65 million through 15 days of release, just 3 percent behind where The Hunger Games stood at the same point in its release during the same time of year in 2012. The studio projects a very strong $25.5 million third frame.

Opening in second place yesterday, Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 bowed to $7.3 million, giving Kevin James his best opening day as the leading man in five years. The sequel to 2009's surprise hit comedy was off 25 percent from its predecessor's first day take and is expected by the studio to land around $22 million for its opening weekend. Unfortunately, early reviews score a flat 0 percent out of 37 critic entries on Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience score sits at just 58 percent. Given the target audience, however, the film is expected to play somewhat better with families than the Internet crowd, but don't expect long legs for this entry as with the first pic. Overall, with a $30 million production budget, this is certainly a successful opening.

Universal's Unfriended took in $6.8 million in its first day yesterday. By comparison, last year's Oculus took in $4.97 million on its first day. The horror-suspense aimed at teens and young adults had been the recipient of big social media buzz for the past few months (mainly Facebook), but that hype peaked a bit too soon and prevented a larger breakout. At 66 percent, critics are favoring the film slightly more than audiences (56 percent). That said, this debut still bests studio expectations and should be considered a success for the low-budget pic. Universal is projecting a $16.2 million opening weekend.

Home claimed fourth place yesterday with another $2.425 million, off over 56 percent from last week. The DreamWorks hit animation has tallied $134.7 million to date and is projected to earn $10.4 million this weekend.

In fifth place, The Longest Ride dropped 56.5 percent from opening day last week to $2.4 million yesterday. With $19.1 million in the bank through eight days of release, the film is pacing nearly 32 percent ahead of fellow Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of Me. Look for a $7.5 million sophomore frame.

Also opening this weekend, DisneyNature's Monkey Kingdom pulled $1.55 million yesterday. While that's down from Bears' $2.3 million first day last year, this is the first DisneyNature release to receive a standard Friday opening while also lacking the aid of Good Friday-boosted grosses. That said, opening weekend should land around $4.7 million. Early reviews are enthusiastic with a 93 percent critics' score, and a modest 72 percent audience score.

Meanwhile, opening in semi-limited release this weekend was True Story, a dramatic feature starring Jonah Hill and James Franco. The pic earned $685,000 from 831 locations on opening day, making for an $824 per-screen average. For the weekend, the film could bring in around $1.9 million.

Also opening in limited release, Child 44 brought in $0.23 million from 510 locations yesterday, giving it a $443 per-theater average. BoxOffice projects a $0.7 million opening frame for the under-the-radar flick led by Tom Hardy.

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

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Furious 7 should have no problem holding on to first place this weekend with a third-weekend haul north of $25 million. 

Unfriended and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 are fighting for second place. Unfriended seems to have the edge and it could end up with $19 million, while Blart 2 is pacing for $18 million. 

Monkey Kingdom should snag a modest $6 million haul.

Check back tomorrow for updated projections and official studio numbers.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that Unfriended landed an estimated $656,000 from shows beginning at 8pm last night. That's somewhat ahead of last year's Oculus, which with a similar release date and R rating took in $480,000 from shows starting at 10pm (onward to a $12 million frame). Early reviews have been positive relative to most films in the horror/thriller genre, which could be a good sign for word of mouth among the target young adult audience.

Meanwhile, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 took in $450,000 from shows starting at 7pm Thursday. That's generally on par with Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb's $490,000 last December, although that film opened close to Christmas so it's very possible Blart 2 will be able to top that flick's $17.1 million first weekend.

No early show grosses had been reported for DisneyNature's Monkey Kingdom at the time of publishing.

For the weekend, Furious 7 remains the favorite to claim first place for its third week in a row as strong word of mouth continues to drive the well-reviewed blockbuster.

Check back for more updates throughout the day and weekend.

Tags: north-america, Furious 7, Monkey Kingdom, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Unfriended

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