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Weekend Box Office: Maze Runner Too Fast for Walk Among the Tombstones

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By Chris Kavan - 09/21/14 at 09:19 PM CT

It was finally a weekend to celebrate as strong showing from a new YA franchise gave the box office a healthy 25% boost over last year. While the rest of the newcomers didn't fare nearly as well, for a September weekend, it was still an impressive showing and hopefully is a sign of things to come and won't fall back into the doldrums we've experienced since August ended. But why get ahead of ourselves - awards season is still a bit away - Hollywood just wants September to have a nice turnaround.

1) THE MAZE RUNNER

Adapting popular YA literature into a winning cinematic formula has been a long, rough road. So many disappointments, so few shining gems. But The Maze Runner can count itself amongst the winners. While it may not have opened near the huge Hunger Games or even the nice Divergent route, it also cost a fraction of those two films. On a mere $34 million budget, The Maze Runner opened to a nice $32.5 million opening. And 20th Century Fox wasted no time - they've already announced a sequel Scorch Trials - to open in September of 2015. The film was a rare YA project to be male-driven and, unlike Ender's Game - it actually brought in a male crowd - 49% to be exact and also drew in a much younger (64% under 25) crowd. The numbers suggest Maze Runner will be front-loaded, but it is already guaranteed to make a profit and international numbers actually look stronger than fellow film Divergent (so far). With an "A-" Cinemascore, Maze Runner also has a good chance to draw in more people by word-of-mouth and a $90 million total is likely.

2) A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES

In a distant second place, the Liam Neeson-helmed Walk Among the Tombstones underwhelmed with a $13.1 million debut. In comparison, Neeson's Non-Stop opened to $28.9 million. But since Walk was rated R (compared to a more friendly PG-13) a better comparison would be the R-Rated The Grey - which opened to $19.66 million. The biggest disadvantage for Walk was the fact it looked like a pretty generic crime/thriller film - and Neeson's name wasn't enough to bring in a big crowd this time around. The audience was pretty much split between men and women, but it was older (77% over 25) and they gave it just a "B-" Cinemascore. With direct competition from The Equalizer next week, Walk is going to be lucky to cross $40 million before it exits theaters.

3) THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

The other big wide release, the ensemble comedy This is Where I Leave You, opened in third place with $11.9 million. While the focus was on the cast for the most part, it certainly drew in mixed review, which probably didn't help its cause. It drew a mostly female (63%) and older (86% over 25) audience. They awarded it a solid "B+" Cinemascore and if it can generate some interest it is looking like modestly-budgeted $20 million picture is going to wind up a winner, bringing in around $35 million before it ends its run.

4) NO GOOD DEED

Last week's top film took a significant 58% hit. The film brought in $10.2 million, giving it a new total of $40.1 million It should cross the $50 million mark and even with a big second-week drop the film is going off just a $13.2 million budget (the lowest reported out of the top 9 films this week) so even if it falls fast from here on out - it has already proven itself a winner as well.


5) DOLPHIN TALE 2

The family-friendly sequel dropped over 43% in its second weekend. That was a bigger drop than the original film, which only saw a 27% fall in its second weekend. Bringing in just a touch over $9 million, Dolphin Tale 2 increased its total to $27 million. Unlike No Good Deed, the budget for Dolphin Tale 2 was $38 million - and while it may meet that total, it's not going to be by much - and it's already trailing Dolphin Tale by $10 million.


Outside the top five: Guardians of the Galaxy was in sixth place with $5.2 million (down just 36% after eight weeks). The domestic total now stands at $313.7 million and with international numbers taken into account ($318.6 million) it passed Iron Man 2 with a global total of $632.3 million to become the fourth-best Marvel franchise film on record. And it still has gas - and should make it to nearly $330 million.

On the down side of things, Kevin Smith - best known for his offbeat humor of Clerks, Dogma and Chasing Amy, tried his hand at some offbeat horror with Tusk. But playing in just over 600 theaters, Tusk could only muster $886,000 - well outside the top 10.

Next week the big films will be Denzel Washington's gritty crime/thriller The Equalizer while on the family front we get the animated BoxTrolls - from the studio behind Coraline and ParaNorman. We'll see if this pair provides enough excitement to keep September on track.

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