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Weekend Box Office: It's a Mighty Whimper at the 4th of July Box Office as Transformers Repeats

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By Chris Kavan - 07/06/14 at 11:20 PM CT

With no tent pole summer film to launch the 4th of July weekend, Transformers: Age of Extinction managed to become the first film of the summer movie season to repeat at the number one spot. That win, however, also means it was one of the weakest 4th of July weekends on record - and, in fact, looks to be the lowest-grossing holiday frame in over a decade - you have to go all the way back to 1999 to find a lower-grossing July 4th weekend. Compared to last year, the weekend was off a sizable 47% - a terrible way to start off July and pointing toward an ever-widening gap between this year and 2013 - and, in fact, if there is no major blockbuster to save the summer, it could wind up as one of the lowest-grossing in the last decade.


Although Age of Extinction had a tremendous opening, it also had a huge second-week drop. The loud, long and kind of dull sequel (in my opinion) dropped 64% from its record 2014 opening, taking in $36.4 million - and falling just short of the $175 million mark with an estimated $174.7 million. Attribute this drop to some a decided lackluster (and deserving) word-of-mouth and critical scorn. Given how it has performed so far, the is Transformers is trailing the previous two films by a wide margin and it will likely wind up around the $250-$260 million mark. If it is struggling domestically, Transformers can at least add one international territory to its win list. In China, the film has outpaced the U.S. total - $212.8 million (and counting) and is on pace to become that countries highest-grossing film of all time. With all territories factored in, the film has an international total of $400.9 million - outpacing Dark of the Moon by 21% - and could very well land over $800 million by the time it has ran its course.


It turns out Melissa McCarthy is a force to be reckoned with at the box office. Though Tammy didn't excite critics (or audiences) that much, it still turned in a respectable performance over the weekend and that turnout has to fall directly onto the shoulders of McCarthy for that success. With a $21.2 million weekend ($32.9 million for the five-day frame) it opened a bit less than fellow raunchy title We're the Millers ($37.9 million) and also came in lower than the totals for McCarthy's previous films The Heat and Identity Thief. Chief reason points to the audience - with a paltry "C+" Cinemascore, it didn't capture much good will and is likely not to get much recommendation from those who showed up. Still, with a $30+ opening, it does point to McCarthy being a good draw and Tammy is still likely to wind up close to $70 million, and considering the $20 million production cost, this is going to wind up a tidy win for the studio.


Despite having a good chance at solid counter-programming for the weekend, horror fans didn't rush out to support Deliver Us from Evil. With $9.5 million over the weekend ($15 million total) it failed to earn in five days what Sinister brought in just three days back in 2012 ($18 million). The movie was split nearly down the middle in terms of age and gender - and it received a middling "B-" Cinemescore. Given that horror films are traditionally very front-loaded, it's looking like Deliver Us from Evil is going to join fellow 2014 horror films Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Devil's Due and The Quiet Ones in the low-grossing club. Even at bargain prices, it turns out audiences may be getting tired of the exorcism game - even if this one looked a lot better than those previous films. The future looks grim, as a total of under $30 million is likely at this point.


At least Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have something to cheer about as 22 Jump Street added $9.4 million to the bank (down about 41%) and in doing so crossed the $150 million mark and now stands at $158.85 million. That is over triple its $50 million budget and considering how well it has held up, the comedy is now on pace to cross $175 million without too much issue.


The other big sequel is not only trailing the original film, but it getting beat out by an R-rated sophomoric endeavor. Families must be in short supply this summer, as the Dragon sequel dipped 34% and brought in $8.75 million for a new total of $140 million. It still hasn't made it to its $145 million budget yet - and looks like it will be able to top that (and the $150 million mark) but is likely to stall out soon after.

Outside the top five: The family-friendly Earth to Echo opened in sixth place with $8.3 million for the weekend ($13.5 million total). That total represents one of the lowest openings for film touting the "found footage" moniker - opening lower then Apollo 18 and Devil's Due. The audience was 54% female and 52% under 25 and while they awarded it a decent "A-" Cinemascore, it is likely to fade out quickly, especially with Planes 2 right around the corner.

Three films found some life with expanded releases. Dinesh D'Souza America had the biggest bump (and also added the most theaters) jumping from 42nd to 11th place with $2.72 million (for a $4 million total). Considering I think 2016: Obama's America was the worst film in 2012 - I think I'll skip this follow-up - which is on pace to earn less than half of the $33.5 million that film (somehow) brought in.

Begin Again also expanded from 5 to 175 theaters, jumping from 31st to 15th place with $1.3 million and now stands at $1.8 million total. Joon-ho Bong well-received sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer also expanded from 8 to 250 theaters and jumped from 26th to 16th place with a near $1 million total. So far it has brought in $1.5 million total.

Next week's only new wide-release will be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - which has received some major marketing in the last few weeks - we'll see if the campaign will help it outstrip the original film's respectable $176.7 million total.


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