Box Office: NO GOOD DEED Opens in First with $24.5 Million; GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Hits $300 Million

     September 14, 2014

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It’s September, and that means modest movies doing modest box office business.  With that said, two of the weekend’s new films – No Good Deed and The Drop – look rather impressive, at least in terms  of the modest expectations most of us have for September releases.  In less equivocally impressive terms, Guardians of the Galaxy became the first release of 2014 to pass $300 million in domestic earnings.  The last film to hit that benchmark was Frozen back in January but, because the Disney hit was released in 2013, GotG stands alone as 2014’s one and only triple blockbuster.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  No Good Deed $24,500,000 $24.5
2.  Dolphin Tale 2 $16,550,000 $16.5
3.  Guardians of the Galaxy $8,041,000 $305.9
4.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $4,800,000 $181
5.  Let’s Be Cops $4,300,000 $72.9
6.  The Drop $4,200,000 $4.2
7.  If I Stay $4,050,000 $44.9
8.  The November Man $2,750,000 $22.4
9.  The Giver $2,626,000 $41.3
10.  The Hundred-Foot Journey $2,461,000 $49.4

Full story after the jump.

no-good-deed-posterNo Good Deed was the clear box office winner this weekend with an estimated $24.5 million from 2,175 locations.  The thriller was expected to do open in the high-teens, which is why ‘impressive opening’ does not feel like hyperbole.  There’s also the film’s budget to consider.  No Good Deed cost a reported $13.8 million, which means that after three days the film is already closer to profitable than some of the higher profile pics of summer – The Expendables 3, for example.

The movie that is mentioned most often in comparison to No Good Deed is Obsessed.  Considering that both movies are PG-13 thrillers starring Idris Elba and both were produced by Will Packer, the comparison makes sense.  Obsessed also happened to co-star Beyoncé Knowles, which helped it open with a strong $28.6 million in April 2009.  Without Beyoncé’s star power, No Good Deed was not expected to get much higher than $20 million, so Screen Gems has a lot of reasons to be happy this morning.  Incidentally, this is the third first-place opening the studio has had with Idris Elba, following Obsessed and 2010’s Takers.  Will Packer also co-produced those two features, along with this year’s Ride Along and Think Like A Man Too.  Both of those films opened at number one, so now with No Good Deed, the producer has his third box office win of 2014.

Dolphin Tale 2 opened in second place with an estimated $16.5 million from 3,656 locations.  Before Friday it looked like it would be a close race for first between No Good Deed and the sequel, with each film projected to earn about $19 million.  In the end, Dolphin Tale 2 was not even close to claiming the top spot and, even worse, the fact that it was in many more locations left a huge gap between the two film’s per-screen earnings: $11,264 for No Good Deed and just $4,527 for Dolphin Tale 2.

dolphin-tale-2-posterYou may recall that the original Dolphin Tale made a bit of a splash back in 2011.  Though the film was not an obvious hit when it opened in September (in third place with $19.1 million) it went on to beat out Moneyball and three new releases to take first place in its sophomore frame.  Dolphin Tale ended up earning over $95 million worldwide, which is probably why Warner Bros. decided a sequel was a good call.  Unfortunately, one thing that helped the first film in 2011 was not a factor this time around.  Dolphin Tale had the advantage of 3D ticket prices – at a time when 3D was still a big selling point.  Both films cost about $36 million, which means the sequel has further to go to turn a profit.

Of course, in the manner of its predecessor, Dolphin Tale 2 could find its legs in the next few weeks: there’s still a lack of family-friendly options at the multiplex and the sequel does have the advantage of solid reviews and an ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences (No Good Deed got a B+ but rates a dismal 17% on Rotten Tomatoes).  Even so, this weekend’s lower than expected opening and the lack of 3D pricing means that Dolphin Tale 2 will have to work a little harder to make Warner Bros. investment pay off this time around.

After pulling off a surprise top-five debut on Friday, the crime drama The Drop fell to sixth place on the weekend chart.  Considering that it’s only playing in 809 locations and was not expected to exceed $3 million, however, the film’s $4.2 million debut looks fairly impressive.  The Drop is the last film starring the late James Gandolfini and has received strong reviews (88% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).  That should help it stay in the top ten for a bit, though it will face a lot of competition beginning next Friday.

The overall box office was down 16% from the same frame in 2013, when Insidious Chapter 2 took first place with over $40 million.  Next weekend has a good chance to pull off September’s first win, thanks mostly to one of the frame’s three new wide releases.  The sci-fi thriller The Maze Runner is expected to open with $27 million: higher than the debuts of last year’s Prisoners and Battle of the Year combined.  Next weekend also brings A Walk Among Tombstones and This is Where I Leave You.  Though neither film is expected to open above $20 million, this weekend is clear proof that projections often fail.

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