Friday Box Office: LUCY Shows More Muscle Than HERCULES on Opening Day

     July 26, 2014

scarlett-johansson-lucy-slice

It looks like Universal’s decision to move up the release date for Lucy will go down as one of the summer’s smartest plays.  Director Luc Besson’s sci-fi pic was supposed to open in August – not exactly an endorsement of its strong box office potential.  But arriving two weeks earlier than planned, Lucy is now aiming for one of the best sci-fi debuts of 2014 with at least $45 million.  That’s double what the R-rated title was originally projected to earn and is more than enough to make fellow newcomer Hercules look puny by comparison.  The action pic starring Dwayne Johnson came in second on Friday and should earn $28 million on its debut weekend.  That’s right on track with early projections for the film, though the number was supposed to equal a first place finish for the son of Zeus.

Hit the jump for Friday’s top five.

hercules-poster-2Lucy earned an estimated $17.1 million from 3,173 locations on Friday, including $2.8 million from Thursday night previews.  That’s way ahead of this summer’s earlier sci-fi offerings like Edge of Tomorrow ($10.7 million) and Transcendence ($10.8 million) and also beats recent Luc Besson releases.  As a director, Besson’s The Family brought in $14 on its first Friday and a total of $36.9 million by the end of its run.  As a writer/producer, his 3 Days to Kill and Brick Mansions earned a domestic total of $20.3 and $30.6 million earlier this year.  Lucy will top all three of those releases by the end of its first weekend.  Not bad for a film that was barely on the box office radar one month ago.

By comparison, it feels like Hercules has been on the radar for a bit too long.  The Paramount/MGM release got off to an early start on the publicity front thanks to January’s The Legend of Hercules.  That particular take on the mythic strongman went down in disgrace, ending its worldwide run with just $61.2 million (with a $70 million budget), and set up the inevitable narrative that The Rock’s version of Hercules would be more muscular.  So far that’s proving true.  From 3,595 location, Hercules earned an estimated $11 million on Friday, or more than The Legend of Hercules took in on its first weekend.

The weekend’s final new release did not make the top five.  Director Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes brought in an estimated $1.36 million from 1,762 locations on Friday.  The romantic comedy is not expected to exceed $5 million this weekend.

Limited releases making news this weekend include Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (expanding to 107 locations), A Most Wanted Man (one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final features), Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, which is opening in seventeen theatres, and comedian Gabriel IglesiasThe Fluffy Movie, which should bring in $1.2 million this weekend  Check back tomorrow for complete box office details.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Lucy $17,100,000 $17.1
2.  Hercules $11,050,000 $11
3.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes $4,700,000 $160.4
4.  The Purge: Anarchy $3,400,000 $44.7
5.  Planes: Fire & Rescue $2,763,000 $28.5
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