Box Office: a Tidy Little Oddity of 2014
The only movie this year to bridge the $30 million/$100 million gap.
I noticed what I assumed was a tidy little oddity in this year’s box office numbers when I checked to see how the opening of last weekend’s “The Maze Runner” ($32.5 million) compared with other openings this year. It was 21st-best: between “Rio 2” ($39 million) and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” ($32.2 million). But that’s not the oddity.
Here’s the oddity: With the exception of “The Maze Runner,” which just opened, every movie that opened with more than $30 million this year grossed more than $100 million total domestically. And among the movies that opened with less than $30 million, only one (“Edge of Tomorrow,” which had great word-of-mouth), grossed more than $100 million—and it just barely sneaked over that mark: $100.2 million.
That’s a pretty clear demarkation, isn’t it? It made me wonder if this year was an anomaly.
In 2013, five of the 30 movies that opened at greater than $30 million failed to reach $100 million: “Insidious Chapter 2,” “Oblivion,” “The Purge,” “Olympus Has Fallen” and “The Best Man Holiday.” Meanwhile, nine movies opened with less than $30 but grossed more than $100, including “We’re the Millers” and “Anchorman 2.”
In 2012, four movies that opened with more than $30 grossed less than $100, while seven movies that opened with less than $30 grossed more than $100.
In 2011, it’s four and six.
In 2010, eight and five.
This year, again, zero and one. So yes, a bit of an anomaly.
What inflates the first number, though, are horror movies, which open well and die fast, and we haven’t gotten the usual Halloween horror crap yet; and what inflates the second number are prestige pictures that open in NY and LA but catch on later with the general public, such as “American Hustle,” and we’re just entering prestige season. So I’m sure these numbers will change.