Teenage darling Shailene Woodley found the chink in Tom Cruise’s armor, as her new release The Fault in Our Stars beat out the veteran leading man’s Edge of Tomorrow in this weekend’s domestic box office race. The Fox 2000 tearjerker about the ill-fated love between two cancer plagued high school students, Ms. Woodley and Divergent costar Ansel Elgort in his first title role, had an astonishing $28 million opening Friday and was expected to finish the three day weekend as high as $68 million. It didn’t quite reach those heights after suffering a 50% drop on Saturday, but a $48 million can hardly be considered anything less than a massive win for an original love story without a blue-chip lead that cost just $12 million to produce.
As was expected with its level of pre-release fanfare, our weekend champion hit its target demographic with surgical precision. Audiences were 82% female, and 79% under the age of 25. Much of the film’s success was due to early and sustained buzz by those young female fans, who took the burden of Fox’s marketing department upon themselves with considerable social media hysteria. Hype like that comes at a price though and Stars’ Friday to Saturday drop shows just how front-loaded the picture is. The risk here is that the film has already tapped its market, and it will need to pick up a sizable amount of new fans to avoid a second-week fall, although a string of positive reviews, including one from the New York Times, may avoid that possibility. Once again though this consideration is little more than a pleasant afterthought for Fox execs as The Fault in Our Stars has already quadrupled its budget in North America alone. Overseas the picture added $17.1 million from 18 markets and came in third overall.
Across town at Warner Brother’s the big guns won’t be so casual about post-debut performance after the wholly unconvincing opening of their $178 million picture Edge of Tomorrow. North American audiences shunned the well-reviewed sci-fi epic. Despite its convincing execution of a potentially hole-ridden plot and the billing of two bankable names, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, the film opened to just $29 million in its home market, finishing third at the box office. Foreign numbers were decidedly better. After a $20 million soft opening in 28 small to mid-sized markets last weekend, the explosive thriller has reached $111 million abroad as of today with $82 million coming in over the weekend. Twenty-five of those millions came from China in what was Mr. Cruise’s biggest opening of all time in the giant Asian nation. Edge of Tomorrow also enjoyed first place finishes in France ($3.2 million,) the UAE (1.2 million,) Scandinavia ($1.4 million,) and Russia where the film had an $8.6 million debut, the largest ever for Mr. Cruise in that country.
Directed by Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s Doug Liman and based on the graphic novel All You Need is Kill by Japanese author Horishi Sakaruzaka, Edge of Tomorrow tells the story of two soldiers who are reborn with their memories intact every time they are killed and thus hold a trump card in the battle against an invading alien force. Its Japanese release is scheduled for July 4 and Warner Bros’ remains optimistic that the picture will do well in the nation where its story was written.
Maleficent showed that its magic has a fair bit of endurance as it opened in five new territories and finished the week with $59.7 million overseas.With a second-frame home take of $33 million this modern fable has now earned a global cumulative of $335.47 million. Disney can expect a boost later this month when Angelina Jolie’s spell will be cast on the Chinese market beginning June 20th.
X-men: Days of Future Past also showed itself to rest on sturdy legs. It took home $42 million from 74 international markets.The film has now made an overseas cumulative of $422.1 million and a global total of $611 million in less than three weeks and stands as the clear top performer of the franchise.
In rather disappointing news, Seth McFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West found itself unable to cure itself of Maleficent’s curse and finished a second disheartening weekend with just $7.2 million domestically and $6.4 million abroad. After the runaway success of McFarlane’s last picture Ted, Universal Pictures is sure to be disappointed with this result.
To finish on a more positive note, John Favreau’s low-budget indie pic Chef (which stars among others Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Sofia Vergara and Dustin Hoffman) expanded to 1,200 theatres and crossed $10 million domestically at the close of this frame.
Next weekend promises to be exciting, with the hotly anticipated releases of Dreamworks’ How to Tame Your Dragon 2 and Sony’s 22 Jump Street.