Box Office: ‘Fury’ Has The 4th Best WWII Film Opening Ever, While ‘Best Of Me’ Becomes Nick Sparks’ Worst

Fury, aka Murderous Macklemore’s Last Stand, took the top spot with $23.5 million in domestic box office this weekend, which seemed low for a movie about Brad Pitt (!) killing Nazis (!!) with tanks (!!!). But that was apparently enough to make it “one of the best openings of all time for a World War II war movie.” I would’ve thought WWII movies were a big draw, but… women be shoppin, I guess? I don’t know.

In 2009, Pitt starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which lays claim to the No. 2 opening of all time for a WWII war title ($38.1 million) after Pearl Harbor ($59.1 million). Fury ranks No. 4 behind those two titles and Saving Private Ryan ($30.6 million). [THR]

Pearl F*cking Harbor. How does Michael Bay do it? (Besides “on a white tiger-skinned rug,” I mean). Anyway, Fury’s audience was 60% male and 51% over 35. So, not only a sausage fest, but damn near a lemon party. But a reasonably lucrative lemon party nonetheless.

The $68 million Sony production’s opening was a career best for David Ayer and about standard for Brad Pitt. Between this, Gone Girl, Neighbors, etc., and the failure of The Expendables 3,  I’m hoping that studio execs are finally learning the lesson that audiences are more inclined to shell out for uncompromising R-rated movies than watered down PG-13 ones. You could criticize Fury for a lot of things, but “not graphic enough” wasn’t one of them.

Elsewhere, Fox’s Book Of Life opened to a solid but unspectacular $17 million, and blah blah blah families.

The Best of Me, starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, used the tried-and-true Nicholas Sparks movie formula of dude-holding-a-chick-by-the-jaw-during-a-sunset in the poster, only with different outcome – $10.2 million, the worst opening of any Sparks adaptation, outdoing even A Walk To Remember‘s $12.2 million. You could blame the poor opening on a lot of things – its 7% recommended rating was even lower than normal for a Sparks adaptation, or maybe the target audience just had some kind of cat emergency – but it only cost $26 million to make, so even if it doesn’t earn out it’s not that big a deal, and Nick Sparks probably already got paid on it anyway. So not to fear, he will continue to print money writing cheesy books and spending it on anti-gay causes and schools that don’t like black people (allegedly) long into the foreseeable future.

By the way, here’s the ending of The Best Of Me (spoiler alert, obviously), which is even better than we could’ve imagined.

After a few days of bliss in Tuck’s lakeside retreat, Amanda feels she has to go home to work on her marriage and be with her son. Dawson respects her sense of responsibility, but tells her he’ll be around should she ever wish to return. Now, remember how the wife of Dawson’s superfluous best friend was pregnant when he died? Their child grew up to be a sweet boy, but he’s fallen in with Dawson’s father’s crew, so it’s up to Dawson to rescue him and redeem himself for accidentally shooting the boy’s dad in the head. (For what it’s worth, the deceased’s wife quickly forgave him.) But saving the kid brings Dawson into conflict with his father again, and Dad shoots Dawson dead.

While all this is happening, Amanda’s son gets in a terrible, life-threatening car accident. His heart is torn in the crash, and if he doesn’t get a transplant right away, she’ll lose yet another child. Fortunately, the young man receives the transplant from an unknown donor, the surgery is successful, and he goes on to college. A year later, Amanda is presumably still broken up over Dawson’s death, but has settled into a nice job as a paralegal. She gets a call from her son, who says he requested the name of the heart donor, and it happens to be a like-aged man from her hometown. Would she happen to know his name? I won’t insult you by saying who the donor was. Nicholas Sparks has insulted you enough already. [TheDissolve]

As Laremy put it, “In a way, it’s also incestuous too, because the same heart that beat blood to his peen to nail her with now resides in her son. So, yeah.”

Finally, the Keaton-aissance has officially begun as Birdman opened in New York and LA, earning $415,000 and more importantly $103,750 per theater. That’s the second best per-screen average in two years, after Grand Budapest Hotel’s $202,792 (our review). Regardless, more than enough to justify the coming plague of “Birdman… Soars” headlines. I fear it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Next week: John Wick, Ouija, 23 Blast, and expansions for Birdman and St. Vincent (our review).