A new release hasn’t topped the weekend box office since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles grossed $65.575 million the second week of August. This weekend saw the first new movie to top the weekend box office and the first $20 million+ release since then, and it was… No Good Deed? (IWasNotExpectingThat.gif).
No Good Deed, starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, grossed an estimated $24.5 million domestically, I can only assume because people thought it was a sequel to Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds. Screen Gems chose not to screen the film for critics (supposedly in order to protect its shocking plot twist – yeah right) and who knows whether that helped its box office at all, but the people who made that decision will surely be pretending it did. (You can also insert your own conspiracy theories about the Ray Rice news hitting just as a movie about a guy stalking a woman was set to screen). It received a 12% recommended rating from the critics who did see it and a B+ Cinemascore. As for the “shocking twist,” one critic described it as “about as fiendishly clever as an episode of General Hospital.”
Either way, the film only cost $13 million to producing, another win in a big year for producer Will Packer, who has now made healthy profits on the Think Like A Man movies, Obsessed, and Ride Along. Proving that there’s still money to be made playing to black audiences underserved by mainstream movies.
The other wide release of the weekend, Dolphin Tale 2, opened on almost 1500 more screens than No Good Deed, grossing $16.55 million, slightly off the $19 million of the original. Meaning America hasn’t quite quenched its appetite for bionic dolphins and Harry Connick Jr. just yet, but it’s getting there.
Tom Hardy adopted a pit bull and our hearts in The Drop, but it only opened on 800 screens, earning $4.2 million and $5192 per theater (No Good Deed, for comparison, earned $11,264). I will never understand how a Dennis Lehane-written crime drama starring Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini in one of his last roles doesn’t get a wide release while the saga of Marine Biologist Harry Connick Jr. and his bionic dolphin does. Hollywood tricked itself into believing that B movies were A movies for such a long time, and it’s finally biting them in the ass big time this year. This weekend was down 5.6% from the same weekend last year, though it wasn’t nearly as bad as last weekend’s record low. It’s time to be a little more ambitious than throwing some CG at a reboot of something.
On that note, Guardians of the Galaxy crossed the $300 million domestic mark, becoming the first release of 2014 to do so. A movie that was fun and good, hot damn! Worldwide, where it has so far made $611 million plus and opens in China October 10th, it’s still got a long way to go to catch Transformers: Age of Exinction‘s billion-dollar gross. But if it doesn’t make it, at least we can blame it on the Chinese this time.