Box Office: Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Lucy’ beats The Rock’s ‘Hercules’ for no. 1

Strangely timed considering San Diego Comic-Con was in full swing, Scarlett Johansson scored the biggest non-Marvel opening of her career as “Lucy” debuted to an estimated $44 million to top the box office.  With a production budget of $40 million, Luc Besson's Sci-Fi thriller could be a strong performer for both the director's own financing company, Europa, and distributor Universal Pictures.

The success of “Lucy,” which had a huge $17.1 million opening day means Johansson has a legitimate career as an action star outside of her Black Widow Marvel Universe persona.  Whether she decides to explore that remains to be seen. Up until now her biggest opener, outside of Marvel, was the ensemble romantic comedy “He's Just Not that Into You” which earned $27.7 million in 2009.  Summer movie season is never easy and “Lucy” will face some stiff competition on Friday when Marvel's “Guardians of the Galaxy” hits theaters.

Another film that will face “Guardian's” potent firepower is Paramount Pictueres' “Hercules” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Brett Ratner adventure took in just $29 million for a second place finish. With a reported production budget of $100 million Paramount will hope that international revenues help it to at least break even on the picture.

Dropping to third on its third weekend is “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” The Matt Reeves directed sequel took in another $16.4 million for $172 million to date.  It should surpass 2011's “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” which took in $176.7 million sometime over the next few days. And, more importantly for 20th Century Fox, the film has already grossed over $280 million across the globe.

Fourth place went to Universal Pictures' “The Purge: Anarchy” which scared up another $9.8 million for $51.2 million in just 10 days. Despite a rough start, that's actually right on track for where “The Purge” was at this point in its run last year.  With a shooting budget of just $9 million, “Anarchy” will be profitable for Universal Pictures, but it's not the bigger cash cow the company was hoping for.

Disney's “Planes: Fire & Rescue” took the fifth slot with another $9.3 million and $35.1 million also in just 10 days.  That's actually $10 million behind the first “Planes” which hit theaters just last year and earned $90.2 million domestic.

Debuting in just 361 theaters was Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions' “A Most Wanted Man.” Featuring one of the last big screen performances of Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Most Wanted” took in a very strong $2.7 million or $7,526 per screen.

Expanding to 107 theaters was IFC Films critically acclaimed “Boyhood.” Richard Linklatter's passion project earned $1.7 million or an impressive $16,121 per screen. With $4.1 million earned so far, the indie distributor will continue to slowly expand it over the coming weeks. When it truly goes nationwide remains to be seen.

Opening in 17 theaters was Woody Allen's “Magic in the Moonlight.” The romantic comedy wasn't embraced by critics which hurt its take as “Moonlight” earned just $426,000 or $25,009 per screen.  That's significantly less than “Blue Jasmin's” $102,011 per screen or the $72,272 “Rome with Love” earned per screen in 2002.

New releases on Friday includes the aforementioned “Guardians of the Galaxy.”