Weekend Report: Game Over for “Pixels”, “Southpaw” Blindsides “Paper Towns”

In a fairly surprising turn of events, boxing drama Southpaw managed to surpass expectations and wind up ahead of much hyped YA adaptation Paper Towns, which disappointed with only 1/4th of what The Fault in Our Stars made last summer.

Southpaw opened to $16M this weekend, a decent step up from the low teens which it was expected to do. That’s noticabely above Nightcrawler, which took in just $10M on its opening back in October of 2014. Among boxing films (despite the fact that there aren’t many), it was very high above Grudge Match, which took in just $13M over its five-day holiday weekend. For an R rated boxing drama with light marketing, mediocre reviews and a $30M budget, this is a very solid start. Word of mouth is also great, with an A on Cinemascore that should help it to do well over the next few weeks, possibly earning over $50M domestically by the end of its run.

Pixels opened to just $24M this weekend, which was lower than even the most pessimistic of expectations. Granted, they were all over the board, ranging from the high $20’s to mid $50’s. There’s a few reasons as to why Pixels wasn’t able to translate its fun premise into a solid debut; for one, Adam Sandler taints the performance of just about any film he’s in, as does Kevin James. Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage both have some fans but not really enough to be highly recognizable to the general population. It also wasn’t really clear who this movie was being marketed as: is it a comedy? Well, the trailers dont have many jokes, its being more marketed as a summer blockbuster with the exciting effects and IMAX 3D release. It seemed somewhat family friendly, but with a PG-13 rating and overly immature look, noone came out for opening weekend. The atrocious 19% on Rotten Tomatoes likely didn’t help either, and this will likely end up with less than $75M by the end of its domestic run. With a reported $88M budget (which was at $110M until a few days ago, suspicious…)

Paper Towns was unable to turn its popular source material into a successful debut, with just $12.5M in its opening weekend, or less than half of its $27M predictions. Thats pretty disappointing, especially given how extremely front loaded it was. $6M of that $12.5M came from Friday, with a 45% drop Friday to Saturday. That signifies that it will likely drop like a rock, and vanish from theaters with less than $35M. While The Fault in Our Stars was a beloved drama by many teenage girls, Paper Towns is more like something found in summer reading lists in schools, which is interesting given how similar this debut is to last years The Giver, which opened in August to $12.3M. Despite being a bit lower, it held much better en route to a solid $45M total, mostly thanks to an audience outside of teenagers, something that Paper Towns is lacking.

Ant-Man may have won the weekend by a slim margin, but it didn’t exactly have a great hold. It shrunk 58%, compared to the 55% drop for Guardians of the Galaxy back in August of last year. It just passed $100M domestically, and if it balances out over the next few weeks could end up topping $150M. Overseas performance, however, is shooting down any qualms of this being a “flop”. It’s currently at $226M wordlwide, meaning that it will likely wind up over $300M, possibly even $400M. Even if it doesn’t get a direct sequel, the fact that it only cost $130M makes this a solid win for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In record news, Jurassic World topped The Avengers for the title of 3rd highest grossing film domestically, by less than $1M. It’s at $623.5M after over a month of release, which is an incredible result for the well received reboot. Universal has already staked out a sequel for 2018, not surprising given that its likely going to wind up with over $1.6B by the end of its run.


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