Weekend Report: “We Are Your Friends” Implodes; “War Room”, “No Escape” Strong

Summer didn’t exactly go out with a bang this weekend, but still left us with a surprise hit and a surprise flop.

War Room is the latest Christian drama to surpass expectations after films like God’s Not DeadHeaven is for Real and Courageous showed that there is certainly still an audience for films of this magnitude. It opened with an excellent $11M this weekend which was good for second place behind Straight Outta Compton. The film, which cost just $3M to produce was able to translate its strong brand recognition into a very strong debut. With strong word of mouth, War Room could very easily play well throughout the next month and end up with over $40M total.

No Escape was the weekends new microbudget action film, and it did decent business over its five day start. For the weekend, it’s taken in around $8M, and $10M since Wednesday. Considering its controversial concept, low marketing and $5M budget, this is a solid result. Releasing an thriller or crime themed film the Wednesday before the last weekend in August is hardly a new idea, however. 2014 had The November Man, 2013 had Closed Circuit, 2012 had Lawless, 2011 had The Debt, and so on. Even though it seemed like something that should’ve gone straight to On Demand, audiences still enjoyed it, giving it a solid B+ Cinemascore. However, films around this time of year tend to be very front loaded, and No Escape probably won’t make it past the $25M mark domestic.

We Are Your Friends was the big story, however, with an atrocious $1.8M in 2,333 theaters. That gives it a per theater average of just $771, meaning each theater sold around 75 tickets this weekend. That’s the worst start at over 2,000 theaters for a live action film (no, Saw 10th Anniversary doesn’t count), and the fourth worst overall behind several obscure animated films. Releasing a film aimed at college students right when college was starting was never a good idea, but selling a film about the hardships of some spoiled rich white kids using their MacBooks at parties wasn’t exactly a guaranteed hit. Both people that did show up didn’t like it, giving it a terrible C+ Cinemascore, meaning it will likely have one of the biggest theater drops of all time in two weeks. Look for this to drop off quickly with a worldwide total of less than $10M. Even though the film only cost $2M to produce, throw in marketing costs and just how low this debut is and its officially a flop.

Straight Outta Compton reigned supreme in its third weekend, taking in another $13M on the last weekend of summer. So far, it’s domestic total has reached an excellent $134M. If it continues this trend it should easily wind up with over $160M, a fantastic result no matter how you slice it.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation fell just 28% in its fifth weekend to $8.3M, bringing its new domestic total up to $170M. It finally passed the adjusted gross of Mission Impossible 3 at $166M, and will likely be able to wind up with around $185M total. Given that summer sequels to Christmas films tend to have much bigger drop offs than that, this is a very strong result.

Sinister 2 dropped 56% down to $4.6M in its second weekend. That’s not a great hold, but it’s a lot better than it had any right to do. Typically, late August horror films are very front loaded, and so are horror sequels. Sinister 2 is both of those yet still managed to buck that trend.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E took in another $4.4M, down 40% and bringing its new domestic total to $34M. That’s a poor three week total, and likely will just barely cross the $40M mark domestically. Overseas isn’t doing much better. While it hasn’t yet been reported for this weekend, it’s at just $26M, meaning this will almost certainly end up as a write off for Warner Brothers.

Jurassic World was rereleased into IMAX and Large Format theaters, and that turned out to be a very good idea. It went up a whopping 229% to pull in another $3M this weekend. That let the dinosaur flick top the $640M mark, pushing it up to 23rd all time ahead of the adjusted gross of The Godfather. Currently it is sitting at $643M domestic and $1.62B worldwide. I think it’s safe to call this one a win.

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