Weekend Wrap Up: “The Purge” Invades Theatres

About a month ago, when Star Trek Into Darkness debuted, I discussed how sometimes a film can have seemingly everything going for it and still inexplicably either fail or, more mildly, fall short of expectations. As such, maybe it shouldn’t be too surprising then that the opposite can happen. A film with little going for it can completely break out and destroy expectations. That, my friends, is what happened this weekend with The Purge.

The Purge

To get straight to the point, The Purge opened to an absolutely stunning $36.4 million. That is way above even the most optimistic expectations and it’s exactly double my own prediction. Now the question is, why did this film do so well? I have no idea. I honestly can’t explain it. Sure, there’s the decent concept of “all crime is legal,” but of all the interesting things could do with that premise, The Purge is just a generic home invasion thriller. It basically just has a roundabout set-up to be the same exact movie as The Strangers. It makes no difference that crime is legal.

Furthermore, there are no stars in this movie. Sorry, Ethan Hawke, your name is well-known, I suppose, but you’re hardly a box office draw. And, as I already said, the concept is wasted. Sure, we haven’t had a true horror film since April’s Evil Dead, but even with a drought like that, horror movies very rarely break the $25 million barrier, nevermind debut to a huge for the genre $36 million.

Oh, and I suppose it goes without saying that the reviews were horrible (although a 41% at Rotten Tomatoes isn’t terrible by horror movie standards). So this opening just baffles me. I guess people did find the concept interesting, and didn’t realize that the film does nothing interesting with it. However, the Purge has a terrible “C” Cinemascore (basically anything under a “B” means people hated it) so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a plunge in the neighborhood of 70% next weekend.

Two time champ Fast and Furious 6 dropped 44% to $19.8 million. Sure, its legs haven’t been great and Fast Five made slightly more in its third weekend, but the sixth entry already has an insurmountable lead. FAF6 brought the sum to $203 million and is just $6 million behind Fast Five. It’s looking like FAF6 should end up around $235 million.

The bronze medal spot belongs to the surprise summer hit, Now You See Me, which eased a slight 32% to $19.5 million, which is quite a bit more than I thought this film would make in its opening weekend, nevermind its second. Audiences are clearly under this movie’s spell and with $61.4 million in the bank, $100 million looks like a very real possibility. Our top two films this weekend just demonstrate how audiences will come out for non-franchise flicks when they look interesting (in the case of The Purge, “look” being the key word).

The Internship debuted in fourth, pulling in $18.1 million. For how painfully unfunny the previews were, I was kind of hoping this might do a little worse, but I guess the lingering starpower of Vaughn and Wilson goes a long way. Reviews for this one were savage (33% at RT), but audiences seemed to like it well enough (B+ Cinemascore, 74% audience rating at RT). Nonetheless, I don’t expect much stamina, so a final gross in the $50-60 million range seems reasonable.

Easing just 27%, Epic pulled in $13.1 million. After a few larger than expected drops (especially for a kids’ film), this is very good news for Epic, as the total now stands at $84.2 million. Passing $100 million is a guarantee, but even if it gets up to $115 million, that’s still kind of disappointing. But, hey, at least it beat Rise of the Guardians, right?

Now four weekends old, Star Trek Into Darkness dropped 30% and grossed $11.7 million. Just inching past the double century century mark with a total of $200.1 million, Into Darkness continues to fall behind the pace of its predecessor and still looks to finish around $230-240 million. Should be interesting to see which film wins between Into Darkness and Fast and Furious 6 since they both seem headed for around the same total.

Last weekend’s number three film crashed all the way down to number seven. Collapsing 59% to $11.2 million, After Earth is now undeniably one of the biggest flops of the year. A $46.6 million total is just sad. Also falling hard, 55%, was The Hangover Part III. An additional $7.4 million brought the total to $102.4 million and it looks like this franchise will sputter to a close with a film that will struggle to gross half of what Part II earned.

Iron Man 3 continues its slow march toward $400 million. Down 31%, Tony Stark grossed $5.8 million and raised the total to $394.3 million. A total around $410 million seems about right. Finally, we wrap up the top ten with The Great Gatsby. After dropping 35%, Gatsby and company pulled in $4.2 million this weekend, bringing the grand total to $136.2 million. Not too shabby.

Well, I expected this to be an utter dud of a weekend, a mere breather before the storm that will be Man of Steel next weekend. And then it actually ended up being a pretty strong weekend, led by the flabbergasting success of The Purge. Nonetheless, The Last Son of Krypton will still easily pulverize all competitors next weekend. I’ve slowly become a believer in the potential of Man of Steel, but This is the End shouldn’t be forgotten either. Not that it has any chance to challenge Superman, but it could be in for a solid gross all its own. I’m definitely looking forward to next weekend. See ya then, everybody.

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