The speciality market grabbed the headlines at the North American weekend box office with Richard Linklater’s early Oscar hopeful, ‘Boyhood’, grossing a stunning $1.2m after expanding from five to 34 theatres during its second weekend in play. This follows last weekend’s exploits when the family drama became this year’s second-highest limited opening on the back of a huge $71,800 per-screen average. Linklater spent twelve years making the film with the same cast and won best director at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
At the other end of the scale, Fox’s ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ retained the No. 1 spot with a strong $36m second weekend hold. Its 51% week-on-week fall (48% after stripping out its opening Thursday previews) is comfortably below the average for this summer’s blockbusters.
Universal’s ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ was the only weekend wide release to offer any resistance. The horror sequel exceeded expectations with a strong $28.3m after a receiving a B’ CinemaScore – high for the notoriously hard marking horror crowd – against a $9m production budget. It was the best horror opening of the year so far.
‘Cars’ spinoff ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ came third with a satisfactory $18m but Disney will be looking for a sustained run after first night audiences awarded the family animation an ‘A’ CinemaScore.
Sony’s $40m R-rated ‘Sex Tape’, the other wide weekend opener, never recovered from a damaging ‘C+’ CinemaScore and finished the weekend on a poor $15m, a good $10m below market forecasts.
The critics didn’t particularly care for any of the new releases. ‘Anarchy’ scored the highest on RT with 54%, being 8% higher than ‘Planes’ and over twice ‘Sex Tapes’ abysmal aggregate rating.
The overall box office was down 25% from last year’s corresponding session as the summer season continued to struggle.
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