By Saba Hamedy
LOS Angeles Times Male strippers and the return of the Terminator were not enough to excite moviegoers, who instead flocked to leftovers, such as Jurassic World and Inside Out this Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Warner Bros.’s Magic Mike XXL and Paramount Pictures’s Terminator Genisys fell short of tracking expectations, grossing an estimated $12 million and $28.7 million, respectively, Friday through Sunday in the US and Canada.
The films, which opened on Wednesday, were expected to gross $50 million to $60 million through the weekend; instead Terminator Genisys had an estimated five-day total of $44.2 million, and Magic Mike XXL had a total of $27.1 million.
Meanwhile, Jurassic World and Inside Out maintained the top 2 spots at the box office. Universal Pictures’s latest dinosaur adventure made $30.9 million in its fourth weekend, raising its domestic haul to $558.2 million. Pixar’s critically acclaimed animated feature added $30.1 million, bringing its total to $246.2 million.
The Fourth of July falling on a Saturday dealt a blow to ticket sales, as some moviegoers likely skipped theaters for barbecues and fireworks. The holiday can be one of the most robust of the year. In 2011 when the Fourth of July fell on a Monday, Transformers: Dark of the Moon set records with a $97.8-million holiday weekend opening.
This year, however, “the box office was off,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.’s head of domestic distribution. “In some respects, the Fourth of July is becoming more and more like a Super Bowl day where, even if you aren’t into the fireworks, you are doing other things.”
The last time the holiday fell on a Saturday was in 2009, when Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Public Enemies went up against Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. All three of the top films had relatively soft weekends, and grosses fell 33 percent to 40 percent from Friday to Saturday.
“We all expected the Saturday to be off, but it felt like everyone was still at work on Wednesday and Thursday and not focused on holiday moviegoing,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s president of domestic marketing and distribution. “The start for the weekend didn’t feel as exuberant as it needed to feel across the board.”
Still, the box office was up 4 percent from this time last year, when Tammy, Earth to Echo and Deliver Us From Evil failed to deliver big numbers at the box office. The summer of 2014 ranked as the worst summer box office since 1997, when adjusted for inflation. Year-todate, the 2015 box office is up almost 7 percent.
Terminator Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, is the fifth installment in the franchise. To date, the Terminator films have grossed more than $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office since the original 1984 film by James Cameron.
Genisys follows Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), who is sent back to 1984 by John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future. An unexpected turn of events creates a fractured time line, leading Reese, Connor and a Terminator ally (Arnold Schwarzenegger) on a mission to reset the future.
The film, which cost $155 million to make, earned a “B+” from audience polling firm CinemaScore but a paltry 27-percent positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. An estimated 65 percent of moviegoers were 25 and older, and 62 percent were male. An estimated 45 percent of domestic ticket sales were 3D, including 12 percent from IMAX theaters.
Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions hoped to recapture the fan base of the Terminator franchise while also drawing in a new generation of moviegoers. Sixth and seventh installments are reportedly on deck.
Internationally, Schwarzenegger’s global appeal helped to gross $85.5 million, bringing the film’s worldwide total to $129.6 million through Sunday. Genisys opened at No. 1 in 28 markets, giving Schwarzenegger his best international box office debut ever. “The Terminator is a character people really know and connect with,” Colligan said. “In the end, how we perform globally is what matters.”
The film is scheduled to open next weekend in Japan, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The Magic Mike sequel, released by Warner Bros., offered solid counterprogramming to the sci-fi franchise, evident in an audience that was 96-percent female. An estimated 73 percent of moviegoers were older than 25.
Moviegoers gave the R-rated male dancer drama an “A-” on CinemaScore. It has also racked up a decent 63-percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“I’m a little disappointed in the total result for the weekend, but it played so differently than the last one,” Fellman said. “I think what happened to us was on Wednesday and Thursday we were strong, but as the weekend developed, we slipped below what I had hoped for.” The original film, released in 2012, over performed with a robust opening of $39.2 million. It also attracted largely women, drawn to a storyline based loosely on star Channing Tatum’s experience as a stripper. Despite the lower-than-expected debut, the sequel is still a hit for Warner Bros. It cost less than $15 million to make.
XXL follows male friends (including Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez) who take a road trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to perform at a stripper convention. Universal’s comedy Ted 2 rounded out the top 5 with $11 million in its second weekend, a 67-percent drop from its debut.
Meanwhile, propelled by strong reviews, the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy collected $222,000 in six theaters for a per-location average of about $37,000. The film is being released by A24.