Prior to Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age Of Extinction bow this weekend — and it’s tracking to big numbers and could be the first movie in 2014 to have a $100M opening – the first half of the year has been fairly flat compared to last year. It has, however, seen two movies in a virtual dead heat for the title of biggest grosser domestically so far. Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie, which opened February 7, and Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, released April 4. After this weekend, these two films are only $6,038 apart. Meanwhile, Disney’s Maleficent is expected to pass Godzilla by the end of its run. The Angelina Jolie-starring fantasy film opened to $69.4M already has grossed $185.8M and is still playing strong in its fourth week of release. By comparison, Godzilla opened to $93.1M six weeks ago and is at $194.98M after grabbing another $1.8M over the three-day.
Here are the biggest domestic grossers of 2014 for the first half of the year. Ranking six to 10 are Maleficent, Divergent (LGF), Neighbors, Ride Along and Rio 2. And the Top Five that U.S. audiences reacted to?
That’s not to say that any of these were the most profitable films of the first half of the year, as there are many factors to take into account when determining profitability — production tax benefits, domestic and international marketing and distribution costs, profit participations, home entertainment, etc. Some of the more profitable films are very obvious, such as Fox’s The Fault In Our Stars ($12M negative and $98.69M in three weeks of release) and Fox Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel from Wes Anderson ($58.3M domestically and over $100M internationally), or TriStar’s Heaven Is For Real from filmmakers Randall Wallace ($89.8M). There’s also Universal’s Ride Along from Tim Story, Kevin Hart and Will Packer (around $25M and grossed $134.2M), the Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors ($145.7M and $238.2M ww), Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s Son Of God ($59.7M), and the little movie God’s Not Dead (a $2M negative get that grossed $60.4M).
“It would be really interesting to see what profitability rate is,” said Paul Dergarabedian, SVP Media Analyst at Rentrak. You can have a great box office and not have profitability.” You can also have lousy box office numbers on big-budget films.
Some of the big profit losers also are quite apparent: Pompeii ($100M+ and only took in $23.2M) and Transcendence ($100M+ budgeted and grossed only $23M) immediately come to mind. Looking ahead for the little picture that could in the coming months, I’d lay bets on the Oscar-worthy Boyhood from director Richard Linklater, which bows July 11 from IFC. Great picture, and the 164-minute running time is not problematic as it keeps you engaged throughout. And it’s only a $2.5M budget.