Fox’s The Maze Runner grabbed $1.1M in late-night showings at 2,200 locations starting at 10 PM. The best comparison is probably the sci-fi actioner Ender’s Game, which launched with $1.4 million in November 2013 and went on to have an opening weekend gross of $27M (on the other hand, it cost three times more than Maze Runner). So, perhaps Fox is more on the money with a lower estimate for this weekend.
Another comparison title is this year’s other YA sci-fi actioner — Divergent (Summit/LGF). It grabbed $4.9M in late nights that started at 8 PM and went on to gross $54.6M in its first weekend out. Of course, that one was driven by the young female demo. The Maze Runner is tapping in with the young male audience better, so we will have to see how that translates tonight — which will probably be front-loaded with YA fans. Fan reviews for the film are pretty good.
Universal is reporting that Liam Neeson’s most recent outing as an action star, A Walk Among the Tombstones, grossed $428,000 in late-night shows that began at 8 PM in 1,918 theaters. By comparison, Neeson’s Non-Stop grossed $720,000 in 1,928 late-night spots and went on to open to $28.8M when it bowed in February. The Grey took in $150,000 in late-nights, going on to an opening three-day weekend of $19.6M in January, 2012.
What’s not great news for Tombstones is advance ticket sales, with Fandango reporting this morning that purchases are actually lower than that for Jason Bateman’s comedy This is Where I Leave You (WB) — which is kind of surprising. The Maze Runner represents more than 50% of Fandango’s weekend ticket sales.
Warner Bros. is not reporting late night grosses for This is Where I Leave You, but our sources tell us its around $100,000 which is not great. Too bad as everyone I speak with seems to love Jason Bateman — one of the truly decent guys in this industry, apparently. Sorry, guys.
In terms of social media, the strong YA base across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Maze Runner has won hands down. No surprise there, but to give a snapshot: its YouTube trailer has exceeded 19M views, which shows strong intent and is 3x’s that of the other two newcomers, Walk Among The Tombstones and the adult comedy This is Where I Leave You.
Showing the strength of the YA demo, RelishMix reports that both #MazeRunner and #TheMazeRunner combined hashtags are rising about 10,000 a day and growing over the week with an Instagram cross promotion with MTV, IGN, Teen Vogue and with Pretty Little Liars.
The Maze Runner’s star, Dylan O’Brien, is the lead of MTV’s Teen Wolf. MTV’s reach alone on social media is key for this type of film as its key demographic are ages 12 to 24. MTV can boast more than 60 channels and reaches about 700 million households around the globe (and through syndication). That’s why political candidates always want their MTV.
O’Brien’s also the social media star of this weekend’s openers with 2 million Twitter followers who re-tweet more than 18,000 times per post over Jason Bateman (This is Where I Leave You) with 1.4 million Twitter followers. On Facebook, franchise-bound The Maze Runner’s official FaceBook page just topped 900,000 this morning with PTAT — a Facebook metric that’s an acronym for People Talking About This and refers to how many people have liked, commented and shared a page — growing by 30% in the past few days.