Memorial Day Weekend Box Office Drops 28 Percent, What’s Behind the Fall?

x men days of future past

X-Men: Days of Future Pastdominated the Memorial Day weekend box office and is on pace to become the highest-grossing film in the mutant franchise’s 14-year history.

However, domestic ticket sales dropped 28% to $227 million for the four-day period, according to BoxOffice.com. That was below the roughly $240 million that most analysts expected the theatrical market would hit and a shadow of last year’s record-breaking $316 million figure.

“‘X-Men’ did fine, but you had a pretty steep decline with ‘Godzilla,’ and ‘Blended’ just tanked,” Eric Handler, managing director of MKM Partners, said. “Those two films were the bigger issues.”

The major hurdle that the domestic box office faced was that, aside from “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Blended,” there were no other major releases debuting in the marketplace. In contrast, Memorial Day 2013 saw the premieres of “Fast & Furious 6,” “The Hangover Part III” and “Epic.”

“If there had been a third major movie opening this year, we’d be looking at a very different situation,” Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com, said. “Too many weekends fall victim to this mentality that it has to break a record or it’s a disappointment.”

In terms of this year’s offerings, “Blended,” a romantic comedy reuniting Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, failed to recapture the spark that ignited “50 First Dates” and “The Wedding Singer,” tanking with less than $20 million over the long weekend. That made it Sandler’s second-weakest opening ever for a film that kicked off on more than 3,000 screens. It was also far below the $30 million that analysts had projected it would make.

Though “Godzilla” continued to be a monster at the international box office, the reboot fell steeply in its second week of U.S. release. The picture saw its box office tally drop by nearly 66% to roughly $39 million, which pushed the overall numbers lower than anticipated.

Year-to-date, the domestic box office is still up more than 3%, but going into this summer many exhibitors and analysts are bracing for some choppy waters. The issue is that on paper this year’s crop of blockbusters — “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” — will have a hard time scaling the heights of “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel,” “Monsters University” and “World War Z.”

At last week’s JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, for example, Regal Entertainment Group CEO Amy Miles and CFO David Ownby admitted that this year might fall short of last year’s ticket sales, but talked up the return of the Superman, Star Wars and Avengers franchises over the next two years.

“It’s really hard not to be excited from a box office perspective when you look further into 2015 and 2016,” she said.

However, some box office prognosticators are feeling better about the exhibition and movie business’ more immediate prospects, noting that the success of spring hits such as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and this summer’s “Neighbors” and “Godzilla” have kicked off the first half of 2014 in strong form.

Also helping inject optimism into annual forecasts was DreamWorks Animation’s decision to shift “Home” out of its November release date and replace it with “Penguins of Madagascar,” a spin-off of the “Madagascar” franchise that will arrive in theaters with higher brand-awareness.

“I still don’t think we’ll be up this year, but we’ve had a relatively solid start to summer,” Eric Wold, a box office analyst with B. Riley & Co., said. “Summer is looking less bad than it was a few months ago.”

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  1. Barbara Jean says:

    I saw Blended and I thought it was great entertainment. Adam Sandler wasn’t his usually silly self and was in a more serious role. I thought Drew Barrymore was great too. I laughed alot and thought it was light and enjoyable.

  2. Roger Tyson says:

    “Top 10 Signs The Summer Movie Season Is Upon Us”:

    Hint: Oscar is on vacation…

  3. With films like Blended and Godzilla’s 2nd weekend what did people exspect.

  4. RMW says:

    ‘X-men DOFP’ is viewed as something of a triumph yet its three-day opening gross is actually lower than that of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ which is now viewed as something of a disappointment. So how do the comparisons work?

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/showdowns/chart/?view=daily&id=2014openers.htm

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      If MALIFECENT has a huge opening, I don’t think X MEN will recoup its costs and as it is, it’s already starting to be karma time for Singer.

  5. Millard says:

    I am waiting for Jersey Boys !!!

  6. Outstanding.. May this trend of spending quality time on a holiday with friends and family continue.

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      Considering today’s movies, yes. For myself, took a quick drive to LA for a 70mm screening of WEST SIDE STORY.

  7. Scott MacDonough says:

    The only movie I was interested in seeing this past weekend was “The Normal Heart” on HBO. It was excellent and towered above any of the costly tentpoles contaminating the plexes.

  8. srvwp2013 says:

    Terri is correct. Hollywood is delusional. It will step up and defend itself against those who criticize Seth Rogen and others, but the fact remains that media in general, including movies, video games, music, etc. have all been a part of the decline of culture, behavior and mental and physical health — especially in the United States. Studios, Producers, Directors, et. al CAN make good movies, but good movies are simply not being made. The magnet of the adolescents and the 18-34 demographic means pandering to unreal expectations of sex and a scenario of gunplay that does not exist in the real world. When actors in movies are shot they get up off the floor and move on to the next scene. When people on the street are shot, or run over by vehicles they usually do not move on the next expected scene in their life. It is obvious that Gun Control is not working. We are wasting resources trying to rid ourselves of the NRA. The battle that should be being waged is a national project with overwhelming force and shock and awe to identify and treat mental illness from birth to death. Hollywood needs to emphasize the real priorities of our lives and not be laser focused on the millions and billions of box office from weekend to weekend. Most people would agree that they don’t want war. With a title such as “World of Warcraft” what other behaviour could be expected from a mentally ill fellow such as Rodger. The American people and most of the world want good health — both mental and physical. Our resources should be engaged towards a positive; for politicians and the general population being able to vote for a positive is always better than to continue wasting our rhetoric, time, money, etc. against the likes of the negativity of NRA. With a massive national campaign to identify and treat mental illness, the NRA will be marginalized. As the largest media source on the planet, Hollywood has a responsibility to bring positive, rational, life affirming films and other media to the world. No one is trying to censure or dictate material here, but when we look back at the so-called “Golden Age” of Hollywood it bears no relation to the material being produced for consumption today. Most of what is coming out of Hollywood is sophomoric, adolescent, schoolboy and fraternity prank humiliation, embarrassment, denigration — the whole range of treating human beings as less than human.

    • Sal U. Lloyd says:

      People need to learn to tell stories. Period. No good story, no good movie. Stop reinventing stuff.

  9. Jake says:

    How did Godzilla “continue to be monster overseas”when it fell from 103 mil to 34 mil? A percentage drop of roughly 67%. Which is the almost the same percentage drop for its US gross this weekend, which you referred to as steep.

  10. terri says:

    How about there were no good movies out this weekend. Hollywood is delusional to think we’re going to spend money to see that Godzilla movie again. X-men really wasn’t worth the money. I had no desire to see anything this weekend.

  11. F S N says:

    Reblogged this on Global News Now.

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