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‘Purge’ Scares Up Boffo $36.4 Mil, While ‘Internship’ Surprises With $18.1 Mil

Stateside flop 'After Earth' kickstarts overseas with OK $45.5 million

Universal’s micro-budgeted scarer “The Purge,” from Blumhouse Productions, screamed into theaters with a fantastic $36.4 million domestic start, outdoing even the most ambitious expectations in the $20 million range. Fox’s PG-13-rated comedy “The Internship” also did better than expected, grossing $18.1 million through Sunday.

Internationally, Sony’s Stateside disappointment “After Earth” kicked off with an estimated $45.5 million from 60 new territories, for a worldwide cume of $95.2 million and counting. The film’s overseas start is much better news than last weekend’s domestic bellyflop, though it’ll take some serious offshore playability for the $100 million-plus film to land anywhere near profitability.

The robust moviegoing weekend is a welcome surprise since box office was expected to slump majorly.

That said, totals still landed roughly 15% behind this time last year’s extremely high bar, with “Madagascar 3” opening to $60 million and “Prometheus” earning $50 million-plus during its debut frame.

Holdovers contributed considerable coin this weekend: Universal’s “Fast and Furious 6,” down a remarkable 44%, estimated $19.8 million in its third weekend, while Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me” dropped a mere 34% in its second outing with a projected $19.5 million. “Fast and Furious” has grossed $202 million domestically; “Now You See Me” reached north of $61 million.

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Entering its fourth Stateside frame, “Star Trek Into Darkness” also crossed the $200 million domestic threshold, with a worldwide tally nearing $400 million. “Fast and Furious” approaches $600 million globally.

In limited release, Joss Whedon’s black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” grossed a solid $36,680 per-screen average. The film opened at five locations in New York, L.A. and San Francisco, setting a new house record for a Saturday night ($15,027) at Lincoln Center in Gotham.

Roadside Attractions, in partnership with Lionsgate, expands “Ado” to 200-300 locations on June 21.

Micro-budget, Major upside

As for “The Purge,” Universal took a risk by going against the trend of dating horror films in either September or January, which resulted in the highest non-franchise opening for producer Jason Blum, as well as the largest bow for Ethan Hawke and director James DeMonaco.

Nikki Rocco, prexy of domestic distribution for Universal, said the film’s low budget of $3 million allowed the studio to go ahead and try for the summer slot.

“We saw an opportunity here and we had very low risk,” Rocco said. “This picture will be hugely profitable for the studio.”

“Purge,” which also opened in the U.K. and Poland this weekend earning $3.5 million, should leg out to make between $70 million and $75 million domestically. That’s typical of most horror films as they tend to be quick burns (and “The Purge” scored a poor ‘C’ CinemaScore rating). Moreover, Warner-New Line’s scarer “The Conjuring,” which has been generating lots of heat, opens July 19.

Not surprisingly, “The Purge” earned 33% of its bow from Hispanics, with women contributing 56% of the opening.

The Internship,” meanwhile, played evenly between the genders, but skewed 61% toward auds over 25. The film still scored best with auds under-25, receiving an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore, compared to its overall ‘B+’ rating.

“The appeal of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson tends to skew a bit older,” said Fox distribution prexy Chris Aronson. “But the under-25 crowd can relate because they’re also facing a very difficult job market.”

“Internship” follows Vaughn and Wilson as two recently laid-off men, who decide to get an internship with Google. The $58 million-budgeted film, which benefited from a less-restrictive PG-13 rating, should show off nice legs as upcoming comedies such as “This Is the End” and “The Heat” both are rated R.

What lies after for ‘Earth’?

Falling considerably was “After Earth,” which dropped 59% in its second domestic outing. The film ranked No. 7 earning an estimated $11.2 million, bringing its Stateside tally to nearly $47 million.

The film’s top overseas market, Russia, contributed $8.5 million this weekend, doubling the market’s No. 2 film, “The Hangover Part III.” In Mexico, “After Earth” grossed $5.4 million, followed by France and the U.K., which contributed $4 million and $3.5 million, respectively.

Comparatively, “After Earth” did a tad better than similarly-targeted films such as “Oblivion” and “Total Recall.” Ultimately, however, neither of those films were profitable, and both played outside the heat of summer.

In the coming weeks, “After Earth” will go up against “Man of Steel,” “World War Z” and “The Lone Ranger,” all looking for a piece of the overseas summer pie.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. The Purge (1): $36.4; 2,536; $14,345; $36.4; —
  2. Fast and Furious 6 (3): $19.8; 3,771; $5,240; $202.9; -44%
  3. Now You See Me (2): $19.5; 3,020; $6,457; $61.4; -34%
  4. The Internship (1): $18.1; 3,366; $$5,377; $18.1; —
  5. Epic (3): $12.1; 3,594; $3,367; $84.2; -27%
  6. Star Trek Into Darkness (4): $11.7; 3,152; $3,712; $200.1; -30%
  7. After Earth (2): $11.2; 3,401; $3,293; $46.6; -59%
  8. The Hangover Part III (3): $7.4; 3,242; $2,276; $102.4; -55%
  9. Iron Man 3 (6): $5.8; 2,351; $2,461; $394.3; -32%
  10. The Great Gatsby (5): $4.2; 2,160; $1,958; $136.2; -35%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; World cume*; Percentage change

  1. After Earth (2): $45.5; 61; n/a; $48.6; $95.2; +999%
  2. Fast and Furious 6 (4): $45.3; 62; 8,200; $381.7; $584.6; -39%
  3. The Hangover Part III (3): $34.8; 56; 8,300; $170.5; $272.9; -59%
  4. Star Trek Into Darkness (5): $17.6; 52; 12,123; $176.4; $376.5; -54%
  5. Epic (4): $12.7; 60; 8,975; $107.1; $191.3; -57%

*in millions of $

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