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.' "Magic Mike XXL" and Paramount Pictures' "Terminator Genisys" fell short of tracking expectations, grossing an estimated $12 million and $28.7 million, respectively, Friday through Sunday in the United States 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 two spots at the box office. Universal Pictures’ 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.' 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% to 40% from Friday to Saturday.
"We all expected the Saturday to be off, but it felt like everyone was still at work 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% 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-to-date, the 2015 box office is up almost 7%.
"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-plus from audience polling firm CinemaScore but a paltry 27% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. An estimated 65% of moviegoers were 25 and older, and 62% were male. An estimated 45% of domestic ticket sales were 3-D, including 12% 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% female. An estimated 73% of moviegoers were older than 25.
Moviegoers gave the R-rated male dancer drama an A-minus on CinemaScore. It has also racked up a decent 63% 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, overperformed 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, S.C., to perform at a stripper convention.
Universal's comedy "Ted 2" rounded out the top five with $11 million in its second weekend, a 67% 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.
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