To say "The Fault in Our Stars" edged out Tom Cruise's sci-fi epic "Edge of Tomorrow" would be an understatement, OK?
The Fox snifflefest took in $48.2 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Fox, surpassing early projections of ticket sales in the $40 million to $45 million range. A bigger return was somewhat written in the stars after its Friday box office totaled a whopping $26 million.
Overall, its three-day, box-office total is more than four times the cost of the romantic drama, which had a price tag of $12 million.
Adapted from John Green's wildly popular YA novel "Fault," the film explores the relationship between two teen cancer patients, played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Directed by Josh Boone, it was shown in 3,173 theaters and received an "A" CinemaScore grade from audiences, the bulk of which were females under the age of 25, and an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"It was more than an OK opening number," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for Fox, giving a nod to the book's popular expression. "This is a film that has tremendous playability, and I think the general audience will continue to find us as the weeks go on."
"Fault's" surprising weekend, along with Disney's strong-performing "Maleficent," also demonstrates the power of catering to the female demographic during a season traditionally outfitted with male-slanted action and superhero films.
"I think the answer lies in the box office," Aronson said. "It's pretty extraordinary and it shouldn't be easily dismissed."
The Cruise vehicle "Edge of Tomorrow," meanwhile, didn't shine quite as brightly. The splashy Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow picture took in $29.1 million domestically, with its play in IMAX theaters contributing to 14% of its gross, according to an estimate from Warner Bros. Coming in just below its projected total, its chances of recouping the film's $178-million cost became that much tougher.
Jeffrey Goldstein, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., downplayed the film's below-expections opening weekend, saying the weeks ahead are what matter. "The real test is how it does next week and the week after and the week after. And I think we'll find that it holds up."
"Edge" came in significantly below the debut of Cruise's last film, also a sci-fi epic, "Oblivion." That filmed opened to $37.1 million in April 2013.
The hope is that the big-budget actioner's overseas performance will pick up the slack given Cruise's star power in foreign markets.
The Doug Liman-directed film, which stars Cruise as a military spin doctor in a "Groundhog Day"-esque sci-fi war film, was critically lauded but faces a stricter test from audiences — the vast majority of which were male (61%) — who gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.
But it wasn't enough to cruise past last week's box-office queen, Disney's "Maleficent." The Angelina Jolie starrer, in its second week, ranked No. 2 with $33.5 million. It easily helped the live-action film cross the $100-million benchmark, bringing its domestic total to just over $127 million after 10 days of release.
Fox's other summer entrant, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" added $14.7 million to its North American box-office total in its third week — bringing its total to $189.1 million domestically after having easily crossed the half a billion threshold globally.