Memorial Day tends to be a busy weekend for the summer box office with record-breaking tentpole franchises often offering their latest installments. This weekend, we instead got a family sci-fi adventure movie based on an original idea and a horror remake, and business was spread out fairly evenly between them and three popular returning movies. As always, studios offered estimates for the weekend, but some also projected how well the movies might do over the four-day holiday weekend, so expect these numbers to change once Saturday actuals and Sunday estimates are reported on Monday. (UPDATE: Studio estimates for the four-day weekend are starting to be updated based on actuals for Friday and Saturday.)
Walt Disney Pictures opened Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles) latest movie, the sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie and Raffey Cassidy, in 3,972 theaters on Friday (forsaking the usual Thursday previews). It was #1 on Friday with $9.7 million and Disney has projected that the movie will end up with $32.3 million over the three-day weekend and $40.7 million over the four days, making it the top movie of the weekend. $5 million of that amount can be credited to its 354 IMAX screens in North America.
Tomorrowland also opened internationally in 56% of the territories including France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Mexico and the UK, with Russia leading the way with $3.6 million for an opening weekend of $26.7 million overseas for a first weekend of $59 million worldwide (through Sunday only).
Last week’s breakout hit sequel Pitch Perfect 2 fell to second place with an estimated $30.3 million for the three-day weekend (down 56%) and projected $37.9 million for the four days including Monday. Overseas, the musical sequel added another $15.2 million in 37 markets to bring its overseas box office to $61.7 million and global total to $187.1 million in just three weeks.
George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keough and Zoe Kravitz, had a smaller drop than Pitch Perfect 2, down 31% with an estimated $23.9 million over the three-day weekend (UPDATE: Warner Bros. is reporting a slightly higher three-day of $24.8 million and $32.1 million over the four-day weekend, which is down just 29% from last weekend. It has grossed $95.5 million domestically so far.) Mad Max: Fury Road added another $38.2 million internationally, bringing its overseas total to $124.3 million for a global total of $212 million. Korea added another $6.1 million to its total of $14.9 million, while it was #1 in the UK with $4 million, besting both Tomorrowland and Poltergeist. $1.8 million of Mad Max: Fury Road‘s international gross came from IMAX screens, bringing its IMAX total to $7.7 million.
Back in North America, 20th Century Fox’s remake of the horror classic Poltergeist, starring Jared Harris, Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, opened in 3,240 theaters with $23 million for its first three days, or $7,100 per theater. It grossed $8.3 million internationally in 35 markets including the UK and Brazil. (UPDATE: Fox has lowered their three-day estimate for Poltergeist to $22.6 million with $26.5 million including Monday.)
Fifth place went to Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Age of Ultron, which crossed the $400 million mark domestically over the weekend, only the 20th movie to ever reach that plateau, as it added another $20.9 million over the three-day weekend and a projected $26.8 million including Monday. It could be in a fairly tight race with Poltergeist for fourth place depending on how that holds up on Monday. Globally, Avengers added another $66.7 million to bring its worldwide total to $1.263 billion.
Everything else made less than $5 million over the weekend as the Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit (MGM/New Line/WB) scored $3.5 million over the three-day weekend with $28.9 million through Sunday. (UPDATE: Warner Bros. is reporting $4.6 million for the four-day weekend bringing Hot Pursuit‘s domestic total to $30 million.)
Thomas Vinterberg’s period drama Far from the Madding Crowd (Fox Searchlight), starring Carey Mulligan, expanded nationwide into 865 theaters after a month-long limited release and took seventh place with a three-day take of $2.3 million or $2,636 per theater. It has grossed $5.4 million so far. (UPDATE: Estimate for Memorial Day Monday is $665,000, bringing its four-day to $3 million and $6.1 total.)
In eighth place, Universal Pictures’ Furious 7 is projected to add another $2.6 million over the four-day weekend as it edges closer to $350 million with $347.5 million grossed domestically in eight weeks. Globally, it’s just shy of $1.5 billion.
Check back tomorrow for the updated box office including the rest of the four-day totals based on Sunday and Monday estimates.