B.O. Roundup, September 19-21: 'The Maze Runner' Sprints to First Place

Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:48 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, September 19-21: 'The Maze Runner' Sprints to First Place

Many adaptations of bestselling young adult novel series have tried to launch movie franchises.  A few have succeeded.  Most have gone nowhere.  For every Hunger Games, there are two or three misfires like Beautiful Creatures or Vampire Academy.

The Maze Runner has avoided the fate of, say, The Mortal Instruments, opening to the tune of $32.5 million this weekend.

That easily put The Maze Runner at the number one spot on the domestic box office charts, more than doubling the take of the second place finisher, A Walk Among the Tombstones.

20th Century Fox, which released The Maze Runner in 3,604 locations in North America, was predicting an opening between $20 million and $30 million.  The film, the feature directorial debut of Wes Ball, zipped past those cautious projections for one of the bigger September debuts on the books.  The movie was considerably cheaper than many of its fellow YA adaptations, but it's drawing in audiences at home and abroad: The Maze Runner has already collected $49.0 million in international markets.  The adventure's global total now stands at $81.5 million.

The Maze Runner confirms the commercial potency of Dylan O'Brien, one of the exceedingly popular stars of MTV's Teen Wolf (check out our IAR Interview with O'Brien). 

Its strong first weekend also ensures that James Dashner's scifi novel series is going full franchise.  This morning, Fox announced that the sequel, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials will open in theaters in less than a year, on September 18, 2015.  Dashner's books consists of a trilogy and a prequel, so expect plenty more maze-running over the next few years.

As mentioned, A Walk Among the Tombstones came in a pretty distant second place.  The dark, R-rated crime thriller opened in 2,712 locations, from which it earned an estimated $13.1 million.

Universal Pictures had pegged A Walk Among the Tombstones to collect a figure in the mid-to-high teens, so the cinematic debut of literary P.I. Matt Scudder didn't live up to expectations.  It's also notably low for Liam Neeson in a macho leading man role, but A Walk Among the Tombstones is a more serious film than his recent simple-concept action movies like Taken or Non-Stop.

In third place there's one last new wide release, This Is Where I Leave You. A comedy-drama boasting an undeniably talented, high-profile ensemble, the latest from director Shawn Levy nonetheless underwhelmed at the box office, collecting $11.8 million from 2,868 theaters, according to current estimates.  The critical battering This Is Where I Leave You almost certainly hurt it, since this sort of grown-up drama can actually benefit commercially from critical adulation.

For anybody keeping track, all three top movies this week are all based on novels.

Anywho, here are the top ten motion pictures in the U.S. and Canada:

1. The Maze Runner........................................................$32.5 million...............New Release

2. A Walk Among the Tombstones................................$13.1 million...............New Release

3. This Is Where I Leave You.........................................$11.8 million...............New Release

4. No Good Deed............................................................$10.8 million...............$40.1 million

5. Dolphin Tale 2.............................................................$9.0 million.................$27.0 million

6. Guardians of the Galaxy............................................$5.1 million.................$313.6 million

7. Let's Be Cops..............................................................$2.6 million.................$77.1 million

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles....................................$2.6 million.................$185.0 million

9. The Drop......................................................................$2.0 million.................$7.6 million

10. If I Stay.......................................................................$1.8 million.................$47.6 million

The Equalizer, which reunites Training Day star Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, is almost guaranteed to sit atop the box office heap next week.  The coming weekend also finds Laika's stop-motion animated romp The Boxtrolls opening nationwide.


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