Producer Will Packer is having a great year. Four of his low-budget releases in 2014, all of which have a predominantly African-American featured cast, have opened to more than $20 million. His latest triumph is the home invasion thriller No Good Deed, which debuted to $24.5 million – almost twice its production cost of $13 million. (The other three titles are Ride Along, About Last Night… and Think Like a Man Too.) That opening was beyond industry expectations; however, with 60% of the crowd being females and few estrogen-leaning titles out in late summer, the big opening should not be much of a surprise.
No Good Deed marks a big opening for Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, actors who have built a following from film and television but have never capably opened a film to a good-size gross on their own. With a per-theater average of more than $11,000, No Good Deed‘s debut was similar to that of Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself, which opened on this same weekend in 2009 and also starred Henson.
Another sequel aimed at families under-performed this weekend, as Dolphin Tale 2 had a moderate second-place opening, with $16.6 million. That was 14% behind the first weekend of its predecessor, which opened to $19.2 million three years ago. With families abandoning kid-aimed movies this summer, there is likely a lack of awareness for this fall’s family options. (Do not be surprised if The Boxtrolls opens to mild results on September 26.)
However, the opening was not that bad. The buzz was not there, as the sequel did little to differentiate itself from the original in its marketing, so this drop was expected. Meanwhile, the film actually had slightly better holds on Saturday and Sunday than its predecessor, a rare feat for a sequel. An A CinemaScore also indicates sunny skies ahead for the film. (The original closed at $72.2 million, and this could come close to that mark if word-of-mouth is strong.) At the same time, the original film did open against The Lion King 3D. This year, there are few options in the marketplace for families, unless you count Guardians of the Galaxy as competition for grade-school kids.
Speaking of that title, Guardians of the Galaxy continued its explosive box-office run, dropping to third but also losing just 23% of receipts from last weekend. Its $8 million take in its seventh weekend is quite impressive. On Saturday, the Marvel Studios adventure crossed the $300 million threshold, and is the first film to do so in North America this year. Expect the title to close with around $325 million.