Studio Weekend Estimates: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Earns A Magnificent $35.0M; ‘Storks’ Flaps Its Wings To $18.5M

From Box Office Pro

Sony/Columbia’s The Magnificent Seven shot its way to first place at the box office this weekend, with an estimated $35.0 million debut. The Western action film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke as members of a vigilante group defending their hometown against an invading industrialist. With an A- CinemaScore, the film earned a solid opening, but fell far short of the most optimistic estimates that it might contend for the highest September opening ever. In fact, it may not even have posted the best opening of this September, with the current studio weekend estimate running neck-and-neck with the $35.0 million opening for Sully two weeks ago. (Final numbers for weekend actuals come out Monday.)

Compared to other recent Western films, Magnificent Seven opened above all its competition from the past few years. It starts about 16.1 percent above the $30.12 million opening of 2012’s Django Unchained, 19.8 percent above the $29.21 million debut of 2013’s The Lone Ranger, and 40.9 percent ahead of the $24.83 million start of 2010’s True Grit. Compared to the last Denzel Washington film, it starts about 2.5 percent ahead of the $34.13 million debut of 2014’s The Equalizer on this same weekend two years ago. Compared to Washington’s last team-up with Ethan Hawke, Magnificent opens about 1.4 percent ahead of the inflation-adjusted opening for 2001’s Training Day.

The Magnificent Seven started with $12.70 million on Friday (including $1.75 million in Thursday evening shows), ticked up 8.4 percent to $13.775 million on Saturday, and is projected to decline 38.1 percent to $8.525 million on Sunday. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at an estimated 2.75 to 1. (The film is a co-financed production between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures, with MGM overseeing production, in association with LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures.)

Warner Bros.’ Storks took second place with a decent but underwhelming estimated $21.80 million opening. The animated film was about a world where storks deliver packages instead of babies and starred the voices of Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, and Jennifer Aniston. The received an A- CinemaScore from an audience that was 60 percent female and 44 percent under age 18, and actually received an impressive A+ CinemaScore from those under age 25. Compared to other recent animated films about birds, Storks starts 44.5 percent behind the $39.32 million opening of 2014’s Rio 2, and only 35.3 percent ahead of the financial disappointment that was the $16.11 million start of 2010’s Legend of the Guardians.

Storks started with $5.76 million on Friday (including $435 thousand in Thursday evening shows), increased a huge 63.8 percent to $9.44 million, and is projected to decline 30.0 percent on Sunday to $6.60 million. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at a very high estimated 3.78, which makes for the one of most back-loaded openings among wide releases this year. Most wide releases see Friday as the highest-grossing day of their opening weekend, while some make their most money on Saturday and push Friday to second-highest, but it’s very unusual indeed for a film to have Friday as its third-highest grossing day of the three-day box office weekend.

Warner Bros. took third place as well with Sully, the top film for the past two weeks, which was knocked off its perch with a 36.1 percent decline to an estimated $13.83 million. Universal’s romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Baby dropped 47.3 percent to an estimated $4.52 million in fifth place. To put that into perspective, the previous two installments in the trilogy experienced a negligible second-weekend decline of only 5.1 percent and the rarely-seen second weekend increase. Open Road Films’ Snowden rounds out the top five with a 48.2 percent drop to an estimated $4.14 million.

The top 10 films this weekend earned an estimated cumulative $93.76 million. That’s 31.8 percent above last weekend’s cumulative $71.09 million, but 25.3 percent below the $125.66 million cumulative for the same weekend last year, when Hotel Transylvania 2 led the box office.