A weak July ended with a relatively big bang; even though it was down 15 percent from the same frame last year, it was easily one of the bigger weekends of the month. Two star vehicles went head-to-head and the Scarlett Johansson-fronted Luc Besson action/sci-fi/thriller Lucy won the day, taking in $44 million. It’s one of the biggest openings ever for both Besson and Johansson, and the fifth number one opening of the year for Universal Studios, along with their fourth movie to open with more than $35 million. Lucy only had a C+ Cinemascore, so it might not have legs in the coming weeks (especially with Guardians of the Galaxy around the corner), but it’s easily going to top its budget and it’s a good omen for original-ish action movies.
The other big opener was the Dwayne Johnson/Brett Ratner collaboration Hercules, which opened in second place with $29 million. That’s a decent but not spectacular opening frame for the movie, whose budget was $100 million and whose opening weekend was about mid-range for The Rock. But given that there was another Hercules movie opening this year, the movie appealed primarily to men and it racked up nearly identical numbers overseas, the film will likely come out ahead in the end, which is more than can be said for the year’s previous Hercules offering.
Rob Reiner’s latest testament to his failing career, And So It Goes, opened in eighth place with $4.5 million, firmly appealing to older and less discerning audiences who still didn’t come out in droves to see Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton avoid love for 90 minutes to find it in the final 30. And Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, had a solid opening of $425,000 on 17 screens, a $25k average which may translate as it expands – he’s been having some pretty high for him grosses in recent years.
Next weekend brings the Guardians, and the summer movie season pretty much ends.