Box Office: ‘The Maze Runner’ Dashes to First & Scores a Sequel

In the hit and often miss world of YA adaptations, Fox has itself a hit with The Maze Runner. The sci-fi thriller opened domestically with $32.5 million, bringing its two-week worldwide total to $81.5 million. That total was enough muscle for Fox to greenlight and date a sequel, The Scorch Trails, for a September 18, 2015 release.

According to BoxOfficeMojo, the film had a larger male audience than usual for the young adult genre and skewed much younger (64 percent of the audience was below 25 years of age). While moviegoers awarded it a solid “A-” CinemaScore rating and word of mouth will be good, the below-25 age-range tends to translate to a steep drop in subsequent weeks.

Fox has had an excellent 2014, amassing nearly $1.3 billion in box office grosses and still has a slew of anticipated upcoming releases like Gone Girl, The Penguins of Madagascar and Exodus: Gods and Kings. Fox International’s top five movies have grossed nearly $2 billion overseas.

Meanwhile, Liam Neeson’s tough guy act is starting to grow tiresome as A Walk Among the Tombstones came in second with $13.1 million, nearly a 55% drop from Non-Stop which debuted at $28.9 million earlier this year. The audience was split evenly between men and women and skewed much older (77% over the age of 25). Mixed word of mouth and direct competition from The Equalizer and Gone Girl in the coming weeks should cause this movie to drop off significantly.

The other big release from the weekend, This Is Where I Leave You, opened at third with an estimated $11.9 million. Despite heavy marketing promoting its ensemble cast which featured Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda and others, poor reviews seemed to doom it. The audience was 63 percent female, with 86 percent over the age of 25.

After opening in first place last week, No Good Deed dropped 58% with a second week take of $10.2 million. Through ten days, the film has grossed $40.1 million domestically.

Dolphin Tale 2 fell 43% with $9 million for a fifth place finish with Guardians of the Galaxy taking sixth with $5.2 million. On Sunday, it passed Iron Man 2 to become the fourth highest grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (behind Avengers and the other two Iron Man movies). Guardians has now banked $313.7 million domestically and $632.2 million worldwide.

Internationally, The Maze Runner expanded to 45 new countries and earned $37.6 million. The movie opened to $5.5 million in South Korea and Russia, a total higher than the first Hunger Games movie.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opened in its final market, Japan, with $3.7 million. The total is well below the $5 million-plus opening for Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. The film has earned $681 million worldwide, including more than $100 million in China and is on track to finished north of $700 million.

Lucy added $13 million internationally bringing its global total $253 million.

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