Box Office: 'Furious 7' No. 1; 'Paul Blart' Sequel Solid No. 2 With $24M
The microbudgeted horror-thriller 'Unfriended' opens in the No. 3 spot; 'Child 44' bombs in limited launch.
Kevin James' family friendly Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opened to an estimated $24 million from 3,633 theaters at the North American box office, coming in a solid No. 2 behind Furious 7.
Furious 7 — which has already jumped the $1 billion mark globally for Universal — won its third consecutive weekend with $29.1 million from 3,694 locations, pushing its domestic total to $294.4 million. Globally, the movie finished Sunday with $1.153 billion in worldwide ticket sales, including a staggering $250.5 million in China.
Placing No. 3 was Unfriended. From Universal and Blumhouse, the microbudgeted horror-thriller opened to $16 million from 2,739 theaters. The movie, galvanizing younger moviegoers, cost a mere $1 million to make so is already in great shape.
While Mall Cop 2 met industry expectations, it came in behind the debut of Paul Blart: Mall Cop over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in 2009. That film, a surprise hit, earned a stellar $31.8 million for the three days and $39.2 million for the four days.
James was keen on making Mall Cop 2, which cost a relatively modest $30 million to make. The sequel was skewered by critics and sports a zero percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the first film wasn't a favorite of critics either but did manage a 33 percent fresh rating. Mall Cop 2 fared better with moviegoers, who gave it a B- CinemaScore overall. And among those 18 and under, it nabbed an A- CinemaScore.
This time out, James' character takes his family on vacation to Las Vegas, but duty quickly calls. Directed by Andy Fickman and co-produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison, Mall Cop 2 co-stars Raini Rodriguez, Neal McDonough and Shirley Knight.
"It's a terrific win for us. This was a film that we all wanted to do and was made on a modest budget," said Sony domestic distribution chief Rory Bruer. "Our underdog Blart is always determined to win, which he does."
Outside of the Grown Ups franchise, Mall Cop 2 is James' best live-action opening since the first Mall Cop, besting Here Comes the Boom ($11 million), Zookeeper ($20 million) and The Dilemma ($17 million).
Unfriended is the latest collaboration between Universal and Jason Blum's Blumhouse following The Purge franchise, Ouija and The Boy Next Door. "This partnership is a great recipe for success, and we look forward to many more of these types of films with Jason," said Universal domestic distribution president Nicholas Carpou.
The film unfolds completely over a teenager's computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure seeking vengeance for a shaming video that led to another girl killing herself. Nearly 75 percent of the audience was under the age of 25, while females made up 60 percent of ticket buyers, not unusual for the genre.
Timur Bekmambetov produced Unfriended alongside writer Nelson Greaves. Levan Gabriadze directed the R-rated movie.
DreamWorks and Fox's animated film Home came in No. 4 in its fourth weekend with $10.3 million, pushing its domestic total to $142.6 million. Fox 2000's The Longest Ride rounded out the top five, falling 47 percent in its second weekend to $6.9 million for a cume of $23.5 million.
Elsewhere, Disney's critically acclaimed nature documentary Monkey Kingdom debuted to a pleasing $4.7 million from 2,012 theaters to place No. 7. The studio's Disneynature films are part of a broad conservation program that helped plant millions of trees, clean up the oceans and establish protected habitat for wildlife.
Falling just outside the top 10 in its opening was Rupert Goold's True Story. The film, starring Jonah Hill, James Franco and Felicity Jones, grossed $1.9 million from 831 theaters to place No. 11. From Plan B and New Regency, True Story premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and is being distributed by Fox Searchlight.
The weekend's biggest casualty was Lionsgate/Summit's Child 44, a Stalin-era thriller starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Repace that opened to a dismal $600,000 from 510 theaters. Adapted from the best-selling book by Tom Rob Smith, the $50 million movie was produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House).
Lionsgate's exposure is mitigated by foreign presales and two financing partners.
At the specialty box office, Ex Machina continued to impress in its second outing. The edgy sci-fi film, from A24 Films, is now playing in a total of 39 theaters, grossing $814,293 for a weekend location average of $20,879, the best of any movie.
Danny Collins, starring Al Pacino, also grew its profile, earning $848,579 from 648 theaters for a total $3.9 million for Bleecker Street.
PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
THE LONGEST RIDE
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THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT