The young adult mini-genre receives a shot in the arm with an impressive debut for The Maze Runner. It leads three new wide releases opening at the top of the box office, meaning we've just had two consecutive weekends with openers making over $20 million in September. Star power, however, takes a hit, as two actor-driven projects open below $15 million.
1. The Maze Runner ($32,512,804)
Drawing upon an inbuilt fanbase isn't enough for YA adaptations, but The Maze Runner builds further upon that with a marketing campaign that targets male audiences (49% of the crowd was male) and, well, with good reviews. It had no hope of reaching The Hunger Games levels, nor even Divergent, but this is well above many similar films in the genre.
2. A Walk Among the Tombstones ($12,758,780)
A hard-fought second place start for the Liam Neeson crime thriller. One would expect more from Neeson, given his brand, but A Walk is far from the sort of film that will naturally draw in viewers. Scott Frank's film was always going to have a tough time at making much money, but a narrow victory over This Is Where I Leave You in third and tough competition arising in the coming weeks do not bode well for the film's long-term prospects.
3. This Is Where I Leave You ($11,558,149)
A third book adaptation to chalk up a Top 3 slot. A star-studded cast headed by Jason Bateman and Tina Fey wasn't enough to drive grosses for Warner Bros.' festival film high enough to turn around the studio's fortunes for the year so far. Poor reviews were the death knell for Shawn Levy's comedy-drama.
4. No Good Deed ($9,794,188)
5. Dolphin Tale 2 ($8,868,076)
6. Guardians of the Galaxy ($5,242,268)
7. Let's Be Cops ($2,706,037)
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($2,650,345)
9. The Drop ($2,070,660)
10. If I Stay ($1,842,342)
The once-infallible opening weekend indie kings, A24, have hit another major snag following the enormous disappointment of The Rover earlier in the year. Kevin Smith's alternative horror was showing in moderate release, yet failed to even break $1 million.
21. Khoobsurat ($345,085)
39. The Guest ($84,527)
Although there may be fair commercial prospects for Adam Wingard's '80s-style thriller, it was always going to be a tough sell, particularly for indie distributors PictureHouse. The Guest has fared better in the UK, where more alternative films can find a larger audience with more ease, and where Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens has a bigger following.
40. The Zero Theorem ($83,803)
In 63 theatres, upstarts Amplify have employed a curious strategy getting Terry Gilliam's film out to its audience. That said, there doesn't appear to be much of an audience for Gilliam's latest trash bag of mistakes.
50. Pump ($42,200)
51. Hector and the Search for Happiness ($40,847)
American audiences don't appear especially bothered that this British comedy stars Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike (pre-Gone Girl, ofc), with this tough start. It's not that bad for the film, though, suggesting that they're equally not bothered by the rotten critical response.
54. Yellow Day ($29,144)
55. 20,000 Days on Earth ($27,879)
A strong start, in one theatre, granted, for Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's Nick Cave documentary. Cave remains something of a cult figure, though, despite his increasing popularity in recent years through his film involvement, so mainstream potential is limited.
56. Tazza: The Hidden Card ($24,106)
62. Tracks ($21,544)
What a disappointment. One can only assume that John Curran's film was dumped into four theatres with very little effective marketing, since the distributors are The Weinstein Company, and they know how to get a film like this out to the right audience.
66. This Ain't No House Music! ($15,982)
68. Keep On Keepin' On ($12,930)
After the success of 20 Feet from Stardom at the Oscars earlier in the year, one might have hoped for more for this music documentary. Will the Weinsteins still be able to push the film for awards consideration? Will they still want to?
71. Not Cool ($10,329)
79. Iceman ($4,698)
89. Stop the Pounding Heart ($2,363)
No amount of niche critical acclaim could convince viewers to turn out for Roberto Minervini's drama. But that's the film business, isn't it.
92. Hollidaysburg ($1,713)
95. Life's a Breeze ($1,361)
The Boxtrolls and The Equaliser both open wide next weekend, and both will be building upon solid brands to potentially impressive grosses. Mas Negro Que la Noche and The Song also open in moderate release.