‘Ant-Man’ inches to top spot

Su­per­hero pic barely passes ‘Pix­els’ for first place; ‘Southpaw’ bests ‘Pa­per Towns’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“Ant-Man” crept past new opener “Pix­els” to claim the top spot at the box of­fice this week­end by an ant-sized mar­gin.

The Dis­ney and Marvel su­per­hero pic brought in $24.8 mil­lion over the week­end, bring­ing its do­mes­tic to­tal to $106.1 mil­lion ac­cord­ing to Ren­trak es­ti­mates Sun­day.

“Pix­els,” mean­while, just barely missed first place with a $24 mil­lion de­but. While stu­dios al­ways hope for the brag­ging rights of a No. 1 de­but, the real is­sue here is whether or not the Adam San­dler end of the world com­edy will make up its $88 mil­lion pro­duc­tion bud­get.

“It’s been a lit­tle com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket­place when you con­sider the ex­tent of the per­for­mance of ‘Juras­sic’ and ‘In­side Out’,” said Sony’s pres­i­dent of World­wide Dis­tri­bu­tion Rory Bruer. “To get to where we opened to was quite good.”

Crit­ics were not fond of “Pix­els,” which shows 1980s video ar­cade game char­ac­ters at­tack­ing Earth, but younger au­di­ences still turned out to the­atres - an es­ti­mated 62 per cent were un­der the age of 25.

Paul Der­garabe­dian, Ren­trak’s se­nior media an­a­lyst, said San­dler can still at­tract an au­di­ence, but the ex­pen­sive film has a lot of ground to make up.

“They’re re­ally go­ing to have to count on the in­ter­na­tional com­po­nent. That’s go­ing to be key,” he said.

Over­all, the box of­fice is down three per cent from the same week­end last year, when “Lucy” opened par­tic­u­larly strong. Der­garabe­dian said that though some are at­tempt­ing to link last week’s theatre shoot­ings to any dip in the box of­fice this week­end, “the num­bers just don’t bear it out.”

Holdovers “Minions” and “Train­wreck” took the third and fourth spots with $22.1 mil­lion and $17.3 mil­lion, re­spec­tively.

Mean­while, the R-rated box­ing drama “Southpaw” sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions and landed a place in the top five with its $16.5 mil­lion open­ing.

Der­garabe­dian said that its per­for­mance is likely due to star Jake Gyl­len­haal’s en­thu­si­as­tic pro­mo­tion of the film and the fact that it pro­vides an al­ter­na­tive to the stan­dard sum­mer block­buster fare.

“‘Southpaw’ felt like a re­ally good fall movie,” he said.

“Pa­per Towns,” an adap­ta­tion of John Green’s com­ing-of-age novel, opened in sixth place with $12.5 mil­lion. The Fox film only cost $12 mil­lion to pro­duce, but con­sid­er­ing Green’s fan base and last year’s mas­sive $48 mil­lion de­but of “The Fault in Our Stars,” which Green also wrote, it’s a bit dis­ap­point­ing.

A straight com­par­i­son isn’t en­tirely fair, though. “The Fault in Our Stars” had a much big­ger fol­low­ing and tran­scended age and gen­der groups with its story of two teens dy­ing of can­cer and fall­ing in love. “Pa­per Towns” is a more nar­row and light­hearted high school tale.

Ac­cord­ing to exit polls, 71 per cent of the “Pa­per Towns” au­di­ence was fe­male and 78 per cent was un­der age 25.

Also, Shai­lene Wood­ley was a much big­ger name when “The Fault in Our Stars” came out, whereas Cara Delev­ingne and Nat Wolff are some­what lesser known.

Wood­ley’s “Di­ver­gent” as­so­ci­a­tion took the mod­est film “to another level,” Der­garabe­dian said.

“I think we have a job ahead of us in the com­ing weeks to find more of our po­ten­tial au­di­ence who we weren’t able to reach this week­end. But I think we can do that,” said Chris Aron­son, Fox’s do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion pres­i­dent.

AP PHOTO

This photo pro­vided by The Weinstein Com­pany shows Jake Gyl­len­haal as Billy Hope, in the film, “Southpaw.” The movie re­leased in the U.S. on July 24 and fin­ished fifth in the box of­fice race this past week­end.

AP PHOTO

This photo pro­vided by Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox shows long­time neigh­bors, Cara Delev­ingne, left, as Margo, and Nat Wolff as Quentin in a scene from the film, “Pa­per Towns.”

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