Bloomberg News

‘Lucy’ Outpunches ‘Hercules’ in Battle of Box Office Stars

July 27, 2014

Taiwan Lucy Besson

Flanked by wife and producer Virginie Silla, left, director Luc Besson talks to media after finishing parts of his filming in Taiwan for a new movie "Lucy", starring American actress Scarlett Johansson, in Taipei, Taiwan. Photographer: /Wally Santana/AP Photo

“Lucy,” the Luc Besson thriller starring Scarlett Johansson, roughed up Dwayne Johnson’s “Hercules” to win a box-office battle of new releases this weekend.

The Universal Pictures film took in $44 million to lead U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, researcher Rentrak Corp. (RENT:US) said today in an e-mailed statement. “Hercules,” from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, generated $29 million.

Johansson went “toe-to-toe with Hercules and the Rock and she came out on top,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at Rentrak, in a phone interview. “It’s a testament to Scarlett Johansson’s drawing power,” he said. “She can do no wrong.”

“Lucy” joins a number of smaller-budget movies that have done well this summer, such as “Neighbors” and “22 Jump Street.” The film, made for $40 million according to Box Office Mojo, attracted a broader audience than the Greek epic “Hercules,” which cost an estimated $100 million to make.

Johansson plays a drug mule who accidentally ingests a hormone that frees her from mental and physical limitations, allowing her to exact revenge on her outmatched tormentors.

The movie was expected to generate $33 million in domestic sales, the estimate of Box Office Guru.

“Hercules,” starring Johnson as the Greek hero, was expected to take in $20 million. It received higher marks from critics, with 63 percent favorable reviews, according to aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. “Lucy” drew a 58 percent positive rating.

Among returning films, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” fell to third place with $16.4 million in sales. The summer sequel from 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA:US), which led the box office for the two previous weekends, has generated ticket sales of $172.1 million so far in domestic theaters.

Horror producer Jason Blum’s “The Purge: Anarchy” fell to fourth from second with $9.9 million in its second week.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US)’s “Planes: Fire and Rescue” dropped to fifth from third on sales of $9.3 million.

Weekend sales for the top 10 films fell about 14 percent to $129.9 million from a year earlier. Sales so far this year are down about 6.7 percent to $6.1 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for July 26-27 and estimates for today.

Rev. Pct. Avg./ Total Movie (mln) Chg. Theaters Theater (mln) Wks ================================================================ 1 Lucy $44.0 -- 3,173 $13,875 $44.0 1 2 Hercules 29.0 -- 3,596 8,067 29.0 1 3 Planet of Apes 16.4 -55 3,668 4,471 172.1 3 4 Purge 9.9 -67 2,856 3,465 51.3 2 5 Planes 9.3 -47 3,839 2,423 35.1 2 6 Sex Tape 6.0 -59 3,062 1,951 26.9 2 7 Transformers 4.6 -53 2,476 1,858 236.4 5 8 And So It Goes 4.6 -- 1,762 2,583 4.6 1 9 Tammy 3.4 -54 2,562 1,327 78.1 4 10 Most Wanted Man 2.7 -- 361 7,527 2.7 1 Top 10 Films Grosses This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $129.9 $151.7 -14.4 Year-to-date Revenue 2014 2013 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $6,106 $6,543 -6.7 Source: Rentrak Corp.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dakin Campbell in New York at; Anthony Palazzo in Los Angeles at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at; Sylvia Wier at Will Wade, Bruce Rule

China's Killer Profits

Companies Mentioned

  • RENT
    (Rentrak Corp)
    • $70.22 USD
    • 0.50
    • 0.71%
  • FOXA
    (Twenty-First Century Fox Inc)
    • $37.23 USD
    • 1.02
    • 2.74%
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