The buzz around Universal’s Ethan Hawke thriller The Purge seemed like it was swelling heading into the weekend, but no one could have guessed that the film would over-perform the way it did yesterday.
The Purge earned an incredible $16.7 million on its first Friday (technically, that number includes Thursday night), and it’s headed to an opening-weekend gross of about $37 million, giving producer Jason Blum, the man behind the Paranormal Activity series, another runaway hit. The best part about all this for Universal? The Purge‘s budget was only $3 million.
It was a mixed bag of news for Fox’s Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy The Internship, which came in second. On the one hand, the film exceeded lowered expectations with $6.6 million on Friday, putting the $58 million movie on pace for an $18-19 million opening weekend. On the other hand, that’s a rather tepid result for the duo that helped Wedding Crashers climb to $209 million total back in 2005. Certainly not a disaster, though!
Two films finished close behind The Internship and may surpass it by the end of the weekend. Fast & Furious 6 drove away with $6.1 million, while Now You See Me held strong with $6 million (a Friday-to-Friday drop of just 40 percent), and both films may finish the frame with just over $20 million, lifting their totals to $203 million and $62 million, respectively.
Epic rounded out the Top 5 with a $3.6 million Friday haul. Fox’s $100 million animated film should take in about $13 million by Sunday night, giving it $85 million total after three weekends.
1. The Purge – $16.7 million
2. The Internship – $6.6 million
3. Fast & Furious 6 – $6.1 million
4. Now You See Me – $6.0 million
5. Epic – $3.6 million
Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates and box office conversation.