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Hercules‘s muscles were no match for Lucy‘s drug-enhanced brain at the box office this weekend. Audiences turned out in earnest to see the Scarlett Johansson thriller, which earned an expectation-shattering $44 million from 3,173 theaters in its first weekend.

Not only is it director Luc Besson’s biggest opening, Lucy is also a career high for Scarlett Johansson as a lead. Audiences for the original feature were evenly split between genders, 35 percent were under the age of 25, and 29 percent were Hispanic. But even though the EuropaCorp-produced, Universal-distributed project appealed to a wide demographic swath, those who did see the R-rated action film were a little less kind in the exit polls, slapping Lucy with a poor C+ Cinema Score.

Hercules (B+ Cinema Score), starring Dwayne Johnson, took the second place spot with an estimated $29 million from 3,595 locations in its first weekend in theaters. Audiences were 58 percent male and 36 percent under the age of 25. The Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie cost a reported $100 million to produce, so, although this domestic debut isn’t ideal, it did still manage to beat the modest analyst expectations. Besides, international is what really matters for the Brett Ratner-directed sword-and-sandals feature, which took in $28.7 million from 25 territories and 3,264 locations. It took the No. 1 spot in Russia ($12 million), Australia ($3.5 million), Malaysia ($1.6 million), the Philippines ($1.2 million), and Taiwan ($1.2 million), to name a few. Next weekend it opens in Finland, India, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, and Slovenia.

The rest of the top five were holdovers this weekend, which is down 13 percent from last year when The Wolverine opened to $53 million. After two weeks at No. 1, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes dropped 55 percent and earned an estimated $16.4 million in its third weekend in theaters. Meanwhile The Purge: Anarchy fell 67 percent in weekend two with $9.9 million across the three-day. Compared to other films, that might seem like a disaster, but it’s expected for horror offerings, which are reliably front-loaded. The first had an even steeper 75.6-percent drop last year. Finally, Planes: Fire & Rescue continues to fly in competition-free skies and took in an estimated $9.3 million in its second weekend in theaters.

Here’s the top five:

1. Lucy$44 million (new)

2. Hercules—$29 million (new)

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes—$16.4 million ($172.1 million domestic total)

4. The Purge: Anarchy — $9.9 million ($51.3 million domestic total)

5. Planes: Fire & Rescue – $9.3 million ($35.1 million domestic total)

Clarius Entertainment’s And So It Goes (B+ Cinema Score), starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas failed to break the top five, earning an estimated $4.55 million from 1,762 locations.

In the specialty box-office world, A Most Wanted Man managed to snag 10th place with an estimated $2.72 million, even though it only played on 361 screens. Roadside Attractions released the R-rated, John le Carré adaptation which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman (in one of his last big-screen roles), Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe. The comedy concert film The Fluffy Movie picked up $1.3 million from 432 locations, and Woody Allen’s Emma Stone/Colin Firth vehicle Magic in the Moonlight debuted in 17 locations to $426,000.


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  • Phil Weinstein