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By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES, June 7 (Variety.com) - Melissa McCarthy pushed “Spy” to a $30 million debut in an otherwise lackluster weekend at the box office as summer ticket sales continue to disappoint.
That was on the lower end of projections for the Fox espionage satire, which wraps globe-trotting intrigue in cat sweaters, but it was enough to dislodge last week’s champ, “San Andreas,” from its first place perch. The Warner Bros. disaster movie secured a second place berth with $26.4 million, and has rumbled its way to a domestic total of $99 million in two weeks of release.
Overall, a weekend that saw three box office newcomers failed to generate enough heat to lift ticket sales to year-ago numbers when “Fault in Our Stars” debuted to $48 million. That’s the third straight week of declines, but the streak will likely snap next weekend when “Jurassic World” is projected to roar to more than $100 million.
“I‘m still holding out for a record summer, but it’s getting harder and harder to see happening,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “We need summer to start rocking again soon.”
“Spy” cost $65 million to produce and rolled out across 3,711 locations. It reunites McCarthy and director Paul Feig, who have previously collaborated on “The Heat” and “Bridesmaids.” Chernin Entertainment produced the film, which co-stars Rose Byrne, Jude Law and a surprisingly funny Jason Statham. Overseas, where Statham is next to godliness, the picture took in $25.6 million from 54 markets, bringing its worldwide total to $86.5 million.
Reviews have been rapturous and Fox believes that “Spy” is a picture that will be a model of consistency in the coming weeks. Feig and McCarthy’s films show a great deal of box office endurance, with “Bridesmaids” enjoying a 6.4 multiple on its opening and “The Heat” boasting a 4.1 multiple. When it comes to R-rated comedies, “Spy” has a clear runway until “Ted 2” debuts on June 26.
“Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig movies have incredibly long tails,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief.
Aronson thinks the quality of the film will be a major selling point.
“It’s a luxury when critics and audiences are aligned,” he added. “You don’t see that too often.”
Among new releases, Gramercy premiered “Insidious: Chapter 3,” another low-budget package from horror impresario Jason Blum, to $23 million across 3,002 theaters. That’s a third place finish, and, like other Blumhouse films such as “Sinister” and “The Purge,” “Insidious: Chapter 3” will enjoy capacious profit margins. It cost a meagre $10 million to produce and attracted a crowd that was 54% female and 69% under the age of 25.
“It’s a very solid start,” said Jim Orr, president of distribution for Focus Features, which maintains the Gramercy genre label. “Blumhouse just owns this space and they’ve crafted another incredibly scary movie.”
After a five-year absence, the stars of the long-running HBO series “Entourage” reunited for a bigscreen bacchanal that was savaged by critics. “Entourage” will make $17.8 million over its first five days in theaters and $10.4 million for the weekend, less than the $20 million mark that Warner Bros. had hoped to crack. Checking in on the state of Vincent Chase’s career, liver and sex life set Warner Bros. back a modest $27 million in production spending.
The opening weekend crowd was 64% male and 90% under the age of 50, perhaps the least surprising demographic data ever. Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman noted that the film’s grosses moved up 3% on Saturday, a sign he argued that word-of-mouth is bolstering the picture.
“It’s found its audience now,” he said. “This little bit of a burst we saw gives us some momentum as we move into the heart of summer.”
“Mad Max: Fury Road” rounded out the top five with just shy of $8 million, bringing its domestic haul to $130.8 million, while “Pitch Perfect 2” roped $7.7 million last weekend for a North American total of $161 million.
Among art house releases, Roadside Attractions’ “Love and Mercy” scored a solid $2.2 million from 483 screens. The biopic about Beach Boys’ musical genius Brian Wilson will expand gradually throughout the summer.