The Purge easily led the way at the box office this weekend with an estimated $36.4 million. The ultra-low budget R-rated thriller from Universal absolutely blew past pre-release expectations, which had ranged more in the neighborhood of $20 million to $25 million. There is no doubt that The Purge was helped out tremendously by the very high volume of online discussion the film generated in the weeks leading up to its release. The Purge opened 73 percent stronger than the $20.998 million debut of 2008's The Strangers and 102 percent stronger than the $18.01 million start of last year's Sinister (which also starred Ethan Hawke).
The Purge was quite front-loaded this weekend, which is commonplace with most horror films and thrillers that perform well at the box office. After opening with $16.8 million on Friday (which included an estimated $3.4 million from late night Thursday shows), The Purge grossed $10.4 million on Saturday and is estimated to gross $9.2 million on Sunday. That places the estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio for the film at 2.17 to 1. The audience breakdown for The Purge skewed towards female moviegoers (56 percent) and towards moviegoers under 25 (56 percent). The Purge received a C rating on CinemaScore, which is respectable given the film's genre. Given the film's strong performance and low overall cost, it should only be a matter of time before we see a sequel to The Purge.
Fellow Universal release Fast & Furious 6 took second with an estimated $19.8 million. In the process, the action sequel surpassed the $200 million domestic milestone this weekend. After a harsh second weekend decline last weekend, Fast & Furious 6 stabilized this weekend by falling 44 percent. The third weekend decline for Fast & Furious 6 was harsher than the 37 percent 2011's Fast Five fell in its third weekend, but not as sharp as the 57 percent 2009's Fast & Furious declined during its third weekend. With a 17-day take of $202.99 million, Fast & Furious 6 is running 20 percent stronger than the $169.69 million 17-day take of Fast Five.
Holding up very nicely this weekend was Now You See Me. The ensemble thriller from Lionsgate placed in third with an estimated $19.5 million. That represented a decline of just 34 percent from last weekend's already stronger than expected opening weekend performance. Now You See Me continues to exceed expectations with a ten-day take of $61.37 million. That places the film an impressive 31 percent ahead of the $46.77 million ten-day take of 2008's 21 (which fell 36 percent in its second weekend to gross $15.34 million). Now You See Me will hope to continue to hold up well going forward, though doing so will be much tougher next week with both Warner's Man of Steel and Sony's This Is The End entering the summer marketplace.
The Internship debuted in fourth place this weekend with an estimated $18.1 million. The PG-13 comedy from Fox opened towards the higher end of expectations (with word of mouth from last week's sneak previews having likely having helped the film's cause a bit). However, this weekend's performance was nonetheless a lackluster one given that the film was built around the reuniting of Wedding Crashers co-stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. The Internship opened 47 percent softer than the $33.90 million start of 2005's Wedding Crashers, but did manage to open 42 percent ahead of the disastrous $12.75 million debut of last year's The Watch. Clearly, neither Vaughn nor Wilson is anywhere near the type of box office draw that either used to be.
The Internship took in $6.50 million on Friday (an opening day take that was boosted by an estimated $800,000 from late night Thursday shows), grossed $6.63 million on Saturday and is estimated to gross $4.98 million on Sunday. The estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio for the film stands at 2.78 to 1. The Internship received a somewhat encouraging B+ rating on CinemaScore, though that may not mean as much as it normally would going forward with direct competition in the form of This Is The End arriving on Wednesday.
In other domestic box office news, Paramount's Star Trek Into Darkness surpassed the $200 million domestic mark after grossing an estimated $11.7 million this weekend. Meanwhile, The Hangover Part III surpassed the $100 million mark after grossing an estimated $7.38 million for the frame. Respective total grosses stand at $200.14 million for Star Trek Into Darkness in 25 days and at a much poorer than expected $102.37 million for The Hangover Part III through 18 days.
On the platform front, Roadside's Much Ado About Nothing was off to a solid start with an estimated $183,400. The Joss Whedon directed adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy earned a per-location average of $36,680 from five locations. Much Ado About Nothing is scheduled to receive a major expansion on June 21.
Other noteworthy performances for films in platform and limited release included $1.21 million for fellow Roadside release Mud (a per-location average of $2,078 from 582 locations), $0.890 million for Eros' Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (a per-location average of $5,530 from 161 locations), $0.589 million for IFC's Frances Ha (a per-location average of $2,531 from 233 locations), $0.585 million for Sony Pictures Classics' Before Midnight (a per-location average of $11,243 from 52 locations), $247,000 for Fox Searchlight's The East (a per-location average of $6,024 from 41 locations) and $220,000 for CBS Films' The Kings of Summer (a per-location average of $5,000 from 44 locations).