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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 10/08/2014 - 19:38

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles startle Guardians Of The Galaxy

By Rich Matthews

Well, that didn't last long. While Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy continued to impress at the US domestic box office this weekend, it's reign at the top only lasted one week. Paramount and Nickelodeon's relaunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, produced by Transformers guru Michael Bay and starring that franchise's Megan Fox, confounded expectations and outperformed all expectations – much as Guardians did last week. Taking in $65m at home and a further £32.3m internationally, Paramount wasted no time in announcing a sequel for summer 2016 such was the level of success.

Between them, Turtles and Guardians have managed to boost the ailing summer box office, which was running more than 20 per cent behind 2013 and has now clawed back at least three per cent of that deficit thanks to these two fantastical tentpoles. Whether TMNT can hold on to pole position longer than Guardian's short-lived triumph will hinge on whether anyone really cares about seeing Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson together in one movie anymore, with The Expendables 3 vying with Fox Jake Johnson/Damon Wayans Jr comedy Let's Be Cops for top newcomer plaudits.

For its part, Guardians showed the now-standard decline for Marvel films of 56 per cent to bag a further $41.5, taking its overall US tally to $175.9m and its Earthbound gross to $313.2m. It still has a long way to catch up stablemate Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $713.9m, but then it has only been on release for 10 days – it will be interesting to see how quickly interest tails off now that it's been classified a hit.

Of the other new releases for the weekend, Warner Bros disaster flick Into The Storm followed behind Guardians at three, scooping up a middling $18m for a $50m-budgeted movie, while Lasse Hallstrom's dramedy The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, came in fourth with $11.1m. You have to spring over five to find the weekend's final new entry, with Step Up All In only managing sixth with a franchise lowpoint of $6.6m. But don't feel sorry for the Lionsgate/Summit dance sequel, because it's already body-popped to $26.2m internationally for a global haul of $32.8m.

In between the walking and the dancing, Scarlett Johansson continued to show strong legs of her own in Luc Besson's Lucy, with grabbed a further $9.3m at five, to swell its total to $97.4m, plus an extra $5m from only three international territories, so expect those global numbers to swell soon, especially from Besson's native France. Dwayne Johnson alas showed that he while he's good as saving existing franchises, he still isn't a lock at starting new ones, with Brett Ratner's Hercules already down to seventh with $5.7m for an underwhelming domestic total of $63.5m and a global cume of $136m. Compare it to the similarly themed The Scorpion King, which opened 12 years ago to $91m and $165m worldwide, and it seems The Rock hasn't made much progress – especially if you adjust for inflation, which sends the US total alone up to $127.7m. James Brown biopic Get On Up went on down to eighth with $5m for a total of $22.9m, while Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes hit ninth with $4.4m, which gives the Andy Serkis-led mo-cap sequel a US gross of $197.8m and a worldwide tally of $456m – surpassing the domestic gross of original reboot Rise by more than 20m, but still lagging a good $25m-odd behind its global total. Interestingly, if you adjust for inflation, Tim Burton's 2001 "reimagining" (the first film to try to so dodge the remake tag) comes out on top with $259m, with the 1968 Charlton Heston original second with $202.8m. Lastly, Planes: Fire & Rescue brought up the rear with $2.4m and a home gross of $53m and $83m worldwide. The first Planes made $90m and $220m, respectively, last year.

Once Sly and Ahnuld have made their third Expendable bow next weekend, the summer is officially winding to a close, with only Sin City: A Dame To Kill For of any note, and that's fairly niche, so it's doubtful that the US box office will be able to claw back much more of that 17 per cent decline, but at least it'll be going out on a more positive note.

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Podcast: Thanks, Gerard, now we need to bleach our eyeballs

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 09/08/2014 - 11:33

Join Neil Davey, Mark Searby, David Watson, Amon Warrman, newcomer Charlie Zia Jones and host Stuart O'Connor for a roundup of this year's San Diego Comic-Con, a report on the premiere of the new series of Doctor Who and a look at a few of this week's UK cinema releases: Planes Fire & Rescue, God's Pocket, Welcome to New York and Wakolda.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Interview: Jacqueline Bisset on Welcome To New York

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 06/08/2014 - 22:32

Stuart O'Connor chats with Jacqueline Bisset about her role opposite Gérard Depardieu in the new Abel Ferrara film Welcome To New York, as well as how women fare in Hollywood today, and why she would love to play the villain in The Expendabelles.

Listen to and download the interview

Read our review of Welcome To New York

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 04/08/2014 - 05:45

Guardians Of The Galaxy's blast off soars higher than predicted

By Rich Matthews

Leading up to the Thursday night release of Guardians Of The Galaxy in the US, industry insiders were all touting about prediction in the $65-75m range for the weekend, with Marvel/Disney's latest expected to break the August opening record of $69m – held for some time by The Bourne Ultimatum. However, as soon as the numbers from Thursday night started coming in it became clear that James Gunn's quirky space opera comic book adaptation was going to do significantly better than expected, and was even threatening to give sequels Captain America: The Winter Soldier (also Marvel) and Transformers: Age Of Extinction a run for their status as the top two openers of 2014 so far. As it happens, GOTG actually fell just shy of Cap's $95m, but its tally of $94m broke the August record by some margin and is a huge hit considering it's not a sequel.

Internationally, Disney opened Guardians in roughly half the market and still managed to gross $66m for an overall global launch of $160m. Which is frankly huge and massive victory for Marvel, whose next release after Guardians happens to be Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the sequel to the $1.5bn third-highest-grossing movie ever, The Avengers. With Star Wars: Episode VII also lined up for next year, plus Pixar and its own releases, Disney is looking untouchable by all other studios at the moment. Of course, Guardians may suffer a substantial decline in its second weekend due to its geeky subject matter, but incredible word of mouth and excellent reviews may well give it unexpected legs. In the UK alone, it grossed more than the first instalments of Iron Man, Captain America and X-Men (£6.4m), an indicator that it may be the first true breakout hit of the summer. Of course, it has a long way to go to catch Michael Bay's fourth Transformers movie, which managed to jump the magic $1bn mark this weekend, even as it dropped out of the domestic top 10. It's entirely possible that Guardians could catch its domestic total $241m, but its international tally of $763.8m is likely out of Disney's reach.

The other new release was James Brown biopic Get On Up from Universal, which did a solid $14m over the three days to land in third place, after Universal's Scarlett Johansson holdover, Lucy from Luc Besson, which grossed $18.3m to take its US number to just shy of $80m. Lucy's release date partner, Paramount and MGM's Dwayne The Rock Johnson sword and sandals actioner from Brett Ratner, Hercules, dropped a whopping 64 per cent to gross $10.7m ($52.3m US, $108.8m global), while Fox's Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes monkeyed up a further $8.7m at five, to take its gross to $189.3m (and $447.5m worldwide, less than $30m away from eclipsing its progenitor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes).
 
The remainder of the top 10 was populated by five "meh" titles, reflecting the flat feeling that has permeated this summer's underperforming box office – which would need a hit of Avengers or Avatar size to swing it back in line with 2013's bumper final total. (Guardians is unlikely to be that big – Avengers opened to $200m in three days). So, from six to 10... Disneytoon's Planes: Fire & Rescue ($6.4m, $47.6m, $77.6m), Universal horror sequel The Purge: Anarchy ($5.6m, $63m, $82.3m), Cameron Diaz/Jason Segel rom-flop Sex Tape ($3.6m, $33.9m, $51.7m), Rob Reiner's oldie romance And So It Goes starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton ($3.3m, $10.5m) and Philip Seymour Hoffman's A Most Wanted Man ($3.3m, $7.1m).

Guardians will have something of a fight on its hands next weekend, when Paramount debuts the Michael Bay-produced relaunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which could steal a chunk of Marvel's male geek audience. Plus, it also has to weather Warner Bros' disaster pic Into The Storm. Then, on August 15, everyone must face down Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Ford, Gibson, Lundgren, Statham, blah, blah, blah in The Expendables 3.

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Interview: Scott Michell on Scar Tissue

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 03/08/2014 - 09:26

Screenjabber's Jessy Williams and Stuart O'Connor chat with writer-director Scott Michell about his new film, Scar Tissue, and the trials and tribulations of being an independent filmmaker.

Listen to and download the interview

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Screenjabber Podcast: The guys go nuts

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 02/08/2014 - 17:39

Join Katie Wong, Amon Warrman, David Watson and host Stuart O'Connor for some movie chitchat and a look at a few of this week's UK cinema releases: Blackwood, The Nut Job and Guardians of The Galaxy.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Interview: Hide Your Smiling Faces writer/director Daniel Carbone

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 31/07/2014 - 08:17

Hide Your Smiling Faces is a coming-of-age film that stands out from the crowd. By disregarding a traditional three act structure, the film becomes an enticing meditation on mortality, told through the eyes of two brothers after their close friend mysteriously dies. Screenjabber's Peter Johnson caught up with debutant writer/director Daniel Carbone, while trying not to have a conversation purely about the nature of human mortality and death – which the film does excellently.

Straight off the bat, how did you manage to coerce such remarkably convincing performances out of your duo of young actors, Ryan Jones & Nathan Varnson?
Well, our formula for the film, was not to have one. I'd had mixed results in the past with casting shorts, and they were a lesson in what not to do, so this time we turned to Craigslist and other open auditions to find actors. We were trying to see as many kids as possible and Ryan and Nathan came in, both so mature for their respective ages (10 and 14). The audition process was more of a thematic conversation around the film than a standard audition, we didn't do a table read or practice lines. They didn't fit the archetypal roles I'd written initially, but I was blown away by their honesty and openness.

How did they deal with the script? Did you bring them in at all?
There was a lot of silence and space left in the script, and the more we filmed, the more the kids improvised. Sometimes there would be a piece of dialogue that didn't fit the bill, because obviously an adult writing children doesn't always work, and they'd say to me “I don't the character would say anything here, it doesn't feel right”, so we'd leave it speechless. Instead they would start scrapping, or fighting, or just sit there, and it felt more natural, so they definitely became part of the creative process. It was very natural. They were more like co-writers by the end of filming, obviously it changed a lot in the edit, but they added a lot more to the film, it was better for them, and for the film.

It definitely comes through, almost everything seems to be geared towards simplicity and reality than any sort of constructed drama, could you speak briefly about how you went about that?
Well, I'm happy that came about because I was focusing on making a film I wanted to watch. I'm just as much a film watcher as I am a film maker, if not more so, so I definitely didn't have any sort of masterplan. I think audiences can respond and really lock in to films that make a point of not pandering to the “Hollywood” style, which a lot of coming-of-age films do, with clear 1-2-3 acts. Of course that's not a bad thing, but it's not the film I wanted to make. If a film can take its time and be sure about what its saying, and say it in a clear voice with a clear tone, you feel like you're in safe hands. I know I do when I watch films, so I tried to make something like that. I like to feel like the director has taken as much care as possible in making the film, so I tried to put myself in the audience's position and make a film that would make me feel like that.

Was that always the core of the film, the unique thing that sets it apart from other stories like this, or did that evolve naturally as you grew into the film?
Well, the film started out as a script of a series of important moments, or vignettes and conversations as opposed to fully constructed scenes. I wanted it to feel like the boys were remembering the important events of a summer, rather than everything that happened. I'd say that was the thing I tried to make sure came through all the time.

I definitely got the sense that you were going for the “less is more” approach, leaving lots of space for the audience to project on to the film instead of being spoonfed a narrative. It's almost disorientating, but magnetic at the same time.
Definitely! I wanted to focus on the parts that would've meant most to the boys, because no-one really needs to see the parents shouting at the kids for running off or playing around, that's all implied. The film basically got remade in the editing suite, that's where the more slow-paced, thoughtful side of the boys conversations about death and their insecurities get the weight they do. We didn't have time to film everything, sometimes it would rain when we had planned to be shooting a sunny scene, so we went with what we had, shot what we could, and restructured a lot of it in the edit. Bless the crew for helping us, I called in favours everywhere and the crew and budget were tiny, but they were excellent throughout the shooting – it was pretty hectic.

How was shooting with that small crew, and that tiny budget? Did you find it restricting, or was not having a big studio presence liberating, or maybe daunting?
It was a pretty hard sell to a studio anyway, tiny film, no massive star names, no obvious story, no clear overarching plot, so we didn't have much funding, and it my was debut film, but that meant that there was so much less expectation on the film, which is kind of nice for a debut feature. The filming process was pretty innovative, because of the restrictions, everything was a bit more “real”. We had two real boys, and the essence of actual boyhood was still there and they didn't look like they were acting, they were just being boys – which was great for the camera. We left them lots of room to breathe, nothing had to be perfect, so the whole thing was very open and independent.

Kind of like the nature of growing up itself…
Exactly!

Lastly, the obvious one – what's next for you?
I'm making a documentary about a similar subject to this, it's another film about male adolescence in a traditional “small-town” USA setting. It's another slice-of-life type film.

Hide Your Smiling Faces review

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Scar Tissue: Screening Q&A

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 30/07/2014 - 20:20

By Jessy Williams

The Scar Tissue Q&A took place after a special screening at London's Prince Charles Cinema, and featured writer/director Scott Michell, stars Danny Horn and Charity Wakefield, and composer Mark Ayres...

Mark: I've known you for many years Scott, but where did that come from?

Scott: They say it's always the quiet ones. I don't know, is the short answer. Somwhere deep buried within my psyche, there is obviously some very dark thoughts. Thankfully, I've been kind enough to put it on to paper. But, that story has been in development for 12 years in various guises and I think it got darker and darker.

Mark: I read a few drafts and it started off as more of a pure sci-fi.

Scott: It did. It mutated over a few years and got darker and more character-driven, probably more cerebral.

Mark: And you were lucky enough to get Charity (Charity Wakefield) involved in this.

Scott: Absolutely. We had quite a long search for our Luke and our Sam. We had many auditions, but we were delighted to find Danny who hadn't done that many films. I just felt that he had that duality and touch that would bring both the instant likeability to the character, but also that little bit of darkness. You're going to have a little sense of wonder about him; was he as straightforward and likeable as you think? With Charity, well we needed someone who could capture both elements of the Sam character well; the strength and toughness and scariness, but at the same time, vulnerability, warmth and the pathos making you really feel for this character.

Mark: When Mark said he cast you (Charity) I was like, "that's good" because I remember you, we all remember you, from the costume dramas Sense and Sensibility and such.

Charity: Yeah, it was an amazing opportunity to play something completely different to anything I've done before. I didn't really have very long to get ready for it either *laughs* I had boxing lessons two weeks before getting the job. It's quiet strange watching it, because I don't feel like it's me up there at all.

Audience Question 1: Can I ask Scott, where did you see the film being set? You seem to have avoided all identifiable landmarks and such. Was that intentional; was it supposed to be hyper-real, almost like comic book?

Mark: I think you've answered your own question!

Scott: Yes, that's very perceptive of you. I did very consciously avoid setting it in a particular location. We avoided seeing any London landmarks; we shot the entire thing in London, but didn't want to go down that whole road of shots of the Gherkin, etc etc. I wanted that feeling of decay in society, I didn't want to pin that down, I wanted it to be a world that existed within itself. It's a story that can happen anywhere. The whole style of the film was slightly hyper-real with a very slight comic-book element to it.

Mark: We did that very much with the sound design, as well. We tried to avoid British police sirens, to try and take things out of the space as much as we could. We didn't want a very obvious number 9 bus going by or anything like that. So, Danny, what did you think when you got this part?

Danny: With Luke, a lot of things happen to him. He starts of in a very naïve place and that's how I approached it. A series of ridiculous things start happening to him and from the get-go he's in shock, really. He wakes up to find his friend dead! He doesn't really have time to focus on anything that's going on around him, because something else is always being thrown at him.

Mark: You've come soon out of playing the young Michael Gambon in Doctor Who. Was there a very different approach to this, in-terms of set-up of the film?

Danny: It was quite a different part, yeah. I hadn't done anything like this before or since. I remember reading the script and thinking it was creepy. It's one of those things where you read it for the first time and you try to take it all in. Then you get to the end and you realise that this guy's been clowned from this serial killer and you have to re-read everything. Everything that has come before that has a different meaning. I don't believe in the nature side of things, you decide your own fate. So, I don't think that he is the same as the killer. Nevertheless, he's going to have something there and I tried to work that in in the most subtle way possible.

Audience Question 2: I think there was a bit of Blade Runner in this, perhaps in one of the police characters.

Scott: I would be very happy if you thought that and any allusion to Blade Runner is one to be welcomed. There were a whole host of films that were influential when I was putting this together; Se7en was one of them which also had that thing of not being set in particular time or place. I was impressed by that element and the incredible claustrophobic, seedy flavour of the whole thing. Blade Runner, absolutely, with the hyper-real feeling and the colour palette. Although, we couldn't quite match the value of Blade runner *laughs*. I suppose The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is another influence, with the strong female lead character and the overwhelming darkness and twisted humanity.

Mark: One of the things where I think we were really lucky was with our art department. They were just astonishing. Luke's flat is actually the morgue a couple of days later, that's how good they were at doing an enormous amount with very little.

Scott: Absolutely, at times they were working 24 hours a day. They were sleeping on-set and building things through the night. They did an absolutely phenomenal job.

Mark: Alarmingly, the fetish club was rather how we found it.

Scott: Yes, as part of the prep for the film we had to tour some seedy London clubs, which was interesting. That probably wasn't one of the seediest. There were much, much worse ones.

Audience Question 3: Does the music come after you've seen the film the first time or are you writing the music as you read the script?

Mark: It's a bit of both. Scott and I have worked together over a number of years and I've read this script in various incarnations. I did some writing in response to the script, but only about 10 minutes in total. I knew early enough where we thought it was going and that saves me a lot of time. Most of it was written afterwards. What I had written had to be, pretty much, re-written anyway as the synchronisation changes. I like working with a director from the start. All you can really do is react to the film, if you've actually been involved with it. If I've been on-set when Scott has been shooting a scene, I don't have to ask him what he's trying to do with the scene, because I already know.

Audience Question 4: Scott, how difficult was it to you to go to the producers and go, "Hey! This is my film, can we make this?"

Scott: Pretty much everything in the British film industry is tough. Right in the beginning we tried to get off the ground and get the money. There's not many things in life where you go, "Give us...well, in our case, not a lot." It's a heck of an ask for something that's just come out of your head. So yeah, it's a long and difficult process. But, obviously, this is a fairly low-budget production and we managed to get it off the ground. Once we got started it barrelled along pretty quickly, we only had about 2 months prep and it was all madly coming together at the last minute. It actually moved quite quickly which is very very unusual for the film industry. Making the film is only half the problem. Once you've finished post-production you've got the other task of getting it out there and persuading people that this is something that they should buy or ship around the world. We really really wanted to get it in to cinemas. All the way through we very strongly tried to make it a cinematic project, so we tried for very long to try and get a distribution deal that, at least, got us in to some cinemas. Finally we're here, it's long road.

Audience Question 5: Were there any real serial killers that you got inspiration from?

Scott: No, thankfully I don't spend my days studying serial killer reports. It's more more of an overarching sense.... When you read newspapers or watch the news reports will come on and you will be just be watching them open-mouthed being like, "How on Earth does someone do something like that to another human being?" You just cannot relate to it. You just can't get in to that type of mind. I think that that general sentiment, what does make people do these things or turn them in to monsters was important. There wasn't one typ eof inspiration, just more of an over-arching sad feeling about the stories you see every day. Not just serial killers, everything you read every day.

Audience Question 6: Were trying to to get this in to a major film distribution or were you trying to aim this to an independent market? Awards like Sundance, Cannes etc.

Scott: That's an interesting question. I guess we sometimes thought that the British Film Industry sometimes feels a bit small, The cinematography is a little bit grey sometimes, the soundtrack is a little bit muted. So yes, I think we were thought, we'll push this and we'll try and make this a big, loud, cinematic experience. Just go that little bit further. At the same time, to expect a small British film like this to make a massive sum of money..you never expect this. But we were aiming for it.

Mark: We don't really have a British Film Industry. Every film is a start-up and the start of a new business. We do the best we can with the best we can get, really.

Audience Question 7: Charity, your character is a bit unstable, as you call it. How did you prepare, thinking about your previous roles as well?

Charity: Yeah it was very different. I found myself being quite angry on-set all the time. She's in a constant state of anger and wanting to fix things, that she's totally unable to. A) because she's not really capable and B) she doesn't have the information. All the way through the script they can't work it out and it's an obvious concern that she's making everything up in her head. All she's been thinking is killing this guy and getting revenge fr years and years. It wasn't very unenjoyable in a weird way, it was very hard for her. I quite enjoyed playing a character that doesn't let everything out all the time, I've done lots of really emotional parts and she keeps everything back. I really enjoyed the switch of gender stereotypes. It's really rare to get a part where you lead the action and the male character is left running behind. It's quite unusual and odd to play, and you realise that that very rarely happens on-screen. That was great. I suppose she sort of did get rescued sort of at the end, but that was kind of played around with.

Mark: Both of you, do you find it hard to leave a part like this at work when you go home at night?

Charity: Not hard at all, no. *laughs*

Mark: I find writing music for something like this, when I go to bed it's still churning around in my head.

Charity: I think did have some nightmares when I was shooting, because we spent all day in these grimy scenes that you saw. Even though they were sets, they were based around all the same parts of London.

Mark: It was only in a little art studio off Cable Street where we shot it, so it was really run-down area. There were lots of little studios in this one courtyard and yeah, it was a run-down area.

Danny: We shot quite a lot of it in an abandoned hospital, as well. Occasionally you;.'ll walk down a corridor and there'll be a few fake kids. *Laughs* It was a creepy place and we spent about a fortnight shooting there, didn't we?

Mark: There was a dungeon area we actually shot in, in that hospital and it wasn't very nice.

Scott: It felt like it had ghosts, so it was a great place to film something like this. We invested the day in that sort of spooky, menacing feel that maybe came through on-screen. It was an ideal place to shoot something like this.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 29/07/2014 - 14:59

Lucy shows more muscle than Hercules

By Rich Matthews

Feminine thrills beat out masculine machismo this weekend at the US box office as Scarlett Johansson's sci-fi-boosted heroine Lucy debuted to $44m while Dwayne The Rock Johnson's mythic Hercules came second with $29m.

Lucy is now something of a triumph for director Luc Besson, and represents a return to La Femme Nikita and Leon form. Produced by Besson's EuropaCorp and distributed by Universal, Lucy is the latest in a string of female-focused movies that have out performed expectation, including Angelina Jolie as Disney's Maleficient. Whether it can match La Jolie's legs or will decline quickly, like The Fault In Our Stars, will be one of next weekend's points of interests.

Meanwhile, Paramount and MGM's Brett Ratner-helmed $100m-plus swords'n'sandals epic, Hercules, did reasonable business, and is the first true test of Johnson's leading man potential post-Fast & Furious. Following the increasing trend, Hercules has already grossed $28.7m internationally for an opening global gross of $57.7m.

However, the success of both films still hasn't stemmed the summer's overall decline, which now stands at 20 per cent down from last year. The other two new releases landed a distant eighth and tenth, with Rob Reiner's silver surfer rom-com And So It Goes starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton grossing $4.6m and A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, $2.7m, respectively.

At three, Fox's Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes declined 55 per cent with $16.4m, taking its domestic tally to $172m and its worldwide haul to $354m. Spots four to six were populated by some of the low grossers that have contributed to the summer's malaise – horror sequel The Purge: Anarchy ($9.9m, $51.3m), Disneytoon sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue ($9.3m, $35.1m, $56.1m global) and Cameron Diaz/Jason Segel disappointment Sex Tape ($6m, $26.9m, $37.1m).

At seven, Michael Bay's not-really-a-reboot Transformers: Age Of Extinction took in another $4.6m for a US tally of $236.4m, which remains a good $60m less than the first Transformers at the same point (not adjusting for inflation) and a hefty $100m-plus behind the two atrocious sequels. However, globally, the fourth entry in the franchise is already nearing the $1bn mark (with $966.4m) thanks in no small part to being the first film to gross more than $300m in China. That makes it the biggest film of the year by more than $200m, while domestically it remains $20m off the top spot, behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The LEGO Movie. Finally, nestled in between the two low-performing new releases at nine, Melissa McCarthy's Tammy laughed up a further $3.4m for a homegrown tally of $78.1m.

We can be pretty certain that Lucy's rise to the top will be halted next weekend, with Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy pretty much a sure thing to take number one – the question is by how much? Something of an unknown quantity, even to many comic-book fans, Guardians is one of Marvel's biggest gambles yet, so it's not likely to hit sequel numbers, but anticipation is pretty high, especially with hopes that it will be one of the few "good" summer blockbusters on offer this year.

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Guardians of The Galaxy: London press conference

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 29/07/2014 - 07:48

Listen to the hilarious London press conference for Guardians of The Galaxy, and learn why Chris Pratt wants his character, Star Lord, to kill Iron Man. And whether the lovely Zoe Saldana found it easy being green ...

Listen to and download the press conference

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan and Djimon Hounsou, with John C Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector. James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige producing. Guardians of the Galaxy is out in UK cinemas on July 31.

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