Break out the bunting, because we have the first bona-fide action heroine movie of 2014 to top the US box-office. Luc Besson’sSF flick Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, crushed both projections and the competition, opening with an estimated $44 million over the weekend. It’s the first “true” action film led by an actress to take the #1 spot since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire spent two weeks there in November and December last year. [Unless you count 300: Rise of an Empire, and though we reviewed it here, the female presence there was as an antagonist more than the protagonist. Though on further review, maybe Maleficent should also be considered?]
This is a great result for both Johansson and Besson. To take the latter first, his previous best-performing picture in North America was The Fifth Element which grossed the equivalent of $113.3 million in inflation-adjusted dollars, when it came out in 1997, with an opening weekend of about $30.2 million, again inflation-adjusted. It’s also Johannson’s best performance outside of the Marvel universe, beating out 2009’s He’s Just Not That Into You, which bowed in 2009 to $27.8 million. It’s miles ahead of other original action-heroine works, such as Colombiana ($10.4 million) or Haywire ($8.4 million). as first weekends go, it slots in at #6 all time for our genre, behind two Hunger Games films, another pair of adaptations in Divergent and Tomb Raider, and the Jolie/Pitt vehicle Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Speaking of Angelina, it’s slightly ahead of Salt, though that was better reviewed, and likely will possess better legs at the box-office.
Still, somewhere around $125 million in the US is likely, which would give it a place in the all-time top 10 for GWG flicks – and likely twice as much overseas. Considering it cost only $40 million in total, one imagines the possibility of a sequel is already being pushed around the drawing board. It’s particularly impressive for Lucy to come out on top of Hercules, which cost about 2.5 times as much and had a well-established action name front-lining it, in Dwayne Johnson. It also had more venues and 3D ticket pricing on its side. Of course, with Guardians of the Galazy opening on Friday, this is certain to be a one-weekend wonder, but with Lucy having taken in more than its entire budget in just three days, I doubt anyone involved will mind too much. For now, I guess Scarlett Johansson just kicked The Rock’s ass. :)
But was it any good? You’ll have to wait for our review to find out…