Friday Update: The Fault in our Stars earned a fantastic $8.2 million on Thursday night. That's way ahead of March's Divergent ($4.9 million), and is roughly on par with recent comic book adaptations The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($8.7 million) and X-Men: Days of Future Past ($8.1 million).
Before assuming that Fault is on its way to over $80 million this weekend, it's worth noting that the movie received a boost from "The Night Before Our Stars," a premium-priced event with tickets running as high as $25. The event included a screening of the movie and a cast and crew simulcast Q&A, and it seemed like a popular option among fans. However, Fox is reporting that the regularly priced 9 p.m. showings actually accounted for the majority of the gross.
Based on this Thursday night figure, The Fault in our Stars will almost certainly earn over $50 million this weekend.
Meanwhile, Edge of Tomorrow earned $1.8 million. Among 2014 releases, that's above Noah ($1.6 million) but below 300: Rise of An Empire ($3.3 million).
Forecast: On the first weekend of June, sci-fi action movie Edge of Tomorrow faces off against teen romance The Fault in our Stars. While Edge cost over ten times as much as Fault, it's likely that the young-adult adaptation takes the top spot this weekend.
Playing at 3,173 locations, The Fault in Our Stars is based on a 2012 John Green novel about two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group and subsequently fall in love. While that may sound like difficult subject material, the story managed to connect with readers young and old, which turned the book in to a bit of a phenomenon: according to a recent article in Time Magazine, there are at least 10.7 million copies in print.
Most signs suggest those fans are going to turn out in a big way this weekend. The movie's trailer, which appears to accurately represent the book's characters and tone, has registered over 20 million views on YouTube. On social media, the movie is immensely popular as well: it has nearly four million fans on Facebook, and has frequently been a trending topic on Twitter.
The movie's publicity tour has been largely centered on star Shailene Woodley, who portrays the book's protagonist Hazel Grace Lancaster. Woodley has developed a solid following thanks in part to her role in March's Divergent (also a young-adult adaptation) and she appears to be a good fit for the lead role here. The Fault in our Stars is set to get off to a big start on Thursday night with "The Night Before Our Stars", a premium-priced event which will include a showing of the movie and a simulcast Q&A with cast and crew including Woodley and author John Green (who has nearly 2.5 million followers on Twitter). From there, it could hold up decently throughout the weekend thanks in part to strong reviews (around 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).
Fox is hoping for around $25 million this weekend, though Fandango pre-sales data suggests the movie will earn much more than that: on Tuesday, Fandango announced that The Fault in our Stars had the biggest advanced sales ever for a romance (excluding genre fare like Twilight). That's ahead of 2012's The Vow, which earned $41.2 million on its opening weekend. It's likely that Fault winds up between The Vow and Woodley's Divergent ($54.6 million) this weekend.
At 3,490 locations, Edge of Tomorrow finds Tom Cruise battling alien invaders while stuck in a time loop (akin to Groundhog Day). Previews for the movie have clearly outlined the time travel premise ("Live. Die. Repeat."), though it's been more difficult to decipher what's unique about the alien antagonists. It also doesn't help that the movie's visual style resembles a video game (Gears of War comes to mind) which hasn't really been a positive with domestic moviegoers lately.
It's also worth noting that Edge of Tomorrow's previews have a tendency to make audiences feel like they're in their own time loop: wasn't it just last year that Cruise was in a mysterious, effects-heavy sci-fi action movie? If moviegoers had been more enamored with last April's Oblivion, this might not be a problem: unfortunately, reactions were mixed, and the movie fell off quickly from its $37.1 million debut.
As usual, Cruise has been pounding the pavement promoting the movie all over the world. In recent weeks, he's been making surprise appearances at screenings, which calls to mind Brad Pitt's strategy with last June's World War Z. While Cruise remains one of the biggest stars in the world, his presence alone doesn't guarantee a movie's success: his last four "original" action movies all earned between $76 and $89 million at the domestic box office.
The ace in the hole for Edge of Tomorrow is the fact that it might actually be quite good: critics have been heaping praise upon it for the last week or two, and as of Thursday afternoon it had an impressive 89 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This should give it a bit of a boost this weekend—though it's unclear by how much—and will also help it hold on in the coming weeks.
According to Fandango, Edge of Tomorrow is outselling Oblivion ($37.1 million) and Elysium ($29.8 million) through the same point in their sales cycles. While Oblivion's $37.1 million might be out of reach, a $30 million debut should absolutely be reachable. Edge of Tomorrow got an early start overseas last weekend. While it did poorly throughout Europe, it scored big numbers in smaller Asian markets. On Wednesday, it had the fourth-highest debut ever in South Korea; these numbers suggest that Edge could be a huge hit in China when it opens there this weekend. Forecast (June 6-8) 1. Fault in Our Stars - $45 million 2. Edge of Tomorrow - $32 million 3. Maleficent - $31.2 million (-55%) 4. X-Men - $18.2 million (-44%) Bar for Success
While the book is immensely popular, The Fault in our Stars is a fairly modest production. Doubling its $12 million budget would put it ahead of recent romantic dramas Safe Haven ($21.4 million) and The Lucky One ($22.5 million), which should be considered a win.
Meanwhile, Edge of Tomorrow has solid international potential, and reviews suggest it should hold on over the next few weeks. Still, it needs to at least match last year's Pacific Rim ($37.3 million) and Oblivion ($37.1 million) to get a pass.