“No Good Deed” lead the box office this weekend by taking in $24.5 million from 2,175 theaters, easily beating expectations. Going into the weekend, analysts expected the home invasion thriller to hover around $20 million. Females made up the bulk of the audience, taking up 60% of the seats in theaters, and 41% of ticket-buyers were under 30 years old.
“It’s not a full reversal of the weakness at the box office, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “It’s good to see new films enter the marketplace and do all right.”
“No Good Deed’s” success is a feather in the cap of stars Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, both of whom actively hawked the film on social media.
“They absolutely elevated it,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution. “They’re so hard working. It was a great collaboration.”
It also helps that “No Good Deed” cost a mere $13 million to produce. “It’s going to be hugely successful for the studio,” said Bruer.
Both actors will likely see their stars rise as a result. Elba has had showy supporting roles in “Thor” and “Prometheus,” but hasn’t carried a film to these kind of heights on his own shoulders since 2009’s “Obsessed.” He retains a passionate following from his days playing a drug kingpin on HBO’s “The Wire.”
Henson has an Oscar nomination on her resumé thanks to 2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and was part of the “Think Like a Man” ensemble, but hasn’t been front-and-center in a promotional campaign like she was here.
“I wouldn’t call them full on movie stars in their own right,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and analyst with BoxOffice.com. “They’re not bankable on their own terms, but this could certainly change that. Sometimes all it takes is one film.”
The concept of movie stardom has taken its knocks in recent years, as Hollywood has tried and failed to launch a new generation of A-listers to rival the Tom Cruises and Julia Roberts of an earlier era. The old days where an actor’s name above the title was enough to guarantee a big opening weekend have vanished. However, pairing the right actor with the right vehicle can still reap dividends, as evidenced by Liam Neeson’s success playing avenging angels and Melissa McCarthy’s track record with R-rated comedies.
“Taraji and Idris are terrific actors and they both so own their roles in this film,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution. “In spots and trailers, they delivered such a great intensity. It’s a terrific opening.”
Sony didn’t rely on star power alone to sell “No Good Deed.” It also orchestrated a clever social media campaign that unspooled across Twitter and Instagram.
On Twitter, the studio put a fresh spin on the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, presenting users with a set of challenges that dared them to outwit a murderer. For fans of Instagram, Sony created an interactive experience made up of images and videos that teased out parts of the film’s plot. That’s cheaper and potentially more potent than a costly television campaign.
“In this new world we live in, you want to be aggressive, and there are more means to do that and interact directly with fans than ever before,” said Contrino.
article by Brent Lang via variety.com (additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson)