Luc Besson’s “Lucy” proved mind can overpower muscle, topping a remake of “Hercules” by director Brett Ratner at the box office on the weekend.
Scarlett Johansson in a scene from “Lucy.” — Photo by The Associated Press/Universal Pictures
The Universal Pictures-released movie starring Scarlett Johansson as an accidental psychokinetic took in $44 million in North American movie theatres over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
“Hercules,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and produced by Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, brought down an estimated $29 million.
Universal’s president of domestic distribution, Nikki Rocco, said audiences were attracted to the original story about the main character gaining superhuman powers by using more and more of her brain.
People also wanted to see Johansson in an action role, something she’s done more frequently in movies like “The Island” (2005), “Iron Man 2” (2010), “The Avengers” (2012) and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014).
“The main reasons for coming to see the film were the story, and then Scarlett,” Rocco said. “She’s very diversified in what she does. Luc brought out the best of her in this movie.”
“Lucy,” rated R, opens internationally next week.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s draw with men, women and children helped PG-13-rated “Hercules” power into the No. 2 spot. In addition to its domestic haul, the film brought in $28.7 million from Russia, Australia, Britain, Malaysia and other countries in Asia.
Megan Colligan, Paramount’s head of domestic marketing and distribution, said Johnson once again proved his appeal as a global action star who fights bad guys with a “a wink and a smile.”
“He can be very serious and menacing and imposing, and he has this ability to melt it all away, which is why women show up for a movie like this,” Colligan said. “He has a lot of appeal for kids.”
Johnson himself drove over half of the buzz on social media platforms like Twitter, said Benjamin Carlson, president of tracking firm Fizziology.
“They weren’t talking about any of the co-stars or Brett Ratner, the director,” Carlson said. “It was all about ’The Rock’ with this film.”
Despite the two films’ solid performances, the summer box office is still down by around one-fifth compared to last year, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak.
By Ryan Nakashima
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS—LOS ANGELES