Otherwise, business was relatively quiet: A Walk Among the Tombstones and This is Where I Leave You fell a bit short, while No Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2 fell hard going in to their second weekends.
Playing at 3,604 theaters, The Maze Runner debuted to more than twice as much as recent young-adult misses like The Giver ($4.75 million) and The Host ($5.3 million). Still, it only opened to around half as much as March's Divergent ($22.8 million), which puts it squarely in the middle of the young-adult range.
A closer comparison is last November's Ender's Game, which opened to $9.8 million on its way to a $27 million weekend. If The Maze Runner follows Ender's pattern, it will finish the weekend with just over $30 million (a very good result).
Opening at 2,712 theaters, A Walk Among the Tombstones took second place with $4.7 million. Among Liam Neeson movies, that's less than half of Non-Stop's $10.1 million, and is also noticeably lower than The Grey's $6.5 million. For the weekend, Tombstones should wind up with around $14 million.
This is Where I Leave You opened in third place with an estimated $3.9 million. On the same weekend two years ago, Warner Bros. got a similar result from Trouble with the Curve ($4.2 million), which also had a family drama angle to it. For the three-day weekend, This is Where I Leave You will likely earn less than $12 million.
After leading the way last weekend, No Good Deed plummeted 67 percent to $2.95 million. That's a steeper drop than The Call (57 percent) and Obsessed (64 percent) at the same point. For the weekend, No Good Deed could wind up below $9 million.
Dolphin Tale 2 rounded out the Top Five with $2.14 million. That's off 50 percent from last Friday; in comparison, the first Dolphin Tale only dipped 32 percent at the same point. Dolphin Tale 2 is now on track to earn less than $9 million this weekend.
Guardians of the Galaxy added $1.38 million on Friday (off 35 percent). On Sunday, Guardians will pass Iron Man 2 to become the fourth highest-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe title.
A Friday estimate for Tusk is not currently available.
1. The Maze Runner - $30 million
2. A Walk Among the Tombstones - $14 million
3. This is Where I Leave You - $11.5 million
4. No Good Deed - $9 million
5. Dolphin Tale 2 - $8.5 million
6. Guardians of the Galaxy - $5.5 million
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• Forecast: 'Maze Runner' on Track for Big First Place Debut
• Grosses for Friday, September 19, 2014
• 2014 Domestic Box Office