Tom Cruise is mounting a comeback with the high-concept sci-fi spectacle of “Edge of Tomorrow,” but he is facing stiff competition from Josh Boone’s adaptation of the beloved young adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars” at the box office.
According to projections from Box Office Mojo, “The Fault in Our Stars” is on track to rake in more than $50 million in its opening weekend, earning a hefty profit on its scant $12 million budget. By contrast, projections are pointing to an extremely soft opening of $32 million for Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow.” Those numbers mean the film will need a very strong international showing to recoup its $178 million budget.
Thursday night numbers have also gone a long way in confirming the projections. “The Fault in Our Stars” is an unmitigated success, taking in an astounding $8.2 million on Thursday night. That puts the teen romance on par with this year’s big-budget action epics like “X-Men: Days of Future Past” ($8.1 million). Box Office Mojo notes that the gross may be boosted by “The Night Before Our Stars,” a Thursday night event that gave fans access to a simulcast Q&A with the cast and crew for a premium price of $25. So while “The Fault in Our Stars” may not exactly match the $90 million opening weekend of “X-Men,” it’s still going to rock the box office.
“Edge of Tomorrow,” meanwhile, took in only $1.8 million at Thursday night screenings, putting it roughly on par with this year’s “Noah” and its $1.6 million take. “Noah” went on to gross $101 million at the U.S. box office and $345 worldwide, and “Edge of Tomorrow” will likely follow the same path of underperforming in the U.S. while scraping by on the international market.
Less than a decade ago, it would have been unthinkable that a teen drama would significantly outperform a Tom Cruise action epic, but “The Fault in Our Stars” is not just another teen movie. John Green’s novel currently has more than 10.7 million copies in print, the New York Post notes, and has spawned legions of adoring fans. Green himself has attracted an almost cult-like following, with 2.5 million followers on Twitter and 2.1 million subscribers for his and his brother Hank Green’s YouTube channel. Green fans even have a name, Nerdfighters, and have raised tens of thousands of dollars for Doctors Without Borders, Liberty In North Korea and other charities.
And Tom Cruise just isn’t the box office draw he used to be. After his highly publicized endorsements of Scientology, Americans have fallen out of love with the former everyman icon. In the past decade, only two of Cruise’s films have grossed more than $150 million domestically: 2005’s “War of the Worlds” with $234 million, and “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” which brought in $209 million, and if “Edge of Tomorrow” follows the path of “Noah,” it won’t become Cruise’s third.
Still, “Edge of Tomorrow” looks to be a genuinely good film. It holds a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics have praised Cruise’s performance as nuanced and moving, especially for an action film. In another world, “Edge of Tomorrow” might have been a hit.