Weekend Box Office: MAZE RUNNER Dashes to Top Spot

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Dystopic young-adult thriller The Maze Runner dashes to top of U.S. box-office this weekend for a $32.5 million gross, solidly meeting expectations.

Following a solid start at the box office, 20th Century Fox has set a date for the sequel, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The follow-up will arrive in theaters September 18, 2015. Wes Ball will return to direct from a script by T.S. Nowlin, who co-wrote the original film with Noah Oppenheim and Grant Pierce Myers. Umm… I think there gonna have to start filming it tomorrow if their gonna make that date.

An adaptation of James Dashner’s 2007 novel opened more than double the $13.1 million debut of Liam Neeson’s crime-thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones.This hoped-for franchise R-rated actioner is a far cry from Neeson’s Taken series as the 2012 sequel opened just shy of $50 million.

The Warner Bros. adult dramedy This Is Where I Leave You, starring Jason Bateman, Tine Fey and Jane Fonda, came in third with $11.9 million.

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Former box office champs No Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2 rounded out the top five. Sony’s suspense thriller is expected to bring in around $9.9M to $10.2M, while the family-friendly sequel took in about $9M over the weekend.

It is noteworthy that Guardians of the Galaxy passed up fellow Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 2. The year’s top-grossing film so far earned $5.2 million domestically and $10.4 million internationally for a worldwide total of $633 million, while Iron Man 2 took in $624 million globally. An action-packed, epic space adventure is still behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World.

It is also noteworthy that Kevin Smith’s independently-released horror film Tusk took in an estimated $676,000 from 602 initial locations, for a per screen average of $1,123. This means that Kevin Smith keeps dropping bombs.

Next weekend brings the violent Denzel Washington thriller The Equalizer and the animated family adventure The BoxTrolls.

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UPDATE: Fox has released the first concept art from the second Maze Runner film, The Scorch Trials, which was already in pre-production. You might want to see where this will go. [Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, the concept art basically gives away the ending of The Maze Runner.]

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