‘Gone Girl‘ edges out ‘The Book of Life,’ while ‘Best of Me‘ suffers the lowest opening ever for a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. Thanks to an army of older males, David Ayer’s Fury won the North American box office battle with $23.5 million from 3,173 theaters, toppling Gone Girl from the top spot and delivering one of the best openings of all time for a World War II war movie, not accounting for inflation. It’s also another win for star Brad Pitt.
Fury is a career best for Ayer. As fate would have it, the year’s other high-profile WWII drama, the upcoming Unbroken, is directed by Pitt’s wife, Angelina Jolie.
Sony, QED International and LStar Capital spent $68 million to make Fury, featuring Pitt as a battle-hardened Army sergeant in command of a Sherman tank and its five-man crew as they attempt to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany (Sony is aggressively marketing the film to veterans). The film, earning an A- CinemaScore, also features Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood.
While Fury played heavily to males (60 percent), Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer noted that females, likely lured in by Pitt, made up a healthy percentage. "It’s really resonating with all audiences," he said. Overall, 51 percent of the audience was over the age of 35.
Strong reviews, along with the successful U.S. launch, should bolster Fury’s showing overseas, where it begins rolling out next weekend. In 2009, Pitt starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which lays claim to the No. 2 opening of all time for a WWII war title ($38.1 million) after Pearl Harbor ($59.1 million). Fury ranks No. 4 behind those two titles and Saving Private Ryan ($30.6 million).
David Ayer's army of older males "Fury" won the North American box office battle with $23.5 million.