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Johnny Depp back in critics’ hearts in new film

Sept 22,2015
“The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” edged out Johnny Depp’s “Black Mass” at the box office, as the two films split young and old moviegoers in half on the first weekend of the fall movie season.

Twentieth Century Fox’s sequel to “The Maze Runner” earned an estimated $30.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. While that came in slightly below the debut of the 2014 young-adult dystopian sci-fi original, it counted as a win for a movie that cost $61 million to make.

Warner Bros.’ “Black Mass,” starring Johnny Depp as Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, premiered with $23.4 million. That’s a strong sum for an R-rated adult drama, and it stabilizes a bad box-office run for Depp following a string of disappointments including “Mortdecai” and “Transcendence’.”

The audience for “The Scorch Trials” was 63 percent below the age of 25, according to Fox, while 89 percent of the audience for “Black Mass” was over 25, according to Warner Bros.

The draw for “Black Mass” was Depp’s icy performance as Bulger, which has garnered better reviews for the actor and some Oscar buzz. Jeff Goldstein, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., said that 55 percent of the audience said in exit polls that Depp was their reason for seeing the movie.

A diverse cast leading to a diverse audience was the key for “Scorch Trials,” said Chris Aronson, head of domestic distribution for Fox. Wes Ball’s adaptation of James Dashner’s young-adult novel stars Dylan O’Brien, Lee Ki-hong and Kaya Scodelario. More than half of its audience was made up of minorities. It also performed well abroad, earning $43.3 million internationally. AP


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