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    "The Fault In Our Stars" Is An Enormous, Historic Hit

    With an estimated opening weekend of $48.2 million, the adaptation of John Green's best-seller had a best-ever debut for a contemporary drama.

    James Bridges / 20th Century Fox

    Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, and Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars

    It's no secret that the contemporary drama has had a rough time at the box office for the past 15 years or so. As franchise movies, high-concept comedies, and family pictures have started to dominate Hollywood's business model, movies about regular people living (more-or-less) regular lives in the world we live in now have become a scarce commodity at the multiplex.

    That might begin to change with the phenomenal success of The Fault in Our Stars, which opened this weekend with an estimated $48.2 million β€” the best debut for a contemporary drama pretty much ever. I'm hedging my bets there because the definition of a "contemporary drama" is somewhat subjective. Some may count romantic comedies like Sex and the City or Valentine's Day, but I do not β€” while both of those films have some major dramatic moments, neither were made with anything close to the intent of rendering their audiences helpless amid a constant cascade of tears.

    Adam B. Vary / BuzzFeed / Via

    The Fault in Our Stars does fall in the footsteps of a different kind of box office champion, however β€” the YA novel adaptation, typified in grand fantasies like The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and most recently Divergent. With exactly zero CG-laden action sequences to its name, the debut of TFIOS doesn't approach the box office highs of those movies, but the film nonetheless came with a passionate built-in fan base of author John Green's best-selling novel. That fan base was so passionate, in fact, that it dramatically front-loaded the movie's box office, bringing in $26.1 million, over half of its debut, on Friday and Thursday night (thanks to a $25-a-ticket special screening that included a simulcast Q&A with the film's stars and filmmakers).

    The Twilight movies were similarly front-loaded, and subsequently suffered steep drop-offs in ticket sales for the rest of their box office runs β€” a fate TFIOS could duplicate. But with a reported $12 million budget, TFIOS has also already made its money back, while dwarfing the paltry $29.1 million debut weekend for the Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow β€” also a very good movie, but one that cost more than 10 times as much to make and market as this weekend's box office champion.

    Hollywood should heed those numbers. Building a movie about nothing more fantastical than the importance of human connection can be just as profitable as one built on the importance of giant CG monsters β€” and far less of a financial risk. OK? OK.

    Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

    1. The Fault in Our Stars* β€” $48.2 million

    2. Maleficent β€” $33.5 million

    3. Edge of Tomorrow* β€” $29.1 million

    4. X-Men: Days of Future Past β€” $14.7 million

    5. A Million Ways to Die in the West β€” $7.2 million

    6. Godzilla β€” $6 million

    7. Neighbors β€” $5.2 million

    8. Blended β€” $4.1 million

    9. Chef β€” $2.6 million

    10. Million Dollar Arm β€” $1.8 million

    *Opening weekend

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