'The Fault in Our Stars' May Falter at Box Office

The film’s $48.2 million debut makes it easy to think the kids are all right, but a closer look at the numbers may reveal something troubling.
A fairy with a grudge and a sci-fi shoot-’em-up were no match for a tale of teenage lovers at the box office this weekend. The Fault in Our Stars, based on the novel written by Indy author John Green, claimed the top slot at multiplexes nationwide, grossing $48.2 million in ticket sales from Thursday night through Sunday.
The film, which cost a relatively paltry $12 million to produce and received little in the way of a national ad campaign, outperformed Disney’s Maleficent and Tom Cruise’s latest action film, Edge of Tomorrow, each of which came with a $180 million price tag.
TFIOS is the latest player in a trend of successful young-adult books leaping onto the silver screen. But where franchises such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter wrapped real-world elements of romance, bravery, and aging into fantastical settings, Green’s tale fits in nicely with the real world. No vampires, wizards, or Orwellian political systems here! (We’re waiting for you, The Giver.)
Though the film’s earnings have already tripled its budget, a closer look at the numbers doesn’t bode well for the film’s financial longevity. According to Box Office Mojo, the success of TFIOS has been extremely “front loaded,” as it were. While the movie raked in $26.1 million Friday, it took in just $12.6 million Saturday. That 52 percent drop marks the seventh-worst Friday-to-Saturday gross in box-office history.
Such a dubious mark, however, again puts TFIOS in a league with its young-adult contemporaries. The final pair of Harry Potter films and the entire Twilight saga are in the “Top” 30 of worst Friday-to-Saturday drop-offs at the cinema. Such numbers indicate that while the teen crowd obsesses rabidly over its favorite YA literary characters, its passion often burns out as quickly as a post-prom afterglow.