Entertainment & Arts

Zac Efron DJ film We Are Your Friends flops at US box office

Zac Efron in We Are Your Friends Image copyright Warner Bros
Image caption The film has been widely criticised in the dance music community

Zac Efron's dance movie We Are Your Friends has bombed at the US and Canada box office, with one of the worst opening weekends on record.

The Warner Bros film, which was shown in 2,333 cinemas, had box office takings of $1.8 million (£1.1 million) - or just $758 (£493) per screen.

It is the third worst opening of all time for a new film opening in 2,000 or more theatres, said Box Office Mojo.

The movie, about a 23-year-old wannabe DJ, has had mixed reviews.

In a four-star write-up, Time Out's David Ehrlich said the film "capture[s] the weightless euphoria of getting lost in the perfect song".

But "the cliches tick off with metronomic regularity," wrote Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. "We Are Your Friends never even gets us to break a sweat."

Several reviews compared the film unfavourably to Eden, a documentary about the French dance music scene, which was released in the US earlier this year.

We Are Your Friends cost $6 million to make - but Warners paid just $2 million to distribute the film in North America on behalf of British company Working Title Films and France's StudioCanal.

"This was a passion project for Zac Efron, and we believe in him," said Jeff Goldstein, Warners' executive vice president for domestic distribution. "Yes, the result was disappointing, but this was a small film."

Image copyright Sony
Image caption War Room - a low-budget, faith-based movie sped past Efron's film to take second place at the box office

Nonetheless, We Are Your Friends will go down in history as the worst opening weekend for a major Hollywood film on wide release (meaning 2,000 to 2,500 cinemas).

The only two films to have fared worse - Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure and Delgo. Both came from independent studios.

Worst openings for films premiering in 2,000+ cinemas
Title Studio Opening Cinemas Screen average
Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure (2012) Kenn Viselman Presents $443,901 2,160 $206
Delgo (2008) Freestyle $511,920 2,160 $237
We Are Your Friends (2015) Warner Bros $1,767,308 2,333 $758
P2 (2007) Summit Entertainment $2,083,398 2,131 $977
Major League: Back to the Minors (1998) Warner Bros $2,087,011 2,322 $899

Elsewhere in the US box office, hip-hop docudrama Straight Outta Compton spent a third week at number one, taking $13.1 million (£8.1 million)

And faith-based family drama War Room exceeded expectations, drawing $11.3m (£7.4m) from a modest opening in 1,135 cinemas.

Written and directed by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, dubbed "the Spielbergs of Christian cinema" by Variety magazine, the film more than tripled its $3 million budget.

The weekend's other big opening was No Escape, a political thriller starring Owen Wilson, Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. It took fourth place, with its takings of $8.1m (£5.3m) just a few thousand dollars short of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, which came third.

Supernatural horror film Sinister 2 was at number five, with We Are Your Friends languishing at 14.

Terminator: Genisys dominated the global box office, after opening in China last week.

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