By JAKE COYLE
The Associated Press
NEW YORK -- In a box-office battle that pitted young against old, female against male, modest drama against big-budget spectacle, the teenage romance "The Fault in Our Stars" easily bested the time-shifting Tom Cruise action film "Edge of Tomorrow."
With a $48.2 million domestic debut, "The Fault in Our Stars" thumped the $29.1 million opening for "Edge of Tomorrow," according to studio estimates Sunday. It did so with a far less seasoned star in Shailene Woodley and a $12 million budget a fraction the size of that for "Edge of Tomorrow," made for approximately $175 million.
The results offered a stark illustration of shifting box-office trends. Whereas big-budget, male-oriented action films with stars like Cruise have long ruled the day at North American multiplexes, those movies are increasingly under siege from films ignited by passionate young female moviegoers.
"The notion of what is traditional summer fare is changing," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "Women and young girls are as vitally important to the box office in the summer as the young males, who Hollywood has courted and coveted for decades."
"The Fault in Our Stars," a highly-anticipated adaptation of John Green's best-selling book, was in some ways another example of the power of young-adult fiction. But unlike "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games," "The Fault in Our Stars" isn't about sci-fi or fantasy, but is rather a more naturalistic drama about young love and cancer.
Twentieth Century Fox said that an overwhelming 82 percent of the audience for the film was female, an unusually large gender gap for such a popular movie. The majority of the audience eagerly turned out for Thursday night and Friday showings.
"We knew that we had an engaged fan base but we weren't sure of the depth of it," said Chris Aronson, Fox's distribution head. "We also knew we had formidable competition in the marketplace for similar if not identical demographics."
That competition -- Disney's fairy tale "Maleficent," starring Angelina Jolie -- slid to second place in its second week with $33.5 million. With a two-week global sum of $335.5 million, "Maleficent" has performed well, but it remains to be seen if it can be a real money-maker for Disney, which spent an estimated $180 million to make it, plus huge amounts to market it.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers are also included.
1. "The Fault in Our Stars," $48.2 million ($17.1 million international).
2. "Maleficent," $33.5 million ($59.7 million international).
3. "Edge of Tomorrow," $29.1 million ($82 million international).
4. "X-Men: Days of Future Past," $14.7 million ($42.1 million international).
5. "A Million Ways to Die in the West," $7.2 million ($6.4 million international).
6. "Godzilla," $6 million ($5.4 million international).
7. "Neighbors," $5.2 million ($3.6 million international).
8. "Blended," $4.1 million.
9. "Chef," $2.6 million.
10. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," $1.9 million ($2.3 million international).