Zac Efron’s latest movie has suffered the worst opening weekend for a movie featuring in more than 2,000 cinemas in American history. We Are Your Friends, in which Efron stars as a young DJ struggling to make it in the EDM scene, took just $1.8 million from its showings in 2,333 locations across the U.S., making it the worst opening weekend ever, not adjusting for inflation.

Warner Bros. studio paid $2 million to distribute the movie, which is directed by Max Joseph and also features Wes Bentley and Emily Ratajkowski, across North America on behalf of Working Title Films and StudioCanal. This is a very modest outlay, but tracking had indicated that they were hoping for an opening in the region of $8 million given Efron’s presence, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Zac Efron Emily RatajkowskiZac Efron and Emily Ratajkowski, co-stars in 'We Are Your Friends'

It’s by far the worst commercial performance for an Efron film in his career so far, and one of the worst ever for a major studio release. “This was a passion project for Zac Efron, and we believe in him,” said Warner’s Jeff Goldstein, their executive vice president for domestic distribution. “Yes, the result was disappointing, but this was a small film.”

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Compare and contrast this woeful commercial performance with that of War Room, an analysis of the power of prayer and faith that was made for a mere $3 million (an absolute pittance in 2015) but drew in Christian cinema-goers in their droves and took $11 million from just 1,135 locations, meaning it opens in second place for the weekend. “These are the kind of outlier events that happen and wake everyone up to the fact that faith-based audiences are passionate and looking for content,” said Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak.

The overall box office takings nationwide for the weekend were, however, 20% down on the same weekend in 2014, when Guardians of the Galaxy was the big attraction for the Labor Day weekend - which is pushed one week this year. For a third consecutive week, the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton topped the charts, with takings of $13.2 million. It’s the first movie to sit at the summit for more than a fortnight since Jurassic World, released three months ago.

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