Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Box Office (04/29/12): Think Like a Man tops again as four new releases perform relatively poorly. Oh, and The Avengers assemble overseas to the tune of $178 million.

In the weekend before the official start of the summer season, four new releases, all of which were relatively smaller fare, all debuted to numbers ranging from not awful to genuinely awful (or example 4,321 on why comparing total weekend box office is stupid).  The top film this weekend was once again Think Like A Man, which dropped a surprisingly decent 46%, earning another $18 million.  The ensemble romantic comedy has now earned $60 million, putting it on track to be among the domestic bigger grossers of the first 1/3 of 2012.  If we're specifically talking 'black-films', then the Tim Story picture is a few days from outgrossing every Tyler Perry movie save Madea Goes to Jail, which grossed $90 million three years ago (the second highest-grossing Perry film is the $63 million-grossing Madea's Family Reunion). With a smaller drop and a larger second weekend off a $8 million-smaller opening weekend, it may pass that mark all the way to $100 million if it can hold onto screens as summer begins.  It will soon surpass the $65 million gross of Barbershop 2, the $67 million gross of Waiting to Exhale, and the $75 million gross of Barbershop within the next full week.  It's also out-grosssed and/or will likely out-gross any number of higher-profile 'white' romantic comedies or dramas (the $81 million-grossing Dear John, the $84 million-grossing Stupid, Crazy Love, the $54 million-grossing New Year's Eve, etc).  Usually when a $12 million-budgeted film ends up flirting with $100 million, studios respond with sequels and/or star-vehicles for certain higher-profile cast-members.  We'll see if Hollywood again writes off this 'unconventional' smash hit as a 'fluke' or whether Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, and Meagan Good (among others) get any 'bumps' off this film's unquestionable success.

The uber-big overseas news of course came from the foreign debut of The Avengers (review).  Opening in about 70% of the major world markets, the $220 million super-hero team-up picture earned a colossal $178 million over its first five days.  That's the ninth-biggest worldwide opening weekend of all-time, and the biggest for a movie that wasn't explicitly a sequel (semantics perhaps, but bare with me).  Combined with what will surely be a minimum-$135 million US opening next weekend, and the Marvel production should flirt with $400 million in the tank by a week from today.  As of today, it is the tenth-biggest worldwide grosser of 2012 in just five days (it has already outgrossed the $170 million cume of Battleship which has been playing for nearly a month).  By next week, it will be number-two behind only The Hunger Games ($589 million).  The Avengers may or may-not surpass the $372 million-and-counting domestic cume for The Hunger Games, but it is sure to be the worldwide champion of 2012 at-least until The Dark Knight Rises debuts on July 20th.

Back to domestic news, the highest-grossing of the four new releases was The Pirates: Band of Misfits.  The  Aardman Animation stop-motion toon grossed a solid $11.4 million, nearly besting the $12 million debut of Arthur Christmas last Thanksgiving.  That film had strong legs and eventually reached $46 million in the US and $100 million overseas. The $50 million Pirates! Band of Misfits has already amassed $75 million worldwide so it appears that this is another release where the domestic gross is merely icing on the cake.  Universal's The Five-Year Engagement performed rather poorly this weekend, bringing in $11.2 million despite starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.  Blunt hasn't really had a chance to test her alleged star-power (she frankly usually plays the needless 'token love interest'), but Segel is a press-friendly star of How I Met Your Mother and a card-carrying member of the Apatow gang with two genuinely solid opening weekends ($17 million for Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You Man respectively).  Still, the film cost just $30 million, so if it doesn't completely die overseas it should break even in the end. The harm is more about the egos of its stars than actual financial loss for the studio.

The next two releases were star-driven, R-rated thrillers that maybe... JUST MAYBE... shouldn't have opened on the same weekend.  Safe (review) may be one of the best films of Jason Statham's career (The Bank Job is arguably better), but a marketing campaign that made it seem like a rhiff on Mercury Rising and a crowded weekend made it among his lowest openings as an action-lead.  The film earned $7.7 million this weekend, meaning it will be lucky to crack $20 million after The Avengers steals away every action junkie on the planet.  There are exceptions here and there, but Jason Statham's career is a lot like Adam Sandler's.  The better and/or more challenging the movie, the worse it performs at the box office.  Relatively moved the John Cusack thriller The Raven into this uber-crowded weekend somewhat at the last minute, and it's obvious they knew they had a critical turd on their hands.  And indeed the 'Edgar Allen Poe catches a serial killer' picture debuted with just $7.2 million. There isn't much to say about this one, other than the truly awful reviews left me disinterested in a film that I secretly hoped would be a trashy good time.  Alas...

The big limited debut was the scorching $30,000 per-screen average of Bernie, which earned $90,000 on three screens.  Still, moral victory and all, this Jack Black/Matthew McConaughey/Shirley MacLaine comedic crime story is just the sort of thing that would have been a wide release just a few years ago.  Hopefully Millennium Entertainment expands it over the summer. In holdover news, uh... not much folks.  The Hunger Games returned for a one-week IMAX re-release, which probably somewhat accounts for the mere 23% dip this weekend.  Still, the legs on this thing have been beyond impressive, especially in this day-and-age.  The Lucky One dropped 49% from last weekend's solid debut, bringing the Zack Efron vehicle to a perfectly healthy $39 million after ten days.  Anything over $50 million is a big win for the romantic drama.  Chimpanzee dropped 46% in weekend two, giving it a solid $19.1 million over ten days.  The Disney Nature documentary will surpass the $19.4 million gross of Oceans in the next day or two, leaving only the $32 million gross of Earth in its path for this specific series of releases.  

Cabin in the Woods (still the year's best film) has amassed a solid $34 million, meaning that the positive word-of-mouth from the horror geeks is somewhat balancing out the confused masses.  The Three Stooges has $37 million, meaning it will likely just-barely pass $50 million.  Wrath of the Titans has $80 million US and $281 million worldwide while Mirror Mirror has $56 million over here and $135 million worldwide (not good enough with that pesky $85 million budget).  American Reunion has proven slightly more successful than expected, with $53 million domestic (low for the series) but $75 million overseas, for a $126 million worldwide total thus far (still below the $200 million+ worldwide grosses of the three prior theatrical entries).  Finally Titanic 3D has $56 million in the US, which is just icing on the cake for its massive $286 million worldwide gross.  Since it's Titanic, I don't want to even try to predict where it will end up globally, but it should be among the biggest worldwide hits of the year even by the time summer ends.

That's it for this weekend.  Join us next time for... um... oh right, The Avengers and really nothing else on a wide scale.  Until then, read my Avengers review, keeping reading, commenting, and sharing accordingly.  Take care.

Scott Mendelson              



Bulldog said...

While I liked Cabin in the Woods, gotta say that The Grey and 21 Jumpstreet tops my list thus far. Also, I thought Hunger Games would be huge, but topping Deathly Hallows, especially being released in March, was something I did not see in the cards. It's a phenomenal success for HG.

Dezorzf said...

hello scott, you seem to misuse a word worldwide. in terms of boxoffice WW is including NA gross. International (or foreign) is the word for off-shore gross :).

Derroldpurifoy said...

Emily Blunt is not a star. But it's her fault The Five Year Engagement flopped.


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