It was the calm before the storm, with only one new wide release daring to debut the weekend before The Dark Knight Rises crushes everything in sight. That new release is 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: Continental Drift (essay). So it is with little surprise that the fourth entry in Fox's animation crown jewel, sadly the first terrible entry of the previously 'not bad' series thus far, was number one this weekend, nor is it little surprise that it debuted with an estimated $46 million. That's a little low all things considered, but Fox couldn't give two craps about domestic gross anyway. None of the prior three Ice Age films have ever topped $200 million domestic, but that didn't stop Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs from exploding overseas three summers ago and earning $690 million overseas for a $886 million worldwide total, good for the third-highest grossing overseas total ever at the time (it's eighth today) and still the most lopsided foreign grosses (77%) for any movie grossing over $775 million total (removing European films like The Full Monty, European-targeted titles like The Adventures of Tintin, or Miyazaki releases, it's still #7 overall). So yeah, this new film opened with "just $45 million". Gasp(!), that's below the $68 million debut of Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006 ($82 million adjusted for inflation) and the $66 million Wed-Sun debut of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($41 million Fri-Sun), and right in line with the $46 million debut of Ice Age ($62 million adjusted for inflation). Despite the 3D bump (which the third film enjoyed as well), this fourth Ice Age film may struggle to top $150 million, putting it well below Ice Age ($176 million), Ice Age 2 ($195 million), and Ice Age 3 ($196 million). Oh well, it was already at $225 million overseas before it even opened in America, and it's at $385 million today with at least a $600-700 million worldwide total for the (comparatively cheap) $100 million animated feature. This is one franchise were America just doesn't matter.
After that, it's all about holdovers. The Amazing Spider-Man played pretty much like Spider-Man 2, dropping 44% in its second weekend after an extended six-day debut over July 4th. Spider-Man 2 dropped 48% off an $88 million Fri-Sun opening for a $45 million second weekend (or about what Spider-Man made in its third weekend). The Amazing Spider-Man, coming off a $62 million Fri-Sun, made $35 million in its second weekend, putting it right at $200 million for its thirteenth day. That's a bit lower than the respective thirteen-day totals for the prior films. Spider-Man had earned $223 million by the end of its second weekend, Spider-Man 2 earned $256 million by the end of its second weekend, and Spider-Man 3 had grossed $240 million by this point (heck, Transformers was at $224 million by the end of weekend two). But we knew that we were playing with smaller numbers on The Amazing Spider-Man's opening Tuesday, so now it's just a question of how far below the Spidey norm and whether overseas business makes up for it. The answer to the latter question is probably 'yes', as the film has crossed $521 million worldwide already. With $200 million domestic, the film will soon outgross Batman Begins ($205 million), Superman Returns ($200 million), and will probably outgross Star Trek ($257 million) while it's already creamed Casino Royale ($167 million) and The Incredible Hulk ($134 million). Hellboy II: The Golden Army (one of the better comic book films of the last several years, natch) tumbled 71% in its second weekend against The Dark Knight four years ago. We'll see if The Amazing Spider-Man can avoid a similar fate on its third weekend.
The sleeper success story of the summer remains Seth MacFarlane's Ted, which earned another $22 million this weekend (down just 29%) for a $158 million total after seventeen days ($190 million worldwide). It's already the 19th-highest grossing R-rated film of all time domestically, and will be surpassing Bridesmaids ($169 million), There's Something About Mary ($176 million), and Pretty Woman ($178 million) by the end of next weekend, if not a few days after. The only question is whether it will stall at $210 million (just past The Wedding Crashers) or if it can challenge Beverly Hills Cop ($234 million) and The Hangover part II ($257 million) among all-time top grossing comedies, be they R-rated or otherwise (The Hangover's $277 million is not likely, as the film is slightly trailing in terms of weekend drops and total weekend grosses at this point). Brave earned another $10 million this weekend, giving it a $195 million total. It's officially passed A Bug's Life ($162 million), Cars 2 ($191 million) and Toy Story ($191 million). It's exactly where it was last weekend, primed to be among the larger-grossing half in the Pixar library, likely surpassing Cars ($244 million) and Toy Story 2 ($245 million) after passing Ratatouille ($209 million) and Wall-E ($223 million) within the next couple weeks. After that, it's Monsters, Inc. ($255 million) and The Incredibles ($261 million), but the $290 million gross of Up is out of reach at this point. Ice Age 4 was no great challenge and Madagascar 3 has maybe $10-15 million left domestically (it passed $200 million domestic and will fight to pass the $213 million gross of The Lorax while earning $474 million worldwide already). So the animation war of summer 2012 is over, with Pixar again taking the crown.
Magic Mike dropped 41% in its third weekend, for a $9 million weekend and a stunning $91 million total. Warner Bros. turned a $7 million Steven Soderbergh drama about male strippers into one of the most purely profitable movies of the year, giving Channing Tatum his third $100 million earner this year and Soderbergh his highest grossing film that didn't involve Julia Roberts, George Clooney/Brad Pitt, and/or a Best Picture Oscar nomination. It's his sixth-biggest film overall and has a shot at displacing five of those, as the numbers 2-4 on the list (Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean's 12) all grossed between $117 million and $125 million. Savages somewhat held on this weekend, earning $8.7 million and bringing its ten-day cume to a decent $31 million. It should top out at $45-50 million, which is about what it cost, leaving overseas dollars to save the day. Still, a noble effort by Universal to counter-program a hard R-rated drug drama in the middle of summer, undone arguably only due to the unexpected success of Magic Mike and Ted (and the fact that it's among Oliver Stone's less impressive films). Madea's Witness Protection is at $55 million by weekend three. It's got just $9 million to go in order to displace Madea's Big Happy Family ($60 million) and Madea's Family Reunion ($63 million) as Tyler Perry's second-highest grossing film. Madea Goes to Jail ($90 million) will probably remain his top-grosser for a long, long time. Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D didn't quite collapse after its somewhat mediocre debut, and it's now at $18 million, meaning it will outgross Jonas Brothers 3D ($19 million) and Glee: the 3D Concert ($12 million). In the realm of pure documentaries, this is a fine performance, only looking bad next to the somewhat new sub-genre of teeny-bopper 3D concert movies that have only sprung up in the last four years.
The Moonrise Kingdom stayed strong in wide release, earning another $3.6 million (-19%) for a $32 million cume. Woody Allen's To Rome With Love earned another $2.5 million (-18%) for an $8.6 million cume. Prometheus is near $300 million worldwide and is pretty much finished, leaving a sequel for the divisive film in question (and Fox relieved that they only spent $130 million - not $250 million - on the film). Snow White and the Huntsman will likely end up below $400 million (it's at $370 million today), making it a case of 'spent too much'. There clearly was an audience for an action variation on Snow White starring Kristen Stewart, but not one that cost so much ($175 million) that it *had* to perform like Twilight to make a profit. Same thing with Dark Shadows, as Tim Burton's vampire soap opera comedy would have been a big hit at $80 million, but its $150 million budget makes its $233 million worldwide gross 'disappointing'. That's the lesson of 2012. The audience is there, but keep those budgets in check. Sony got lucky with Men In Black 3, both in that they made a pretty good movie and that Will Smith is indeed still a megastar. The (alleged) $300 million-costing threequel has $174 million domestic (on the higher end of Will Smith's normal $140-$180 million average) and $610 million worldwide, putting it on track to possibly surpass Hancock ($624 million) as Smith's second-biggest worldwide grosser. Again, had it cost, I dunno, the original $215 million budget, it would have been a solid hit. Finally, in better news, Beasts of the Southern Wild continued to mostly thrive in limited release, expanding to 81 screens and earning another $775,000 for a $1.6 million cume.
That's it for this weekend. I'll try to update for any relevant overseas numbers. Join us next weekend when The Dark Knight Rises challenges The Avengers for the all-time opening weekend record (it won't thanks to the lack of the 3D bump) or at least the all-time tickets-sold over opening weekend record (more probable) and/or the first $100 million single day. I'm seeing the film on Tuesday night, so look for my generally spoiler-free review on Wednesday morning.