Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Box Office (10-14-12): Taken 2 repeats at top while Argo and Sinister impress.

With five new wide releases, it was a traffic jam at the box office this weekend, but the surprisingly robust Taken 2 still held court at the top.  Despite being a watered-down rehash of the first film, audiences only somewhat deserted the action sequel.  It's down 55% for a $22 million weekend, which is horrible compared to the first film's 16% second weekend drop, which ironically ended with a $20 million second weekend.  The first film had $53 million after ten days while Taken 2 has $87 million, or a bit above what Taken had after its third weekend ($87 million).  The second film will surely match the first film's $145 million domestic total and it's already flying far higher overseas this time around.  So yes, we'll likely see a Taken 3: The Takenest in 2-3 years time.  The top debut film was Ben Affleck's Argo.  The picture earned a rock-solid $20 million, or just below the $26 million opening of Affleck's The Town just over two years ago (the earlier film had a sexier cops/robbers plot and tabloid-friendly movie stars).  The $44 million R-rated political drama is a perfect example of 'what can grownups see at the theater these days?' and it's good to see they turned up.  Most importantly, the film had a stunning 3.38x weekend multiplier, all-but unheard of these days for a live-action film.  It (correctly) earned an A+ from Cinemascore and played 74% over 35 years old.  Long-story short, it's going to have huge legs regardless of its Oscar hopes.

Doing just fine just behind Argo was Sinister, the Summit horror film that earned a solid $18 million.  That's a touch below the $20 million Screen Gems comfort zone, but the well-reviewed and buzzed about picture had an R-rating instead of the usual SG PG-13.  It's theoretically going to get clobbered by Paranormal Activity 4 next weekend, but there is a token chance that it could hold its ground as a solid original against a 'Oh, this again...?' sequel, ala Insidious versus Scream 4 early last year.  To be honest, I can't tell you much about the marketing because I avoided every trailer and TV spot as horror film marketing tends to be more spoilery than other genres. But the (estimated) $5 million Ethan Hawke chiller is already hugely profitable whether it holds up against the Paramount horror franchise or not. The next opener was Kevin James's "Let's remake Warrior as a comedy!", otherwise known as Here Comes the Boom. Despite being among the better films of last year, Warrior pretty much bombed at the box office ($13 million), so it's slightly heartwarming that this terribly-reviewed variation didn't do very well either.  $12 million is either a mediocre opener (it's Kevin James's lowest debut as a lead) or an outright bomb depending on the costs (I can't locate the budget at this time).  The film played 52% male and 68 under-25 among audiences over 12.  Among the 12-and under set, it played 60% boys and 50% under 10.  Nothing much more to see here folks.

There were two other smaller-scale wide releases and neither of them did all that well.  The superb Seven Psychopaths was a marketing nightmare, as you can either give away the film's central post-modern construct or basically advertise a bunch of legendary screen kooks (Walken, Rockwell, Harrelson, etc.) behaving badly.  CBS Films understandably chose the latter, and a predictable $4.2 million debut followed.  But the biggest problem is that if you're a grownup heading to the multiplex, you already have somewhat more mainstream fare like Argo, Taken 2, or Looper.  It's the double-edged sword of having so many adult-skewing films in wide release: the biggest fish at the moment eats all the rest.  Alas, for what it's worth, it's among the best films of the year and Christopher Walken deserves an Oscar nomination that he probably won't get.  Don't feel guilty if you saw Argo instead, but do check out Seven Psychopaths when you get the chance next weekend.  The last wide release was the 1,001 screen debut of Atlas Shrugged part II.  The film earned the same $1.7 million as the last film did despite opening on 700 more screens.  We can laugh at the film all we want, but let's be honest.  Among the faithful, this thing will sell and rent forever.  In the very long run, both of these films will make their money back.      

In holdover news, Looper has held on pretty strong despite the deluge of grown-up genre fare, with a $6.3 million third weekend for a $51 million cume.  Hotel Transylvania is of course continuing to be the animated feature of choice for families and general moviegoers, dropping just 36% for a $17.3 million third weekend as it crossed the $100 million mark for a $102 million domestic cume.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower finally somewhat expanded to over 700 theaters this weekend, but the moment may have passed.  It earned $2.1 million for a current $6.1 million cume.  Frankly, Summit should have went wide the second they saw the first weekend's mammoth per-screen average.  A trio of Lionsgate films are wrapping up their run, as Dredd 3D limps to $13 million while The Expendables II will end its domestic run with $85 million.  The Possession is down to just over 400 screens and now has $48 million, meaning it may crawl to a respectable $50 million before exiting stage right.  Pitch Perfect is holding up pretty well dropping just 35% for a $9 million weekend and a terrific $36 million cume.  This one will easily top $50 million, which is good news for everyone.  Tim Burton's Frankenweenie dropped a little harder, falling 45% for a $7 million second weekend and a $22 million cume.  The film may feel like a rare out-and-out Tim Burton bomb, but even a halfway decent overseas performance will make the $39 million cartoon a solid investment for Disney, especially if they can find a way to incorporate the film into their merchandising and/or their theme parks.

End of Watch is wrapping up its domestic run with a solid $36 million thus far.  It should clear $40 million by the end and it's a more impressive performance than its being given credit for, yet another strong R-rated adult-skewing genre performance.  In overseas news, Resident Evil: Retribution has topped $200 million worldwide while Madagascar 3 has an astonishing $667 million, making it Dreamworks' biggest non-Shrek cartoon ever worldwide.  I don't know its release schedule, so it could challenge Shrek Forever After's $752 million total as the studio's third-biggest toon. Finding Nemo 3D crossed $40 million, as it now sits with $379 million domestic (fourth biggest animated film ever in the US) and $919.3 million worldwide.  By the time you read this, it will probably surpass Shrek 2 ($919.8 million) as the third-biggest animated film ever worldwide. Finally The Master is basically done a month-out with just $13 million, a relative bomb even by Paul Thomas Anderson's arthouse standards (even Punch Drunk Love made $17 million).  Still the victory here is in its making and wide release, not in its box office performance.

That's it for this weekend.  Join us next time for Paranormal Activity 4 versus the Tyler Perry-starring Alex Cross reboot.  Until then, you know what to do.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Kyle Leaman said...

FWIW, I have really enjoyed your constant suggestions for Taken film titles over the last couple box office reports


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