Movies - Box Office postsSunday September 28, 2014
Weekend Box Office: Denzel Rocks, Liam Drops
Denzel gets the drop on the bad guys while doing his Bill Murray impersonation.
Denzel Washington had the third-biggest opening of his career with “The Equalizer,” $35 million, behind only “American Gangster” ($43 million in 2007) and “Safe House” ($40 million in 2012), as the Antoine Fuqua-directed action film led the domestic box office this weekend.
If a $35 million open doesn’t seem like much for a star of Denzel’s magnitude, well, that was my thought yesterday when I wrote up a post on Denzel’s all-time box office numbers. His highest-grossing movie is still “American Gangster,” with Russell Crowe, at $130 million. Adjusted, it’s “The Pelican Brief,” with Julia Roberts, at $197 million. But folks still come out for him. Would I have seen “The Equalizer” if it had starred, say, Michael Caine? Not bloody likely. I barely saw it, as is.
“The Maze Runner” dropped off only 46% to finish second, with $17.5 million. The animated “Box Trolls” opened at $17.2 million for third.
The big dropoff? There’s two: “Tusk,” which opened poorly and fell off 67.3% in its second weekend, to which I say good riddance; and “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” the more serious Liam Neeson thriller, which apparently isn’t thrilling fans of the genre too much. I guess they want more sugar in their bowl. Don’t we all?
Hanging on in the top 10? At No. 8, the ninth weekend of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (now at $317 million domestic); at No. 10, the eighth weekend of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (now at $187 million); and, surprisingly, at No. 9, the seventh weekend of “Let’s Be Cops,” which got abyssmal reviews (20%), opened at a not-exactly humorous moment for cops (Ferguson, et al.), and yet keeps on hanging on. It’s grossed $79 million domestic.
There are still good movies to see if you’re looking for one: “The Skeleton Twins” finished at No. 11 with $1.2 million, “The Drop” finished twelfth with $1.05 million, while “Boyhood” finished twentieth with another $279K. Further down, “The Trip to Italy” grossed $230K while “Love is Strange” bested “Hercules” for 27th place with $200K.
Let’s buoy some of these movies up, people. They’re the good ones.
What's the Highest-Grossing Denzel Washington Movie of All Time?
Via Box Office Mojo, here are the top five:
|1||American Gangster||$130,164,645||Nov '07|
|2||Safe House||$126,373,434||Feb '12|
|3||Remember the Titans||$115,654,751||Sept '00|
|4||The Pelican Brief||$100,768,056||Dec '93|
|5||The Book of Eli||$94,835,059||Jan '10|
Is there someone as well-known as Denzel, with as long a career as Denzel, whose movies have never grossed more than $150 domestically?
George Clooney? “Gravity” ($274), “Ocean's Eleven” ($183), “The Perfect Storm” ($182).
Brad Pitt? “World War Z” ($202) “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” ($186) “Ocean's Eleven” ($183).
Leo? Right, “Titanic.”
Russell Crowe? Close. But “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind” both topped $150.
How about Daniel Day-Lewis? Nope. “Lincoln” grossed $182.
The nearest example I could find is Matthew McConaughey, whose highest-grossing movie (“Wolf of Wall Street,” $116) isn't his, nor is his second-highest movie (“Magic Mike,” $113). Maybe a comparison is instructive. McConaughey made middling, forgettable rom-coms that grossed in the middling, forgettable range ($50 to $70 million) before shirking it recently to do good, serious work that doesn't make much money. Denzel started out doing a lot of good, serious work that didn't make much money, but he's shirked that recently to do middling, forgettable actioners that make middling, forgettable money ($60- $90 million). Well, he's reliable, I guess.
Here are his top 10, adjusted for inflation:
|Rank||Movie||Adjusted Gross||Unadjusted Gross||Release|
|1||The Pelican Brief||$197,376,500||$100,768,056||Dec '93|
|2||Remember the Titans||$174,704,700||$115,654,751||Sept '00|
|3||Crimson Tide||$171,219,700||$91,387,195||May '95|
|4||American Gangster||$154,120,800||$130,164,645||Nov '07|
|6||Safe House||$129,960,400||$126,373,434||Feb '12|
|7||Training Day||$110,344,500||$76,631,907||Oct '01|
|8||Inside Man||$110,135,100||$88,513,495||March '06|
|9||Courage Under Fire||$108,846,900||$59,031,057||July '96|
|10||The Bone Collector||$106,428,800||$66,518,655||Nov '99|
Box Office: a Tidy Little Oddity of 2014
The only movie this year to bridge the $30 million/$100 million gap.
I noticed what I assumed was a tidy little oddity in this year’s box office numbers when I checked to see how the opening of last weekend’s “The Maze Runner” ($32.5 million) compared with other openings this year. It was 21st-best: between “Rio 2” ($39 million) and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” ($32.2 million). But that’s not the oddity.
Here’s the oddity: With the exception of “The Maze Runner,” which just opened, every movie that opened with more than $30 million this year grossed more than $100 million total domestically. And among the movies that opened with less than $30 million, only one (“Edge of Tomorrow,” which had great word-of-mouth), grossed more than $100 million—and it just barely sneaked over that mark: $100.2 million.
That’s a pretty clear demarkation, isn’t it? It made me wonder if this year was an anomaly.
In 2013, five of the 30 movies that opened at greater than $30 million failed to reach $100 million: “Insidious Chapter 2,” “Oblivion,” “The Purge,” “Olympus Has Fallen” and “The Best Man Holiday.” Meanwhile, nine movies opened with less than $30 but grossed more than $100, including “We’re the Millers” and “Anchorman 2.”
In 2012, four movies that opened with more than $30 grossed less than $100, while seven movies that opened with less than $30 grossed more than $100.
In 2011, it’s four and six.
In 2010, eight and five.
This year, again, zero and one. So yes, a bit of an anomaly.
What inflates the first number, though, are horror movies, which open well and die fast, and we haven’t gotten the usual Halloween horror crap yet; and what inflates the second number are prestige pictures that open in NY and LA but catch on later with the general public, such as “American Hustle,” and we’re just entering prestige season. So I’m sure these numbers will change.
Box Office: It's Idris; 'Guardians' Passes $300 Million; and Breitbart Predictions Continue to Be Wrong
Remember this prediction from Breitbart’s “Big Hollywood” last March?
Like a lot of analyses on the right-wing site, this turned out to be not exactly ... right.
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” opened Memorial Day weekend and promptly finished third at the box office: $16.8 million. It wound up with a domestic total of $42.7 million—one of the biggest box-office bombs in a summer of box-office bombs.
So 0-1 for Breitbart.
And it finished second, $16.5 million, or about $3 million less than the original took in three years ago.
So 0-2 for Breitbart.
I’m not sure if this is good news for “Big Hero 6” or not. I mean, how many movies can Breitbart get wrong?
Despite lousy reviews (12% on Rotten Tomatoes), Idris Elba’s “No Good Deed” came in first with $24 million.
The bigger news, I suppose, is that “Guardians of the Galaxy” became the first movie this year to pass the $300 million mark. It fell only 22%, grossed another $8 million (good for third place), and has now grossed $305.9 domestically and another $305 overseas.
I thought the events in Ferguson would kill the comedy “Let’s Be Cops” at the box office, but it keeps schlepping along. It finished in a near-tie with “Ninja Turtles” (around $4 million) for fourth place, and has now grossed $72 million, which is more than ... well, I guess a lot of bad movies. Including “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”
“Boyhood” took in another $1 million (14th place). It’s at $22 million domestic. See it.
Box Office: Faith-Based Elvis Parable, 'The Identical,' Checks Into Heartbreak Hotel
How do we know we’re stuck in the box-office dregs of early September? Because the top movies of the weekend are not only not openers, they’re not even second-weekenders.
Here are the top four movies, along with how many weeks they’ve been released:
|Rank||Movie||Weekend Gross||Wk #|
|1||Guardians of the Galaxy||$10,160,000||6|
|2||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)||$6,500,000||5|
|3||If I Stay||$5,750,000||3|
|4||Let's Be Cops||$5,400,000||4|
When was the last time the top four movies didn’t include a release from the previous two weeks?
Here’s a hint. It’s the first time it’s happened in 2014.
It didn’t happen last September, either. Or even last year.
No, the last time the top four movies weren’t from the previous two weeks was December 7-9, 2012, when, after offering us movies like “Killing Them Softly” and “Playing for Keeps” in early December, we went to see the November holdovers:
|Rank||Movie||Weekend Gross||Wk #|
|2||Rise of the Guardians||$10,400,618||3|
|3||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2||$9,156,265||4|
That’s what happened here, too. Among September releases, “The November Man” with Pierce Brosnan did best, finishing in fifth place with $5.4 million, while “As Above/So Below” finished sixth with $3.7 million.
The weekend’s sole new release, “The Identical,” a faith-based take on Elvis-like twins that got trashed by the critics (4% on RT), was returned to sender (or was lonesome tonight, or got stuck in the ghetto, or ...), finishing in 11th place with $1.9 million in 1,956 theaters.
How bad is that? It’s the lowest gross of the year for a movie opening in more than 1,500 theaters. By far:
|Rank||Movie||Studio||Total Gross||Opening Gross||Thtrs|
|2||Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return||CE||$8,462,027||$3,747,780||2,658|
|3||The Quiet Ones||LGF||$8,509,867||$3,880,053||2,027|
|5||Moms' Night Out||TriS||$10,429,707||$4,311,083||1,044|
|6||And So It Goes||CE||$14,932,905||$4,642,329||1,762|
|10||Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For||W/Dim.||$12,906,000||$6,317,683||2,894|
You have to go back to “The Fifth Estate” last year to find a movie that opened in more than 1,500 theaters and grossed less opening weekend: $1.6 million. And even it opened in fewer theaters than “The Identical” (1,769).
So what’s the rationale for Freestyle Releasing (the group behind “God’s Not Dead”) choosing 1,956 theaters for “The Identical”? Because of 1956? The year Elvis broke? Cute, but probably not a good strategy. I don’t want to be cruel, but lawdy, Miss Clawdy.
For some reason, Cabbage-Patch Elvis didn't click with moviegoers.