erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Sunday May 17, 2015

Box Office: What a Lovely Day ... for 'Pitch Perfect 2'

Pitch Perfect 2

Perfect studio pitch.

“The Avengers” sequel fell 50 percent in its third weekend  to $38.8 million (about right), “Mad Max: Fury Road” debuted at $44.4 million domestically (a bit low considering the great reviews), but the big story this weekend is “Pitch Perfect 2” and its $70 million debut.

What the hell?

The first “Pitch Perfect,” which was released three years ago September, debuted at $5 million in 335 theaters and grossed a total of $65 million. This one has already slammed past that. $70 million? That's “Star Trek” territory. What are these things about again? Girls singing and quipping and being empowered? Or something? Well, Universal knew what it was doing with this one. It got decent enough reviews, 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that’s not close to “Mad Max”’s 98%. Yet look who killed at the b.o. Maybe “Max”’s good reviews scared off the action-adventure crowd.

I found this interesting: “PP2” is the directorial debut of Elizabeth Banks, whom I just saw in the Brian Wilson biopic “Love & Mercy” (recommended), and who always kills as Effie Trinket in the “Hunger Games” movies. Good for her and for female directors in general. Get those stories out there. Even if I have zero interest in seeing them. 

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Posted at 08:59 AM on May 17, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday May 10, 2015

Box Office: Second 'Avengers' has Second-Best Second Weekend of All Time

Avengers Age of Ultron

Avengers smash.

It's usually never good for a movie to drop nearly 60% off its first weekend box office total; but when that movie debuted at $191 million, well, then it's not so bad. 

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” won the weekend again with an estimated $77.2 million haul. If that number holds, it will be the second-best second weekend of all time, after, of course, “The Avengers,” which grossed $103 million in its second weekend. There are six other movies whose second weekends landed in the 70s: from “Avatar” and “The Dark Knight” (both $75 mil), through “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Iron Man 3” and “Shrek 2,” to the original “Spider-Man” ($71). There are only four movies with second weekends in the 60s, so this is rarefied territory.

Meanwhile, “Hot Pursuit,” the road-trip comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, wasn't exactly in hot pursuit of “Ultron,” as it debuted at $13 mil. That was good for second place. The rest is piddly stuff: $5 mil and below. It's all about “Ultron” right now. It's “Ultron” being “Ultron.”

Except at the worldwide box office, where there's still intrigue whether “Furious 7,” which is in fourth place all-time with $1.46 billion, can catch the original “The Avengers” at $1.51 billion. It might seem easy, a mere $50 million away; but “Furious 7” is winding down, grossing, for example, $5 mil at the domestic box office this weekend. That said, and despite it being a muscle-head muscle-car movie, “7” is getting its real juice from non-Americans. It's ony the third movie in history to gross more than $1 billion abroad. The others are Cameron films, “Titanic” and “Avatar,” which are in leagues by themselves.

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Posted at 11:45 AM on May 10, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday May 03, 2015

Avengers Can't Beat Themselves as 'Ultron' Grosses a Mere $187 Million at U.S. Box Office


The box office of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” couldn’t live up to the domestic opening of “The Avengers,” grossing a mere $187 million instead of the $207 million its predecessor grossed in May 2012.

Of course, that $187 is the second-highest-grossing opening ever. “Iron Man 3” at $174 is third. Avengers assemble.

Avengers symbol“Ultron,” which opened a week earlier abroad, is already at $626 million worldwide.

All of this box office slowed the furious ascent of “Furious 7,” particularly domestically (it wound up in third place with $6 mil), but worldwide the muscle-car movie is now fourth all-time at $1.42 billion. Will it catch the first “Avengers” at $1.51 for third place? And will “Ultron” then catch it? Questions for the months ahead. 

The only other movies opening this weekend were women-centric: the well-named “Far from the Madding Crowd,” which opened in only 10 theaters and grossed $172K; and the darkish Kristen Wiig comedy “Welcome to Me,” which opened in two theaters and grossed $38K. Both look interesting.

I was also far from the madding crowd this weekend, seeing, instead of “Ultron,” the Kurt Cobain doc “Montage of Heck,” which is ending its run in Seattle today and premiering on HBO tomorrow. 

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Posted at 10:54 AM on May 03, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Monday April 27, 2015

We are Groot: 'Furious 7' Sets B.O. Record in China

 An absurdly moronic, biceps-heavy movie becomes absurdly popular at the box office, and for once it's not America's fault. 


Furious 7 ChinaYes, “Furious 7” topped the U.S. box office for the fourth weekend in a row—the first film to do that since “The Hunger Games” in the spring of 2012. And sure, it's already grossed $320 million here, which is by far the best performance of the year (second place: “Cinderella” at $190). But that $320 million is only the 36th-best domestic b.o. of all time. And if you adjust for inflation, “Furious 7” drops all the way down to 179th place.

No, where the movie is really killing is overseas.

It was the No. 1 movie last weekend in every country Box Office Mojo lists, and it's already become, at US$323 million, the highest-grossing film of all time in China. It's currently at $1.321 billion worldwide, which is fifth all time, and a mere $20 million away from passing the last “Harry Potter” flick for fourth place. After that, it's “The Avengers” ($1.518 billion), and then Cameron country (> $2 billion).

Keep in mind: This is for a movie starring muscle cars and muscleheads. Fifty years ago, it would've been relegated to drive-ins. 

What changed? How did this series go from $158 million worldwide for 2006's “Tokyo Drift” to $788 million worldwide for 2013's “Furious 6” to $1.3 billion and counting now? Was it star Paul Walker's untimely death in 2013? The trailer shots of muscle cars parachuting from planes? The numerous and gratuitous shots of girls' asses? Or have we all suddenly become huge Vin Diesel fans? (We are Groot.)

Elsewhere in the domestic box office, “The Age of Adaline,” a Blake Lively romantic tragedy (rom-trag?), which looked awful from its trailer last November, opened in third place at $13 million, while the second weekend of “Paul Blart 2” fell off 35% for a $15.5 million showing: not bad, but overall it looks to do about half the business the original did in 2009 ($143 million).

Meanwhile, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” prepares to blow away everyone next weekend. In the states. Abroad, it's already opened, and has pulled in $201 million

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Posted at 07:52 AM on Apr 27, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday April 12, 2015

Box Office: 'Furious 7' at $800 Million Worldwide

Furious 7 crew

Gunning for Harry Potter.

The rule of the “Fast & Furious” movies, post-Tokyo Drift, is that no matter how well they do opening weekend they fall in the low 60s the second weekend. And as the first figure gets bigger, so does the second. 

So “Fast and Furious” (2009) opened to $70.9 but fell 61.6% second weekend; “Fast Five” (2011) opened to $86 and fell 62.4%, while “Fast and Furious 6” (2013) opened to $97 and fell 63.9%. 

“Furious 7” opened biggest of all, $147 million last weekend, the ninth-best domestic opening ever, so one expected a crashing to earth this weekend. Nope. The top-heavy movie parachuted in to a 58.8% drop. The franchise has reached the point where its box office alone is generating second-weekend interest, cushioning the fall. 

Oh, and it's already hit $800 million worldwide. I thought it would creep to $1 billion but it looks like it's going to slam past it. The only question is how far. Top 5 all-time? Top 3 all-time? “Harry Potter” territory? “Avengers”? Cameron?

(I saw it in a mostly empty theater yesterday afternoon. Review up tomorrow.)

The big domestic opener, “The Longest Ride,” a sappy cowboy romance starring Scott Eastwood (Clint's son) and Britt Robertson (seventh cousin once removed of Elvis Presley), finished in third place with $13.3 million. Not good considering the 3,300+ theaters in which it debuted. 

The movies I wanted to see, “Ex Machina” and “Clouds of Sils Maria,” opened this weekend in just NY and possibly L.A. (four and three theaters, respectively), and finished 15th and 30th domestically.  

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Posted at 09:41 AM on Apr 12, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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