erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Sunday July 27, 2014

Newest Superhero, Lucy, Clobbers Oldest, Hercules, at Weekend Box Office

Lucy and Hercules

“I won?” “She won?” The newest superhero (left) clobbers the oldest (right) at the domestic box office.

“Hercules” had a bigger budget ($100 to $40 million), better reviews (63% to 58% on Rotten Tomatoes), more theaters (3,595 to 3,173), greater name recognition, and, of course, way bigger biceps; but the girl, “Lucy,” still came out on top. She’s grossed an estimated $44 million to Herc’s $29 at the domestic box office this weekend.

This feels increasingly the way, doesn’t it? Beyond “Maleficent,” currently at No. 4 for the year with $232 million domestic, the annual top 10 is still the old boys club: Captain America, Transformers, X-Men, Spidey, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Planet of the Apes. But in head-to-head matchups, the girls are increasingly kicking ass.

So Angelina Jolie with sharp cheekbones cut up Seth MacFarlane’s flaccid western in late May. So Shailene Woodley with cancer beat out Tom Cruise with Groundhog Day Syndrome in early June. And now little Scarlett Johansson, armed only with looks, lips and boobs, plus 100% brain capacity, Luc Besson as director and Taipei as locale, has clobbered Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s attempt to pull the Hercules myth out of the B-grade swamp it’s forever been stuck in. 

Is this a trend? Girls gone box office? Are the studios noticing? Will they notice in particular when Katniss wipes the floor with all the year’s movies in November? Or will they point to the so-so performance of “Divergent” ($150 million) in March and do nothing as usual?

Either way, ScarJo: Hen hao. Ni hen li hai.

The other openers? “And So It Goes,” the poorly received sexagenarian comedy starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas, bombed in 1,762 locations, winding up with $4.5 million and in eighth place; but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role, “A Most Wanted Man,” directed by Anton Corbijn, grossed $2.7 million in only 361 locations. It also garnered good reviews: 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In other good news, “Boyhood,” with phenomenal reviews (99% on RT), and playing in only 107 locations, grossed $1.7 million. It’s now up to $4.1 million for a movie that’s barely playing. If it’s playing near you? Get out and see it.

Posted at 09:34 AM on Jul 27, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday July 20, 2014

Weekend Box Office: Hollywood Releases Crap Movies, America Doesn't Go See Them

The image to the right appeared in my email inbox on Friday.

Rotten TomatoesSo no wonder “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” repeated at the top of the box office. It fell off 50% and still grossed $36 million.

Of the new films, “The Purge: Anarchy” (49% RT) grossed $28.3 million for second place, “Planes” (49%) grossed $18 million for third place, and “Sex Tape” (16%) uploaded $15 million for fourth place.

Is it still summer? Because it’s hard to tell from both the crap movies Hollywood is releasing and our tepid reaction to them. (BTW: Correlation?)

In overall 2014 box office news, “Spidey 2” crawled over the $200 million barrier, “Transformers 4” ($227m) is bumping up against “Maleficent” ($228m) for fourth place, but “Captain America” still rules with $258 million.

But: a year ago today, three movies had already done better than that: “Iron Man 3” ($407), “Man of Steel” ($284) and “Despicable Me 2” ($268).

Two years ago today? Two movies blew those numbers away: “The Avengers” ($614) and the original “Hunger Games” ($405).

No worries. “Hercules” arrives next week. Here he comes to save the day. 

Posted at 08:18 AM on Jul 20, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday July 13, 2014

‘Apes’ Blow It Up Big but Summer Box Office Damned and Dirty

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Apes rule. My review

The most successful “Planet of the Apes” movie at the domestic box office (adjusted and unadjusted) is Tim Burton’s godawful remake starring a sleepwalking Mark Wahlberg, which grossed $180 million in 2001. Isn’t that depressing? Well, yes and no. The worst was first but at least the studio, Fox, didn’t confuse attendance with satisfaction and make a sequel. It probably helped that Burton supposedly said he’d “rather jump out a window” than make another “Apes” movie.

Either way, it looks like we’re going to have a new “Apes” champ now.

“Dawn of  the Planet of the Apes” opened this weekend with $73 million. (Cf., $54 million open for “Rise of ...”) It's the fifth movie to open between $70 and $100 million this summer but none have exactly stormed the barricades afterwards. Unless “Apes” has legs, or “Guardians of the Galaxy” surprises, this will be the first Hollywood summer without a $300 million movie since 2001.

Meanwhile, “Transformers 4,” in its third weekend, was a distant second with $16 million, for a domestic total of $209 million. Is this clinking clanking clattering collection of caliginous junk on its last legs? No, sadly. The movie is way off its usual domestic totals (“2” had grossed > $300 million by this point), but worldwide it’s kicking butt. It’s the biggest hit ever in China and the biggest hit worldwide in 2014 with $752 million—ahead of “X-Men” ($727) and “Captain America” ($712).

Third place: Melissa McCarthy in “Tammy.” Anyone see this? Looks awful. After two weekends, it’s at $57 million, so won’t do near the business of “The Heat” ($159) or “Identity Thief” ($134).

“22 Jump Street” finished fourth ($6.7) and has a domestic total of $171 million—fantastic for a comedy. “Maleficent” finished eighth ($4.1) and has a domestic total of $221 million, and a world mark of $668 million. It’s the biggest hit, both domestically and internationally, of Angelina Jolie’s career.

Better news? Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” in miniscule release (five theaters), grossed $359K or $71.8 K a theater. (Cf. $18.4K for “Apes.”) It’s set for a wider release next weekend. Watch for it. It’s one of the year’s best movies.

The weekend totals.

Posted at 09:00 AM on Jul 13, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Tuesday July 08, 2014

Hollywood B.O.: Worst July 4th Weekend Since 1999

This is how it’s worked in the past.

Other studios accede the July 4th weekend to the second weekend of the “Transformers” series, which then grosses in the $40-50 million range. The other studios might release more serious films (“Public Enemies,” 2009) or comedies (“Horrible Bosses,” 2011), but they don’t want their A-movies getting crushed beneath the weight of all that stupid metal, so they let Michael Bay have the weekend more or less to himself.

This year it was the same. Warner Bros. released “Tammy,” an awful-looking comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, and ScreenGems counter-programmed with the Eric Bana horror film “Deliver Us From Evil." But the fourth “Transformers” movies till won the weekend.

Except it fell off by 63%, grossing only $37 million. (Cf.: $47 million in 2011 for “Transformers 3.”) Meanwhile, “Tammy” merely did OK ($21), while “Evil” bombed ($9.7).

Upshot? A July 4th weekend that was down 47% from last year when (get this) “Despicable Me 2” and “The Lone Ranger” were released. You know you’re in trouble when you can’t match “The Lone Ranger”’s numbers.

In fact, according to Ray Subers at Box Office Mojo, it’s the worst July 4th weekend for the top 12 movies since 1999.

Overall box office has already been weak this year—the tent poles appear bent if not busted—so unless a surprise champion emerges (“Apes”? “Guardians”?), it’s going to be a cruel, cruel summer for Hollywood. But maybe that will mean better summers for the rest of us in the long run. 

Transformers 4

How could Americans not want to see giant robots riding giant robotic dinosaurs?

Posted at 12:14 PM on Jul 08, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Friday July 04, 2014

Are $100 Million Opening Weekends Approaching the Age of Extinction?

Dinobots in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Could we really be getting tired of whatever this is?

While I was away last weekend, the fourth “Transformers” movie, “Age of Extinction,” became the 27th movie, and the first this year, to gross more than $100 million during its opening weekend. Barely: $100,038,390, according to Box Office Mojo and Paramount Studios. That’s down from the $108.9 million “Transformers 2” grossed opening weekend 2009, but up slightly from the $97.8 million “Transformers 3” grossed during its opening weekend in 2011. Is that $2 million jump because of star Mark Wahlberg? Is it his GAR (Gross Above Replacement)?

Either way, it’s a bit late in the year for our first $100 million domestic opener. Here’s the 27 broken down by month:

March 2
May 11
June 4
July  4
November 6

From 2004 to 2008, there was always a $100 million opener in May. In 2009, we didn’t have one until late June, “Transformers 2,” but 2010 gave us Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” inexplicably grossing $116 million during a March opening weekend. The first “Hunger Games” repeated that March feat in 2012 and then “The Avengers” seemed to reset the bar with a $207 million opening weekend in May 2012. We had four $100 million openers that year (none lower than $140) and three last year (none lower than $116). So it seemed like $100 million openings would soon be no big deal.

Until this year. This year, $100 million openings have been the benchmark that would-be blockbuster movies can’t quite bench. “Captain America” came close at $95 million, “Godzilla” at $93, “Amazing Spidey 2” at $91, “X-Men” at $90. But no cigars until “T4.” Kind of. Many in Hollywood feel Paramount’s numbers are inflated. And even with that inflation, it still just wheezed across the finish line.

So are the tentpoles creaking and bending? Is this franchise fatigue or something more?

Look at Box Office Mojo’s summer predictions from April. Its writer, Ray Subers, thought “How to Train Your Dragon 2” would be the big summer movie at $325 million; but after three weekends and $129 domestic, it’ll be lucky to gross half that. He predicted $290 for “X Men,” and it’s done well ($225), but not that well. His “Godzilla” prediction felt low ($230) but Godzilla is still clawing its way there ($197). Ditto “Spidey” ($225/$200). In the superhero realm, there’s a lot of wheezing going on. Comedies, too. Subers thought “A Million Ways to Die in the West” was a $125 million movie but it's stuck below $50.

The one surprise based upon his predictions? “Maleficent.” He guessed $150 and after more than a month it’s at $206. Or about what “The Avengers” did in three days in 2012.

Is there a breakout movie to come? A new normal that gets us past traditional superheroes? The “Planet of the Apes” sequel? “Guardians of the Galaxy”? Or for the year’s first true $100 million opener, will all the boys in Hollywood have to wait for Katniss to come to their rescue in November?

Posted at 05:01 AM on Jul 04, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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