erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

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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Sunday April 05, 2015

Easter Weekend Box Office: 'Fast & Furious' Franchise Has Risen to $143 Million Opening

18. And “Furious 7” came and spake unto them, saying, All money is given unto me in America and abroad. 
19. Go ye therefore, and take from all nations, schnookering them in the name of the Diesel, and of the Rock, and of the Holy Ghost (Paul Walker).
— The Gospel According to Hollywood, Chapter 28

Yesterday I wrote about the box office of “Furious 7” based upon Friday's one-day totals, which ranked 10th all-time in terms of one-day moviegoing moola: $67 million. 

Now the weekend estimates are in, and the seventh installment in the Fast & Furious franchise has more than doubled that Friday number, pulling in $143.6 million. 

Where does that rank? It's the best April opening by far, besting “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” which grossed $95 million during the first weekend of April 2014. It's also the 9th-best opening weekend in history, behind only superheroes (Avengers, Iron Man, Batman and Spider-Man), Harry Potter (last installment) and Katniss (first two installments).

This for a franchise that seemed dead (or at least Tokyo-drifting) in 2006. What happened?

As I mentioned yesterday, it got its original stars back (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez), piled on popular and pumped-up bald men (The Rock, Jason Stratham), gave us plenty of hot international chicks (Gal Gadot, Israel; Nathalie Emmanuel, UK), and kept the cars moving and things getting blowed up. It also kept veering from reality into an almost superhero realm—for car dudes rather than nerds. 

As a result, its opening weekends kept rising: from $71 million for “Fast and Furious” in 2009, to $86 million for “Fast Five” in 2011, to $97 for “Fast and Furious 6” in 2013.

But why the gigantic leap into superhero territory for this one?

A couple of guesses:

  • The publicity surrounding the death of star Paul Walker. This is the last “Fast and Furious” with him in it. 
  • The insane stunt of parachuting cars out of a plane to attack a prison transport vehicle. It's idiotic but generated buzz akin to the “blowing up the White House” in the trailers for “Independence Day.”
  • The shitty year in movies so far. 

So far, 2015 box office has been like the old Elvis Presley song: girls girls girls. The popular movies have been “Cinderella,” “Fifty Shades,” “Divergent.” The testosterone-y films haven't exactly pumped America up. “Kingsman”? Skinny Brits in skinny suits. And sure, Liam Neeson, but how many times are people going to attack his family before they get smart about it? There was nothing to get dudes off the couch and into the theaters. Until this.

And it's not just an American phenomenon. “Furious 7” has already grossed $240 million abroad for a worldwide total of $384 million. Can this gearhead flick do $1 billion worldwide before it's done? Very likely. “Fast and Furious 6” grossed $788 worldwide, and wasn't jumpstarted as this one was. 

Elsewhere, “Cinderella” passed “Fifty Shades” as the most popular domestic movie of 2015 ($167 to $165), but “Furious 7” will leave both in the dust by Friday, if not sooner.

20. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. 

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Posted at 09:32 AM on Apr 05, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Saturday April 04, 2015

Box Office: Jesus Died So We Could All See 'Furious 7'

Americans celebrated Good Friday by making the seventh installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, which long ago dropped its definite articles, along with any semblance to reality, the No. 1 box office hit in the country. This was expected. Slightly unexpected? “Furious 7” pulled in $67 million yesterday. That's the 10th-highest-grossing opening day total ever. Only superheroes, vampires and Katniss are above it, and most of them not by much. In fact, that $67 million one-day total is better than any 2014 movie, including, it should be added, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1,” a franchise that seems to think elongated titles, not to mention definite articles, are a positive thing. “Furious 7” respectfully disagrees. It goes “Buh.”

So how did we get here? The following is a chart of all seven “F&F” movies:

Year Title Opening Day Opening Wknd. Domestic Gross
2001 The Fast and the Furious $15,214,995 $40,089,015 $144,533,925
2003 2 Fast 2 Furious $19,664,160 $50,472,480 $127,154,901
2006 The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift $9,731,805 $23,973,840 $62,514,415
2009 Fast and Furious $30,560,630 $70,950,500 $155,064,265
2011 Fast Five $34,399,360 $86,198,765 $209,837,675
2013 Fast & Furious 6 $38,737,505 $97,375,245 $238,679,850
2015 Furious 7 $67,300,000    

Look at the evolution (devolution?) of those opening day numbers. We nearly killed the thing in 2006, when it lost both original stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and went with Lucas Black and Bow Wow. But then the originals came back in '09, added Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in '11, and, not content with two balded-head musclemen, brought in Jason Stratham for this installment. Do we count Tyrese Gibson (“2 Fast,” and since “Fast Five”) as well? Or is he just black comic relief for white folks? Almost all of these guys, by the way, are literal representations of erect penises: bald, perpetually tumescent and not very smart. Add fast cars + hot chicks + things gettin' blowed up and you get vroom vroom at the box office. 

The tagline for the movie is “One Last Ride.” Wishful thinking. 

Happy Easter.

Furious 7 

Chicks dig bald and tumescent. 

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Posted at 12:25 PM on Apr 04, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday March 29, 2015

Weekend Box Office: Moviegoers Want to Go 'Home'

weekend box office: March 29, 2015

Things on heads: a theme.

So is Lionsgate/Summit still going to split the final “Divergent” book into two parts, a la “Harry Potter” and “Twilight”? Because at least those movies were blockbusters. Most of the “Twilight” movies grossed between $400 and $800 worldwide, while the “Harry Potter” movies all grossed between $800 million and $1.3 billion worldwide. That last figure was for “Deathly Hallows Part 2”; and since “Deathly Hallows Part 1” also grossed $960 million worldwide, splitting the final book into two movies meant an extra billion smackers. Hardly chump change. Expecto Dollarum.

“Divergent”? More like Expecto doldrums. The studio, I’m sure, hoped for a “Hunger Games,” but the first movie only did $150 domestic, $137 foreign. The second, “Insurgent,” is doing worse domestically. It opened to $52 last weekend, then dropped 58% this weekend to $22. So after two weekends it’s at $86 as opposed to $94 for the first. Will there really be a clammer for an elongated version of the final lame book? I can’t imagine it.

The second weekend of “Insurgent” was the No. 3 movie this weekend, after two poorly reviewed movies, the animated “Home” (48% on RT) and the comedic “Get Hard” (32%), opened at $54 and $34 million, respectively. The latter is the third-best live-action opening of Will Ferrell’s career and the third-best of Kevin Hart’s career. So teaming them has at least made financial sense. Don’t know much about “Home,” other than the ad could read: “From the writers of ‘Get Smart,’ the director of ‘Sinbad: The Legend of the Seven Seas,’ and from the studio that brought you ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel.’”

The rest of the top 10 includes the third weekend of “Cinderella” (now at $150 domestic, $280 worldwide), the fourth weekeend of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” ($28 domestic, $62 worldwide) and the seventh weekend of “Kingsman” ($119 domestic, $302 worldwide).

Next weekend we get the seventh installment of “Fast and Furious,” called “Furious 7,” which star Vin Diesel thinks should win an Academy Award for best picture. Because he’s Vin Diesel. 

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Posted at 09:23 AM on Mar 29, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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