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Sunday August 02, 2015

Box Office: How Big a Star was Tom Cruise Anyway?

Tom Cruise's “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” won the weekend with a $56 million haul, beating the reprise of National Lampoon's “Vacation,” which earned $14.8 million after a Wednesday release. If you count its first two days as well, the reboot still comes in at only $21.7.

“M:I”'s gross is the 10th-best opening of the year, behind, among others, “Pitch Perfect 2,” but it's the third-biggest opening of Cruise's career, behind only “War of the Worlds” ($64.8 in 2005) and “Mission: Impossible II” ($57.8 in 2000). 

Doesn't that seem startling? Tom Cruise has been a box-office champ for so long you expect his numbers to be higher. In the big three categories, in fact, here are the biggest movies of Tom Cruises's career, along with their rank in each category:

  • Domestic: “War of the Worlds” (2005): $234.2 million (110th)
  • Worldwide: “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” (2011): $694.7 million (77th)
  • Domestic (adjusted for inflation): “Top Gun” (1986): $389.9 million (109th)

Each stat is startling in its own way. 

No Tom Cruise movie grossed from than $235 million in the U.S.? And “Ghost Protocol” was his biggest worldwide hit? And even when you adjust for inflation to compensate for Cruise's early years as a movie star, his biggest hit, “Top Gun,” doesn't even rank in the top 100

I thought Cruise was our biggest movie star over the past 30 years but these numbers don't really indicate it. 

So I looked at other numbers—specifically where each movie ranked the year it was released:

Year Movie Dom. Gross Yearly Rank Key moments in career
1981 Taps $35.8 16  <— Stuns in debut
1983 The Outsiders $25.6 28  
1983 Losin' It $1.2 140  
1983 Risky Business $63.5 10 <— Becomes a star
1983 All the Right Moves $17.2 42  
1986 Legend $15.5 56  
1986 Top Gun $179.8 1 <— Becomes a superstar
1986 The Color of Money $52.2 12  
1988 Cocktail $78.2 9  
1988 Rain Man $172.8 1  
1989 Born on the Fourth of July $70.0 17 <— First Oscar nom
1990 Days of Thunder $82.6 13  
1992 Far and Away $58.8 21  
1992 A Few Good Men $141.3 5  
1993 The Firm $158.3 4 <— No. 4 for the year?
1994 Interview with the Vampire $105.2 11  
1996 Mission: Impossible $215.4 3 <— First M:I film
1996 Jerry Maguire $153.9 4  <— Second Oscar nom
1999 Eyes Wide Shut $55.6 42  <— Kubrick
1999 Magnolia $22.4 80  <— Last Oscar nom
2000 Mission: Impossible II $215.4 3  <— First sequel
2001 Vanilla Sky $100.6 20  
2002 Minority Report $132.0 17  
2003 The Last Samurai $111.1 20  
2004 Collateral $101.0 23 <— Villain role
2005 War of the Worlds $234.2 4 <— Couch jumping on “Oprah,” etc.
2006 Mission: Impossible III $134.0 14  
2007 Lions for Lambs $15.0 127  
2008 Valkyrie $83.0 35  
2010 Knight & Day $76.4 45  
2011 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol $209.3 7 <— Still Cruise's only sequels
2012 Rock of Ages $38.5 84  
2012 Jack Reacher $80.0 38  
2013 Oblivion $89.1 41  
2014 Edge of Tomorrow $100.2 33  

All numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

Now his status makes a little more sense. From “A Few Good Men” in 1992 to “Mission: Impossible III” in 2006, the only Tom Cruise movies that didn't gross $100 million domestically were two serious art films with acclaimed directors. Hell, he even raised a difficult film like the U.S. remake of “Vanilla Sky” to the $100 million mark. He had two No. 1 movies in the 1980s, and top five movies in '92, '93, '96 (two in '96), 2000 and 2005. He kept cruising. 

Most likely, his box office numbers would have gone down as he aged and his fans grew up and had kids of their own, but obviously his 2005 Summer of Weirdness, which included couch jumping on “Oprah,” chastising Matt Lauer for being glib on “Today,” and berating Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants after childbirth, sped up that process. It also probably dinged the b.o. numbers of “War of the Worlds” in 2005, as well as, a year later, “M:I III,” which is the least lucrative of the series by far.

Ever since that summer, Cruise has been crawling his way back, although rather than taking difficult projects he seems resigned to starring in “M:I” movies and smartish sci-fi and/or action flicks that do meh domestic box office. Before “Rogue Nation,” none of his movies this decade opened better than $38 mil—they averaged only $21 mil per opening—so “Rogue” is a nice reprieve for the besmirched, aging Scientologist. But the poster is indicative. Tom Cruise became a superstar by piloting planes and now he's on the outside of them, hanging on for dear life.

Final thought: This will give you an idea how long the man's been around. When “Risky Business” made Tom Cruise a star in the summer of '83, and became the 10th-highest-grossing movie that year, do you know what movie was No. 11? “National Lampoon's Vacation,” starring Chevy Chase. 

 Tom Cruise movies

Cruise: From flying planes to hanging onto them for dear life.

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Posted at 12:29 PM on Aug 02, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Monday July 27, 2015

Box Office: 'Ant-Man' Wins Weekend, Game Over for "Pixels' (and Sandler?)

Jurassic World box office

It's Jurassic's world but it's still Cameron's universe. 

Several milestones this weekend:

  • “Jurassic World” earned another $7 million domestically and surpassed “Marvel's The Avengers” for third place on the all-time domestic charts. It's at $624.08 million. Ahead is Cameron Country: “Titanic” at $658.6 and “Avatar” at $760.5. Has a shot at “Titanic.”
  • Even if you adjust for inflation, “Jurassic” is at 27th all-time, just ahead of “Thunderball,” and just behind “Grease” and “Mary Poppins” and “The Godfather.” Good company.
  • “J-World” also surpassed “Marvel's The Avengers” on the worldwide chart, with a $1.541 billion haul against “MTA”'s $1.519. Again, ahead of it is Cameron Country, but you can barely make it out it's so far ahead. “Titanic” is at $2.1 billion, “Avatar” at 2.7.
  • “Inside Out” earned another $7.4 mil domestically and is now at $320. In pure domestic gross, it's the third-highest-grossing Pixar flick (after “Toy Story 3” and “Nemo”); adjust for inflation, it's seventh (but since 2004, only “TS3” is bigger); while worldwide it's eighth (but Pixar movies tend to open slowly abroad). All in all, a huge success. Moneywise. Quality-wise, it's already a success.

Did anyone pick “Pixels” in the summer box office sweepstakes? I hope not. It earned a mere $24 mil, not even enough to unseat “Ant-Man” from the top spot. The diminutive superhero grossed another $24.9 mil and is now at $106. Meanwhile, the third weekend of “Minions” finished in third place with $22.9 (for a $262 total), while the second weekend of “Trainwreck” earned another $17.2 (for $61 total). 

Jake Gylenhaal's counter-programming boxing movie, “Southpaw,” opened in fifth place at $16 mil, which is better than I thought it would do, while another teen movie, “Paper Towns,” opened in sixth with $12. 

BTW: In my search for box office predictions, I came across Entertainment Weekly's summer 2015 forecast, which ... whatever. The point is the pointed commentary by a guy named Andrew about their predictions:

A lot of these predictions are way off in my opinion. They're saying that Trainwreck will make over $100 million but Pixels and Tomorrowland won't? No chance. I also don't see Magic Mike doing quite that well and I think Ant-Man can crack $200 mil. Especially coming directly after Avengers 2. Never underestimate Marvel.

“Tomorrowland is at $92 and not budging while ”Pixels“ probably won't quadruple it's opening weekend. ”Trainwreck“? Still has a shot at 100. Women-centered movies tend to open more slowly than the male version. But Andrew did nail ”Magic Mike XXL," which EW had at $155 and is currently floundering in the 60s.

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Posted at 05:29 PM on Jul 27, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Monday July 20, 2015

'Ant-Man' a Goliath at Weekend B.O.; Schumer Debuts Strong

“Even 'Ant-Man.'” That’s what Marvel can say.

No “Marvel Cinematic Universe” movie—meaning the Marvel Studios movies that began with “Iron Man” in 2008—has not debuted at No. 1, and now “Ant-Man,” one of its least-powerful and least-known characters, joins the list. It debuted with a $57.2 million haul, which is middling Marvel (Hulk, Fantastic Four), but not bad considering.

So how long before we get the movie version of Man-Wolf? Or Man-Thing? Or Forbush Man?

(For the record, the last movie featuring a Marvel character that didn’t debut at No. 1 was 2012’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” which was a horrible sequel to a horrible movie, and, for the purist in me, more action-horror than superhero. But it was made because the first movie, 2007’s “Ghost Rider,” did debut at No. 1: grossing $45 million and beating back “Bridge at Terabithia,” “Music and Lyrics” and “Norbit,” among others. It wound up grossing $228 million worldwide.)

The second weekend of “Minions” took second place, dropping 57% to $49 million. It’s now at $215 domestic, $625 worldwide. The new Judd Apatow-Amy Schumer comedy, “Trainwreck,” took third with $30 mil.

The highest-grossing marginal release (< 500 theaters) was “Bajrangi Bhaijaan,” which grossed $2.6 million in 256 theaters, followed by “Mr. Holmes,” starring Ian McKellen, which grossed $2.4 mil in 363 theaters.

On the all-time worldwide charts, there’s a slim $8 million gap between “Marvel’s Avengers” in third place ($1.519.6 billion) and “Furious 7” in fourth ($1.511.7 billion), but “Jurassic World” managed to thread that gap. It’s now at $1.513.5 billion. By the end of this week, it’ll be in third place all-time, with only Cameron country (far, far) ahead.

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Posted at 02:26 PM on Jul 20, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday July 12, 2015

Weekend Box Office: Minions Minions, La La La

If the numbers hold, “Minions,” a spinoff of the “Despicable Me” movies, will have the second-highest opening ever for an animated movie, with a $115 million haul. And if the numbers go up just a little? To $121.7? It’ll surpass “Shrek 3” for biggest animated opening ever.

minionBut “Shrek 3” is indicative. Let’s never confuse big openings with lasting impact. Sometimes we all go to a movie and we all regret it and later we all mock it. See: “Spider-Man 3,” the last “Indiana Jones,” and most of the “Star Wars” prequels. To be honest, see most of the top box-office attractions in any given year.

Even so, “Minions” is another coup for Universal, which is already rolling in the dough from its other 2015 fare: “Furious 7,” “Jurassic World,” “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” “Ted 2” was its one misfire, and even that is at $71 domestic, $107 worldwide.

For the weekend, “Jurassic” finished second, dropping a respectable 38% to gross another $18.1. It’s now up to $590 million domestic (4th all-time) and $1.43 billion worldwide (5th all-time).

Pixar’s “Inside Out” finished third with $17 mil. It’s now at $283 domestic and $400 worldwide.

Of the other openers, the horror film “The Gallows” finished fifth with $10 mil, while Ryan Reynolds once again struck dirt as his “Self/Less” grossed $5.3 for eighth place.

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Posted at 09:16 AM on Jul 12, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday July 05, 2015

It's Still Jurassic's World, as 'Magic Mike' Suffers Shrinkage and 'Terminator: Genisys' Goes Hasta La Vista, Baby

A few fun facts about this weekend's box office:

  • “Jurassic World” grossed another $30.9 million and has now passed “The Dark Knight” for 4th place on the all-time domestic box-office chart, with $558.1 million. Next up is “The Avengers” at $623.3. Then it's Cameron country: “Titanic” at $658.6 and “Avatar” at $760.5. “J-Dub” won't get that far. I doubt it'll get past “The Avengers” even.
  • Adjust for inflation, and “Jurassic World” is currently in 38th place, between “Home Alone” ($550) and “Independence Day” ($562). Nothing to sneeze at. 
  • This weekend, “J World” and “Inside Out” are currently within $1 million of each other for first place. If “Jurassic” winds up winning, it'll be the first movie to win the weekend box office four times in a row since ... well, since “Furious 7” in April. But before that, you have to go back to “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Then the first “Hunger Games” in 2012. Then “Avatar” in 2009. Then “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004. So it's not a common occurence. And two in one calendar year? That hasn't happened since both “Meet the Parents” and “The Grinch” lasted four weekends in 2000. 
  • “Terminator: Genisys” finished in third place for the weekend with a $28.7 million debut. It's the weakest debut for any “Terminator” movie since the first, which grossed $4 mil in 1984. 
  • Of course “T:G” did officially open on Wednesday, so if you add Wed. and Thurs. to the mix, that makes a $44 mil debut. But even that would just equal the debut of “T3” back in 2003. Unadjusted. 
  • Adjust for inflation and the “T” movies have been on a downward trajectory since “T2,” which grossed $395 adjusted. Then it's “T3” with $202 and “TS” with $136. You get the feeling that “TG” will be less than that. I.e., TS for “TG.” 
  • “Magic Mike XXL” also debuted poorly, grossing $26.6 since Wednesday and only $11 for the weekend. Cf. “Magic Mike,” which opened to $39 mil three years ago. 
  • But I think “Ted 2” is hurting even more. After debuting poorly last weekend, it fell off a whopping 67% for an $11 mil weekend. After 10 days, it has now grossed $58; after three days, the original “Ted” grossed $54. 

Here are the rest of the numbers.

UPDATE: OK, here are the rest of the numbers. As I mentioned above, less than $1 mil separated “Jurassic” from “Inside Out,” and in the adjustment (down), the latter came out on top: $29.7 to $29.2. So “Jurassic” didn't join that rare breed of modern movie to stay on top four weekends in a row. Worldwide, though, it is at $1.383 billion, which is sixth all-time. Interestingly, No.s 4, 5 and 6 are all still in theaters: “Furious,” “Avengers/Ultron” and “J-Dub.”

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Posted at 07:59 PM on Jul 05, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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