erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Sunday October 06, 2013

Houston, We Don't Have a Problem: 'Gravity' Breaks October Box-Office Record

Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock

Houston, we don't have a problem.

“Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron’s powerful two-actor space novella, set a record for an October film opening with a $55 million haul, breaking the record set by *cough* “Paranormal Activity 3,” $52 million in 2011, and creating new record openings for its two stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. 

Bullock’s previous best was “The Heat” ($39 million in June), while Clooney’s, believe it or not, was “Batman and Robin,” way back in 1997. All of Clooney’s best openings are from back then: “The Perfect Storm” ($41m in 2000) and the various “Ocean’s” movies ($36-$39m from 2001 to 2007). After that, they drop off to less than $20 million. He’s the quintessential Hollywood movie star, the last movie star according to an old Time magazine cover, and yet his movies don’t open the way that movies about giant robots open. He makes smart movies that open small. The following all opened on fewer than 30 screens:

He’s the last adult in the room.

But “Gravity” is a good sign. It pulled in the sci-fi geeks, the IMAX folks, and the people who pay attention to buzz, who care about how movies do on the festival circuit, and the final opening tally was $55. Good news. To paraphrase Maj. Frank Burns: It’s nice when the nice happens to nice movies.

Review up tomorrow.

Elsewhere, “Runner Runner,” that Justin Timberlake thing with Ben Affleck as the villain, opened in more than 3,000 theaters but grossed only $7.6 million, for a pretty lousy $2,500k-per-theater opening. It finished third for the weekend. No. 2 was the second weekend of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” which dropped only 36% and grossed $21.5.

A third film opened in 387 theaters and grossed $2.5 million to finish ninth for the weekend: “Pulling Strings.” Never heard of it? It’s a Mexican comedy. It’s Lionsgate attempting to redo its success with “Instructions Not Included,” the Mexican comedy that opened at the end of August and has slowly become the fourth-highest-grossing foreign-language film ever in the U.S., grossing more than $40 million. Ahead of it? “Crouching Tiger,” “Life is Beautiful,” and “Hero.” It won’t catch those. Even so, this is one of the bigger box-office stories of the year: the under-the-radar success of Mexican comedy in the U.S. Don’t tell FOX-News.

Here are the weekend estimates from Box Office Mojo.

Posted at 10:42 AM on Oct 06, 2013 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday September 15, 2013

Weekend Box Office is Insidious, But You Knew That

Here's Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo on Thursday:

Combining goodwill from the first movie with a Friday the 13th release date, horror sequel Insidious Chapter 2 seems poised for one of the biggest openings ever for the month of September. Meanwhile, Luc Besson's The Family should take a distant second place.


And “Insidious Chapter 2” had the second-biggest opening ever for the month of September ($41 million, $1.5 off the record), and “The Family” finished a distant second ($14.5).

All y'all are so predictable.

But there's good news.

“Riddick,” which didn't open particularly strong, fell off a whopping 63.1% for third place, while “One Direction: This is Us,” top of the pops two weekends ago, is now 8th, adding another $2.4 million to a now $28.6 million total. Skimpy compared to Bieber ($73 in 2011) but not to the Jonases ($19 in 2009). It's also good for fourth in concert films since 1984. Third, though, is “Hannah Montana” at $65 million. So fourth it is.

“Lee Daniels' The Butler,” meanwhile, lost 91 theaters but fell off by only 33% to finish fourth. It also broke the $100 million mark. It's the second-highest grossing film to open in August/September, after “We're the Millers,” which is good news. I mean I'm not much of a fan of the movie but I like the idea of it and wouldn't mind seeing more of it, but better.

Meanwhile, the Mexican comedy “Instructions Not Included” dropped to sixth place for the weekend ($4.2 million) and rose to sixth place in terms of unadjusted foreign box office since 1980 ($26.5 million).

All in all, it feels like September, doesn't it? Not much happening at the theaters but the blogs are agog with Oscar buzz.

The tallies.

Insidious Chapter 2

No problem. I didn't even know there was an Insidious, Chapter 1.

Posted at 10:49 AM on Sep 15, 2013 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday September 08, 2013

Weekend Box Office: ‘Riddick’ Sputters on Diesel Fumes; ‘Instructions’ Instructs Hollywood

“Riddick,” starring Vin Diesel, won the weekend, grossing $18.6 million, but that’s not the big story. Its opening total, after all, was still $6 million less than “The Chronicles of Riddick” in 2004, and that movie was considered a box-office disappointment, grossing $57.7 overall.

“One Direction: This is Us” fell off by 74.1%, one of the biggest second-weekend drops in movie history, but that’s not the big story, either, since two other movies (“Texas Chainsaw 3D” and “The Purge”) actually had bigger second-weekend drops this year. Besides, who’s surprised? One Direction has one fan base, and they went last weekend.

No, the big box-office story this weekend is the movie that came in third place with $8.1 million: “Instructions Not Included.” It’s a Mexican comedy (“No se Aceptan Devoluciones”) starring Eugenio Derbez as a playboy who one day receives a package on his doorstep: a baby girl, from a past encounter, whom he’s forced to raise. In the process, he has to grow up, etc.

Why is that the big story? Because after two weekends, this thing has now grossed $20.3 million in the U.S. Here’s a list of Hollywood movies it has already outperformed:

It’s already the 10th-highest-grossing foreign language film ever in the U.S., and should move up to sixth ($24.6 million) by next Friday. At that point, only these films are ahead of it:

Most of the above movies, though, were critically acclaimed Oscar contenders and/or released by Miramax, which marketed and pushed and bullied them into box office successes. “Instructions” is barely getting any attention from the critics. It is, however, being distributed well by Lionsgate, who, earlier this summer, turned Kevin Hart’s concert film, “Let Me Explain,” into the fourth highest-grossing concert film of all time, after “Raw,” “The Original Kings of Comedy,” and “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip.”

Apparently someone at Lionsgate knows what they’re doing. Without instructions, either.

The numbers.

Instructions Not Included

The 10th-highest-grossing foreign language film in the U.S. after only two weekends.

Posted at 01:31 PM on Sep 08, 2013 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday September 01, 2013

Weekend Box Office: Five Brit Kids Race, Beat Up Old Black Man; Mexicans Laugh

The concert film “One Direction: This is Us” won the weekend with a $17 million haul. That's a lot of bubblegum, kids. It's the fourth-biggest opener ever for a concert film:

Movie Opening Theaters Total Gross Release
1 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds $31,117,834 683 $65,281,781 Feb. 2008
2 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never $29,514,054 3,105 $73,013,910 Feb. 2011
3 Michael Jackson's This Is It $23,234,394 3,481 $72,091,016 Oct. 2009
4 One Direction: This is Us $17,000,000 2,735 $17,000,000 Aug. 2013
5 Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience $12,510,374 1,271 $19,162,740 Feb. 2009
6 Katy Perry: Part of Me $7,138,266 2,730 $25,326,071 July 2012
7 Glee: The 3D Concert Movie $5,961,231 2,040 $11,862,398 Aug. 2011

After that you've got hacks like U2, the Rolling Stones, the Talking Heads and Prince.

Miley Cyrus started all this. In Feb. 2008, her concert film grossed an easy $60 mil and so every year we get another one: Miley (2008), the Jonases (2009), Justin Bieber (2011), Kate Perry (2012). Distributors choose a weak weekend to release it. Kids flock. Now it's One Direction's turn.

What is One Direction? I knew them from that Pepsi commercial with Drew Brees but apparently they got their big break on “The X Factor” in Great Britain. They auditioned separately, lost, but were put together and entered the group category and did well, finishing third. Then they were signed to Simon Cowell's record label. I think that's a stipulation of appearing on one of his shows, right? He gets right of first refusal. 

After being thus packaged by corporate flacks, here they are in a video in which they resist being packaged by corporate flacks.

As for the rest? “Lee Daniels' The Butler” fell off only 10% to finished a close second ($14.7 mil), “We're the Millers” fell off only 3% for third ($12.6) and “Planes” fell off 9% for fourth ($7.7).

In fifth is the Mexican comedy “Instructions Not Included,” directed and starring Eugenio Derbez. It grossed $7.5 million in only 347 theaters. My interest is piqued.

The breakdown:

  • Highest gross: “One Direction: This is Us,” $17 million
  • Most theaters: “We're the Millers,” 3,445
  • Best theater average: “Instructions Not Included,” $21.6K per theater in 347 theaters
  • Best theater average > 1000 theaters: “One Direction: This is Us,” $6,216
  • Biggest drop for a movie in wide release: “Jobs," -57.4%

One Direction

One Direction: Just five lads havin' foon.

Posted at 12:20 PM on Sep 01, 2013 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday August 25, 2013

Weekend Box Office: 'You're Next' Isn't

From Box Office Mojo on Thursday:

Among new entries this weekend, horror movie You're Next seems like the strongest contender, and could claim first place ahead of Lee Daniels' The Butler.


“You're Next,” the horror movie with cute animal masks, finished 7th for the weekend, grossing $7 million in 2,437 theaters, for a lousy $2,893 average. “The Butler” came out on top again, grossing $17 million, but its total gross after a week-plus is still only $52 million. Meaning it probably won't do “The Help” kind of business, which was up to $71 million after its second weekend, on its way to $169 million. Because “Butler” lacks foregrounded white characters? Because it's about men rather than women and stories about men don't do as well at the box office? (Ha! Had to get that in there.) Because it's not as good? Not that “The Help” was ... you know.

Elsewhere, “We're the Millers” finished second and has now grossed $91 million; “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” surely one of the worst-titled movies in recent years, grossed $9.3 million in 3,118 theaters, while the British sci-fi apocalyptic comedy “The World's End” grossed almost the same ($8.9) in half as many theaters (1,549).

The breakdown:

  • Highest grossing: “The Butler,” $17 million
  • Most theaters: “We're the Millers,” 3,445
  • Best theater average: “The Grandmaster,” $18K in seven theaters
  • Best theater average > 1000 theaters: “The World's End,” $5,773
  • Biggest drop for a movie in wide release: “Kick Ass 2,” -68%

A lot of box office disappointment in August. “Planes” is at $59 million, “Elysium” $69m, “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” $48. “Kick Ass 2” has only grossed $22 million, while “Jobs,” the Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher of all people, has grossed only $12 million.

The totals.

You're Next

After you ... No, after you ... No, I insist.

Posted at 11:32 AM on Aug 25, 2013 in category Movies - Box Office
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