Movies - Box Office postsSunday November 24, 2013
Box Office: 'Catching Fire' Does, Oscar Films Could Use a Light
In March 2012, “The Hunger Games” had the third-biggest opening weekend ever at $152.5 million, behind only the final chapter of “Harry Potter” ($169m) and “The Dark Knight” ($158m).
A year and a half later, its sequel, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” has opened $10 million bigger—$161 million—giving it ... the fourth-best opening weekend ever, behind “The Avengers” ($207m), “Iron Man 3” ($174m), and the final “Harry Potter.”
So it goes in the battle for opening weekends. You do better and fall behind. A metaphor for our age.
Even so, impressive. Girls rule, etc. Hollywood, take note.
Right. It has. Wrongly, probably.
“Delivery Man,” the poorly reviewed remake of the charming French-Canadian comedy “Starbuck,” was the only other film to open wide this weekend, and it grossed just $8.2 million in 3,036 theaters. Katniss made that in the time it took me to write this paragraph.
Most everything else fell off: “Thor” by 61% (for $14m and second place), “The Best Man Holiday” by 58% (for $12m and third place), “Free Birds” by 34% (for $5.3m and fifth place).
The few quality films huddle together further down:
Of these, “Gravity” has made big bucks ($245m and counting domestic), “12 Years” isn’t doing poorly ($29m and counting), and none of the rest have grossed more than $5 million.
So we know what’s still not catching fire.
Heil, I mean hail the conquering hero.
Second Weekend of 'Thor' Beats Thoroughly Mortal Competition
In its second weekend, “Thor: The Dark World” topped the box office with $38.4 million, but its competition was thoroughly mortal. The big opener was “The Best Man Holiday,” a sequel to “The Best Man” 15 years ago. It did surprisingly well, $30.5 million, to take second place.
I’m sort of intrigued (I think I’m the only one) by the performances of both “Ender’s Game” and “Last Vegas,” both of which debuted two weekends ago. Back then, “Ender’s,” the sci-fi kids action flick, finished first with $27 while “Vegas,” the oldster comedy, was third with $16.3. But “Ender’s” keeps dropping and “Vegas” doesn’t. This weekend, “Ender’s” finished seventh ($6.2) while “Vegas” is still in third place ($8.8). A tortoise and hare thing.
Meanwhile, “Gravity” earned another $6.2 million to move from seventh to fifth for the year: $240 million.
Among other Oscar contenders, “12 Years a Slave” finished in eighth place ($4.7 for a total of $24.9), “Captain Phillips” finished in ninth ($4.5 for $97.6), “Dallas Buyers Club” 12th ($1.7 for $3), and “All is Lost” 13th ($.9 for $4.2). Of those, only “Captain Phillips” had a wide release greater than 3,000 theaters. “12 Years” is at 1,411, “All is Lost” is at 483, and “Dallas” at 184.
And that noise you hear off in the distance? That’s the “Hunger Games” sequel, opening next Friday.
Don't worry, Thor. Competition arrives next weekend.
‘Thor’ Hammers Competition for $86 Million Open
“Thor: The Dark World” opened in 100 fewer theaters than “Thor” but it grossed $20 million more at the domestic box office: $86.1 million to $65.7 million. That’s the 12th-best opening for a superhero film, after the three Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” movies; the three “Iron Man” movies; the two “Dark Knight” movies; “Man of Steel,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” and, of course, “The Avengers,” which assembled $207 mil during its opening weekend in May 2012, and which is still probably helping the God of Thunder along.
Where will “Thor 2” wind up? Depends on word of mouth. Reviews were mixed: an RT score of 66% but just 38% from top critics. (My review up tomorrow.)
Of the other superhero films that opened in the 80s, “Spider-Man 2” wound up at $373 (“Thor 2” won’t do that well), “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” wound up at $179 (it won’t do that poorly) and “X2: X-Men United” wound up at $214.9 (it could beat that). But it’s November, not May, and “Hunger Games 2” opens next weekend. We’ll see.
The November thing is interesting. All the other superhero movies I’ve mentioned so far opened in May, June or July. The only November superhero competition “Thor” has—ever—is cartoons (“The Incredibles”; “Megamind”), “Unbreakable” in November 2000, and “Supergirl” in November 1984. (If you’re curious: “Supergirl” won its weekend, too, with $5.7 million but grossed only about twice that total: $14.2. And it didn’t even deserve that.)
“Ender’s Game,” meanwhile, is pretty much over—maybe as a franchise, too. It dropped 62% from its weak open to finish fifth for the weekend at $10.2, behind “Bad Grandpa” ($11.3), “Free Birds” ($11.1) and “Last Vegas ($11.1). After two weekends, “Ender’s” has now grossed just $44 million.
Among October releases with Oscar buzz, “Gravity” finished sixth (and has now grossed $231 million), “12 Years a Slave” finished seventh (and has now grossed $17 million), and “Capt. Phillips” finished eighth (and has now grossed ($90.9 million).
The weekend numbers here.
Houston, We Don't Have a Problem: 'Gravity' Breaks October Box-Office Record
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:
- The Descendants (29 screens)
- Up in the Air (15)
- Michael Clayton (15)
- Good Night, and Good Luck (11)
- Syriana (5)
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? (5)
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (4)
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.
Weekend Box Office is Insidious, But You Knew That
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.
No problem. I didn't even know there was an Insidious, Chapter 1.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard