Box Office

The Reject ReportHere you will find all you need to know for that week’s box office. On Thursday (sometimes earlier if those damned early hitters are coming out) we give you our predictions. Running the numbers through the FSR BoxOffice5000 and totaling them up with a Casio Calculator Watch, we offer the best forecast anywhere for how well the latest releases will do. We also give you a nice run-down of all the films coming out that weekend, both wide and limited releases. On Sunday we show just how far off we were and offer some sort of mea culpa. It’s a best guess estimate, people. It’s not science. That would involve chicken nuggets.

Updates Every: Thursday and Sunday

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in Blended

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Adam Sandler‘s probably wasn’t too good. The funny man’s (sort of? I guess he’s still funny sometimes?) latest box office outing, Blended, which tantalizingly re-teamed him with his very own Meg Ryan surrogate, Drew Barrymore, and at least hinted at the possibility of personal and professional growth through a more adult and family-friendy plotline (“they are bllllending”) than we are used to seeing from the actor, didn’t do so well at the box office. Turns out, going up against films like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla (and even Neighbors, which did make less than Blended but still pulled in a tidy fourth-place finish after three weeks in theaters) isn’t a great idea. It’s an even worse idea when your film just isn’t very good (or, at least, when your film has been savaged by critics far and wide). The Frank Coraci feature made just $14.23M at this weekend’s box office (not counting holiday numbers, in an attempt to make this as even-keeled as possible), putting it quite firmly in third place behind both the mutants and the mutos. How bad is that for a Sandler outing? His last film, Grown Ups 2, which opened last summer after a holiday weekend, made $41.5M in its opening weekend. Not enough perspective for you? Sandler’s last attempt at actual profundity, 2009’s Funny People, made $22.6M on its opening weekend (and that’s a film that people, quite wrongly, hated). What went wrong? Maybe nothing — maybe we’re all just done with Adam Sandler’s schtick.

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The LEGO Movie

Everything is still awesome. Even after three weeks of release, Warner Bros. The LEGO Movie continues to dominate the counted beans of the movie world. This weekend, the masterfully built CG-animated adventure tale not only had to endure the eruption of Pompeii, it also had to deal with a very motivated action film from Kevin Costner in 3 Days to Kill. Neither were up to the task, leading The LEGO Movie to once again reign supreme, building its domestic box office receipts to $183 million in three weeks. And you know what that means: sequel! 

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As a number of box office reports will recognize, this was one of the weirdest weekends ever for new releases. For one thing, a documentary topped the chart for the three-day frame (there’s a chance it won’t win the whole four-day Labor Day weekend, however), and for another thing, a Spanish-language movie in limited release rounded out the top five highest grossing pics. Both of these bettered all other openers, including the action thriller Getaway and the British terrorism thriller Closed Circuit, which debuted Wednesday in a low-end yet still-wide release. It’s certainly the most curious weekend for box office numbers since a Bollywood movie opened in the top ten back in June. The doc at #1 is One Direction: This Is Us, and as far as I’m aware this is only the seventh nonfiction feature to open this high (the others are Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Jackson: This Is It, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour and the three Jackass movies — I would maybe count Borat, too, but many people would not), and the first since 2010. To show how bad a weekend this was overall, though, This Is Us debuted at almost half the amount that Justin Bieber: Never Say Never did, but sadly that one was just barely beat (by only a few hundred-k) by the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It. Still, you can bet we’ll continue getting 3D music doc-busters starring the pop act du jour thanks to this distinction, even […]

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Identity Thief Movie

Despite being panned by critics (including here), Identity Thief scored big at the box office and with fans. Seth Gordon‘s comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman earned $36.6m through the weekend against limited competition. The only other wide release was Steven Soderbergh’s final film (until we coax him out of retirement), Side Effects, which was in 500 fewer theaters and scored $10m. Warm Bodies dropped to the #2 spot with $11.5m, only $1.9m worth of people wanted to see Top Gun re-released in 3D, and the Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers won the highest per theater average this weekend with over $14k in 3 theaters. Identity Thief has a production budget listed as $35m, so the numbers here are solid and point it directly toward never-ending syndication on TBS. It’s probably not surprising, but the number one movie also earned a massive disparity between critics and audiences, so it’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain its good will going into next weekend where only Die Hard, A Good Day to and a few indies led by the titanic Nicholas Sparks’ Romance Train await crowds looking for something to do between inhaling heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. For those who enjoyed Identity Thief, screenwriter Craig Mazin recently spoke about it on Broken Projector, and he’ll be back on the show this Friday to go through four pages of the script from conception to production. Plus, Gordon spoke with us about aiming to please audiences, something that the director seems to have pulled off here. [Box Office Mojo]

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The Avengers

According to USA Today, 2012 is the biggest box office year in movie history (not adjusted for inflation). The numbers aren’t set yet (because, you know, the year’s not over), but if the predictive models hold, the industry will close out with $10.8b and the first year since 2009 that individual ticket sales went up. Unsurprisingly, it was buoyed by big franchise hits — including over a billion coming in solely from The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Another billion was earned from a franchise that was ending (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2), two franchises that were just beginning (The Hunger Games and a rebooted Spider-Man) and a franchise that’s stronger than ever at a half-century old (Bond, James Bond). In the simplest terms, it only took 6 movies to cross the $2b mark this year whereas it took 8 movies to do the same in 2011. That may seem small, but when you’re dealing in the hundreds of millions, it can be the difference between a slump and a reason to buy a sheet cake at Costco for the company break room. Especially when the top movie this year outdid the top movie of the previous by $242m. The whole mess is too complicated to reduce to a single factor. Marvel’s big gamble paid off in a profound way, but there’s also the rebounding economy at large to think about and the general fickleness of consumers. Plus, this raw number doesn’t take into consideration that 50 more movies were released in 2012, […]

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In an off week at the box office, it was the battle of three holdover releases, with all of the new films dropping well down the charts. From Killing Them Softly‘s lukewarm 7th place finish to horror film The Collection, it was not a great weekend to be new to theaters. The films with previously built success — from the wildly passionate fanbase film (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2) to the one with a half-century of history (Skyfall) to the one with Oscar written all over it (Lincoln) — were the ones that brought home the bank in an otherwise warm weekend.

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With an estimated opening weekend of $141.3m, it’s not hard to foresee a future in which The Twilight Saga makes some sort of cinematic comeback. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 may be the “final” entry in this series, but a money train like this is hard to stop. We’re reminded of this as we see a new Star Wars (the last of which opened higher than any other Star Wars movie at $108m on opening weekend) back in development. To say the very least, the Summit Entertainment accounting department is not impressed with your dancing on the vampire romance saga’s grave. It’s already working on a script for three more films starring a CGI sparkly child.

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James Bond in Skyfall

Put simply, Skyfall performed just as expected — it went big. Led by strong performances from Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem as a delicious entry into the James Bond rogues gallery, Sam Mendes’ 23rd Bond film found itself atop them all with an outstanding $87.8 million domestic opening, besting the previous entry, Quantum of Solace‘s $67.5 million. It also became the fourth biggest opening of 2012, behind The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games. Not bad for a 50-year old man with a gun.

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Wreck-It Ralph

On the leaderboard at the box office arcade this weekend, the initials read WIR, for Wreck-It Ralph. They could also read WDP for Walt Disney Pictures, as it was Disney’s incredible marketing push that led Ralph to a $49.1 million opening weekend, dwarfing the competition in the same weekend it swallowed Star Wars. Although it wasn’t just marketing, it was quality. Ralph rode an A Cinemascore grade and an 84% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes to become the highest opening for a Disney Animation movie ever, narrowly beating Tangled‘s $48.8 million take.

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James Bond in Skyfall

Bond is back and New York is an Empire state of emergency. That’s the story playing out in this weekend’s box office numbers. From a massive showing for 007 overseas to a lackluster run for Wachowski Starship and their Cloud Atlas, it was an interesting weekend at the movies.

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Arbitrage 2012 Film

Resident Evil: Retribution won the box office this weekend with $21.1m domestic (an average amount for the franchise), but it was The Master which impressed most with a stunning $146,000 per theater average (scoring a total of $730,000 before expanding next week) and Arbitrage which scored over $2m in just under 200 theaters. The 5-theater feat from Paul Thomas Anderson‘s latest makes it the second-highest opening per theater average in history for a limited release live-action film (behind Red State). If that seems like a lot of qualifiers, it’s because it is. However, it’s important to keep in context that top record-makers for per theater averages are 6 Disney-released films (The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Hercules) followed by Red State, followed by another Disney-released film (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), followed by The Master in the #9 spot. So it’s not like this is a wide-open field or anything. This is an achievement almost solely regulated to animated features, but it’s unsurprising considering the massive buzz that The Master has achieved ahead of a very small release. [Box Office Mojo]  

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Empty Movie Theater

To Whom It May Concern: 532,000,000. If you’re drinking the last drops of stale champagne from last night after celebrating the second highest-grossing summer on record, that number should sober you up a bit. It’s the number of actual tickets sold from the first week in May to Labor Day, and it’s down 4% from last year – making it (if the number holds) the smallest amount of moviegoers coaxed into theaters since 1993. This isn’t a doomsday scenario or anything. It’s not an air raid siren; just a wake up call. Overall revenue dropped for the first time in 7 years, but even as you’re still making large amounts of money, take note that your audience is looking for something else. You might say that the Olympics were the villain, but they were offset by higher ticket prices that managed to hide a deep, bleeding cut. Sometime soon, there will be a saturation point for how high you can drive up individual ticket costs while audience numbers creep down and the blood shows. That’s pretty basic economics, but who knows. Maybe a growing economy will mean you never have to see larger numbers of customers chased away by absurdly high entry fees; perhaps they’ll stabilize alongside a population willing and able to spend a little bit more to see magic in a big, dark room. Regardless, you’ve got to change your products, and you’ve got to change the way you’re presenting them to us. You’ve got to know that there’s a […]

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Obamas America

The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy continued to make money this weekend. In fact, the top 7 box office earners from last week all kept their spots this time around except for Sparkle which dropped to 11th place and allowed The Dark Knight Rises and Timothy Green to improve their positions. Premium Rush opened to 7th place with $6.3m on 2,255 screens – resulting in a per screen average that was on par with movies that have been out for two to three weeks and lower than some new offerings. It wasn’t an auspicious opening, but even as the top winners ossify in the August doldrums, the real winners are indie films, and at the top of the heap is 2016: Obama’s America. Based on the book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” by Dinesh D’Souza and co-directed by D’Souza and John Sullivan, the documentary takes a look at what the country and world might be like if the President were to earn a second term. After a limited run in July, the documentary had a successful weekend with $6.2m (which you’ll note almost beat out Premium Rush), vaulting to the number 6 spot on the list of highest-grossing political docs. Even more dramatic, it’s now the highest-grossing right-leaning political doc, beating out Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (which was produced by Sullivan) for the honor. It seems possible that Obama’s America might be able to increase its position on the overall list by earning $5.3m more to overtake Capitalism: A Love Story. Depending on how the expansion is handled, and how audiences […]

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Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises was king of the hill for three weeks, but this weekend found it at the bottom of an inescapable prison. By “inescapable prison,” I mean in 3rd place with another $19.5m and a cumulative $835m worldwide gross, so no one is eating soup and cabbage at Warners or anything. The Campaign – featuring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis punching babies for votes – took 2nd with an opening draw of $27.4m domestic. The unsurprising winner, however, was The Bourne Legacy which scored $40.2m here in the States and a worldwide total of $48m. That’s a better opening than The Bourne Identity but it’s a bit behind the two other franchise entries. Again, not surprising. In slightly smaller releases, the Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones marriage drama Hope Springs came in 4th place with 1,000 or so fewer theaters, taking $15.6m. Travis Pastrana’s stunt-fueled Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D took $1.1m from 800 theaters for a debut at 13th place, but in super limited releases, Julie Delpy’s follow-up 2 Days in New York brought in $27,000 on only 2 screens, beating the per screen average of every other movie this week. A close second on that front? The US release of Max and the Junkmen (Max et les Ferrailleurs) which earned $13,000 off just one screen at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, only 41 years after its original release abroad. [Box Office Mojo]

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The Dark Knight Rises

According to Box Office Mojo, The Dark Knight Rises ended its weekend run with $160.8m in domestic box office, which means it outdid all the other Batman movies, but failed to break any other records. If there were a battle between the superhero titans, The Avengers definitely won it with its top-of-the-hill $207m opening weekend. Not that it should matter to fans, considering these ultra high numbers mean Marvel isn’t quitting any time soon, and Warners is nowhere near done with Batman. After all, The Dark Knight went on to score over a billion dollars and become the 4th highest domestically grossing movie of all time (without inflation adjustment). It’s high up there, and its sequel just outdid its opening weekend by $2m. There’s no doubt that the third in the series has a great starting pace to clear a billion as well. Plus, its foreign take so far is $248.8m which is far above The Dark Knight’s opening worldwide score of $199.7m. It cleared by $2m domestically, but the opening foreign box office was almost double this time around. So, absolutely no one was surprised this weekend by the large numbers. The Catwoman spin-off rumors can begin.

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Between now and the end of summer, there’s going to be but one prime directive for those of us who think about, write about, care about and have any sort of general interest in the movies. The Dark Knight Rises. Four days away and already being built up to be one of the biggest openings of all-time, Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film is everything you’ve been waiting for, even while you were secretly sneaking off to make The Avengers the third highest grossing film of all-time. But before all your movie theaters belong to Batman, a few other movies are getting in their last licks at the summer box office. Namely a fourth film in an animated franchise that just won’t go extinct and a reboot of another hero’s journey. For Ice Age: Continental Drift and The Amazing Spider-Man, this weekend may be the last hurrah. And they made the most of it.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

Although The Amazing Spider-Man opened the lowest out of all the other movies in the Sony franchise with a $65m weekend, it’s already scored $341m worldwide. Not bad for a week’s work. Sam Raimi‘s series opened with $114.8m, $88.1m, and $151m (chronologically), and even though Marc Webb’s rebooted version starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone didn’t hit that mark, it benefited from an extended holiday week and made more than enough to earn sequels. This film was in a funny situation though. As pointed out last week, it had the ability to change the direction of major studios – a fitting task for the reboot of a franchise that shifted the rudder of the last decade. For some fans, it proved to be a story success, but the response has been far from unanimously positive. However, this initial haul (and the money still to come) proves that Sony (and all other studios) can keep mining their name-brand superhero content as long as they want, rebooting whenever they see fit. Spider-man and Batman are the new Bond.

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Brave

Brave has already made a milestone for Pixar as it marks the 13th straight release to debut at #1. No surprise for a brand that’s loved around the world and continually crafts memorable movies that resonate with children and old children alike. But where does it rank against other Pixar openings? According to numbers from Box Office Mojo, The Movie Formerly Known as The Bear and the Bow made $66.7m domestically in its first weekend, making it the fifth highest in the production company’s history. Here’s the full ranking:

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That

It wasn’t quite the kind of fruitful summer weekend the likes of Adams Shankman and Sandler had hoped for. Running up against a smattering of lackluster reviews and some stiff competition, their films — Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy, respectively — failed to gain momentum in their opening weekend, ending with less than stellar results and a few bumps and bruises, thanks to Ridley Scott and some animated jungle creatures.

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Prometheus and Madagascar

With all the talk of Ridley Scott, Damon Lindelof and the return of the Alien franchise, our best guess is that you too didn’t realize that a new Madagascar movie had hit theaters. It did, oddly enough. And families did not forget about it. In fact, they remembered it so vividly that it propelled Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted to a win over the R-rated Prometheus and a weekend win. The family toon featuring the voice work of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer became the second film in the franchise to top $60 million in its opening weekend, bested slightly by Madagascar 2‘s 2009 release. For Prometheus, it didn’t have much trouble becoming the highest opening of the Alien franchise, considering the rest of its competition opened in the 1980s and 1990s. Either way, $50 million dollars isn’t half bad for a second place finish.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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