It’s time to put the skepticism to bed like the nice orphan of past failures that it is. Just about every film this weekend performed either right around or above expectations, and some second, third, and even fourth weekend films had drops that were impressively minuscule. As expected, Despicable Me was the big winner of the weekend, but even its take was head and shoulders above most analyst’s best guesses. Predators wasn’t a slam-dunk champion, but it performed on par given its rating and mid-range budget. Even limited releases that didn’t break into the top 10 had notable debuts. All in all it was a lucrative weekend to own a movie studio.
Expect more animation to come from the Universal crew, as Despicable Me launched itself to the top spot. It didn’t come anywhere near setting records. However, the 13th highest weekend in July isn’t anything to thumb your nose at. Neither is the 17th all-time opening weekend for a PG film, a top 20 that has pretty been dominated by Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and the Harry Potter films. In its first weekend, Despicable Me has almost made back its reported production cos, as well, so not only should we expect more animation coming down the pike from Universal, expect a Despicable Me 2 announcement in the next week or two.
On the other side of the genre and rating’s board spectrum, Predators did about as anticipated. It’s tough to open an R-rated film to more than $30 million even with an iconic figure like the Predator as your selling point. The film managed to have the second highest opening for a Predator film and the highest opening for a Predator film with an R rating. While its slow-down factor will probably keep it from reaching the $80.2 million Aliens Vs. Predator ended up making, expect it to find its own success. The proposed sequel could very well happen.
Even with its success though, Predators didn’t make enough to place. The Twi-hards were out for a second weekend and managed the lowest second-weekend drop for a Twilight film. While still just under 50%, that’s not bad for a franchise that has been having 65-70% drops the second weekend out. This puts Eclipse well past the $200-million mark and right on its way trekking towards $300 million. Don’t hold your breath on that. Unless there’s a rel-release planned for sometime later in the year, it’s total domestic take will be somewhere just south of that mark.
Speaking of good to great drop-offs, Toy Story 3, Grown Ups, Knight and Day, and The Karate Kid each had less than 30% drops from last weekend. It’s noteworthy when a film has a second or third weekend drop as low as 25%. It’s almost monumental when it happens to so many movies on the same weekend. It stands to reason the 4th of July holiday and many people taking the entire week off had something to do with this. The same was seen the weekend after 4th of July last year with five films dropping 30% or less.
A few films that didn’t have drops at all this weekend were Cyrus, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Kids Are All Right, all independent films on 200 screens or less and all with averages that make you take notice. Cyrus and The Girl Who Played With Fire averaged $6,875 and $8,773 per screen, respectively. However, The Kids Are All Right averaged a whopping $72,143 per screen. On just seven screens, it pulled in over $500,000. You can expect its theater count to expand massively in the coming weeks, and it could very well make its way into the top 10 at some point.
Here is how the weekend box office shaped up:
- Despicable Me – $60.1m NEW
- The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $33.4m (-48.5%) $237m total
- Predators – $25.3m NEW
- Toy Story 3 – $22m (-27.3%) $340.2m total
- The Last Airbender – $17.1m (-57.5%) $100.2m total
- Grown Ups – $16.4m (-13.9%) $111.3m total
- Knight and Day – $7.8m (-24.8%) $61.9m total
- The Karate Kid – $5.7m (-28.8%) $164.6m total
- The A-Team – $1.8m (-43.6%) $73.9m total
- Cyrus – $1.3m (+77.5%) $3.5m total
$190.9 million is what this weekend is able to boast, 6.5% up from last weekend and 31% up from the same weekend last year. The new films this weekend were both winners, one amazingly so and the other respectfully so. Likewise, the films that had decent second to fourth weekends out of the gate were firm arm-raisers, as well.
It seems kind of a no-brainer given the hype around Inception how next weekend is going to pan out. The fact that it’s Christopher Nolan’s first film since The Dark Knight broke all kinds of records in 2008 is one thing. The amazing buzz and word of mouth the film is already getting is sure to pat down the grass for its place on the top. But don’t count out the Jerry Bruckheimer/Nicolas Cage/Jon Turtletaub/Disney coalition at work with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It opens, Wednesday, so we’ll be back on Tuesday night to go over how we see next weekend shaping up.