The Reject Report’s Spirit of Vengeance Means War

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There’s a lot of anger in that headline, which should be noted since this is the week of Valentine’s Day and all that. Three new films find release, and while the Reese Witherspoon rom-com doesn’t exactly live up to the explosive nature of its title, we’ve also got Nicolas Cage to make things a little crazy out there. Don’t you just love it when the box office goes full Cage? I know I do. Throw in the latest from Studio Ghibli, and you’ve got a nice little storm of separate demographics, except for that one guy who’s a monster Nicolas Cage, Reese Witherspoon, and anime fan. You know you’re out there. It’s the Reject Report, and, before it’s all said and done, someone’s gonna be peeing fire.


It becomes a national event whenever Nicolas Cage has a new film out. These days, it means something for one of his films to get an actual, theatrical release. There was no doubt Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance would find its way into theaters, but it’s been damn near a full year since Drive Angry 3-D. Cage is driving angry again, this time on a bike, and this time returning to a well that brought him some serious attention. The first Ghost Rider debuted to $45.3m in February 2007, so writing was already on the wall that sequel would be headed our way, probably one starring Cage once again. That’s exactly what happened. This time around, the Crank/Gamer directing duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are taking the reigns, roller blade shots and all. Cage’s star power might not be what it was even five years ago, and word on the street is that Spirit of Vengeance is even worse than Mark Steven Johnson’s first go at the Marvel character. Expect this Ghost Rider film to make a nice splash on impact, but it’s not going to be near the mid-$40m area. Look for something closer to high $20m/low $30m for the weekend.

Nicolas Cage wants chocolate cake. Why not?

McG finally returns to theaters. We’ve all been clamoring for the latest piece of brilliance to come from this auteur’s mind since Terminator Salvation dropped in Summer of 2009 with a $42.5m opening. This Means War isn’t going to come close to that this weekend, but it’ll certainly fare better than We Are Marshall, McG’s most recent non-franchise movie, which opened to $6.1m in 2006. Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, and, yes, even Reese Witherspoon, are all certain to be factors when it comes to This Means War’s weekend box office. That it’s the only new romantic movie out will help its numbers, too, though it seems more likely belated Valentine’s Day plans involve The Vow instead. Valentine’s Day sneak previews have already made $1.6m, but expect This Means War to come in with a respectable number somewhere just under $20m, and it’ll be thankful to have that.

Short. Simple. To the point. AND it has Bug Bunny, and who doesn’t love Bugs Bunny?

The Studio Ghibli/Walt Disney releases are finding their way more and more into large numbers of theaters. The Secret World of Arrietty is the widest they’ve seen, over 1500 screens this weekend. Previously, Ponyo pulled in $3.5m on 927 screens and Spirited Away made $1.7m the weekend it found its way onto just over 700 screens. The number of theaters for Arrietty will give it a nice bump, though, this time around, Hayao Miyazaki is only serving as producer rather than director. Look for The Secret World of Arrietty to make between $4–5m this opening weekend, a good number for anime film, but still not a contender when it comes to wide, animated releases.


The Vow and Safe House had a massive brawl last weekend, and that continues now with the two more than likely fighting for the #2 spot behind Spirit of Vengeance. With Valentine’s Day just behind us, and, with some celebrating the holiday late this weekend, The Vow has the upper hand over the Denzel Washington actioner. Still, both films will more than likely have less than 45% drops this weekend, giving them both $20+m. Those are impressive numbers for opening weekends, let alone second weekends in release.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Star Wars: Episode I in 3-D will have drops higher than 45%. The Phantom Menace may even drop more than 50% from what it brought in last weekend. They’ll have showings in the #5 and #6 spots, respectively, both more than likely pulling in $10m or more. Still no word on if Lucas or 20th Century Fox has decided not to do the same for Episodes II-VI. We don’t expect them to, though. Lucas gotta get paid.


Drafthouse Films. An Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. Just in those two ways, the people behind Bullhead must be very pleased with themselves. Deservedly so, as well, as the film is a solid, gangster movie with a fascinatingly tragic lead performance by Matthias Schoenaerts. Our very own Luke Mullen called the film “flat out incredible” in his review and even wrote a very interesting piece comparing Bullhead to Star Wars and Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. Read both of those, and, if you have the opportunity, go check this film out. It’s one of the most engaging character studies of 2011, and it doesn’t pull a single punch.

Bullhead opens in New York, L.A., and Austin.

Also opening in limited release are Deadline opening in Nashville, Love opening in select cities, Michael opening in select cities, Putin’s Kiss opening in select cities, Thin Ice opening in select cities , and Undefeated opening in New York and L.A.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – $29.8m NEW
  2. The Vow – $23.8m (-42.2%)
  3. Safe House -$22.2m (-44.6%)
  4. This Means War – $19.4m NEW
  5. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – $14.9m (-45.2%)
  6. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 3-D – $10.9m (-51.1%)
  7. Chronicle – $6.8m (-42.8%)
  8. The Woman in Black -$5.1m (-48.9%)
  9. The Secret World of Arrietty – $4.8m NEW
  10. The Grey -$2.6m (-47.7%)

Which comes out to $140.3m for the weekend, lower than last weekend, but higher than the President’s Weekend take from 2001. At that time, Unknown and I Am Number Four led the box office charge with showings that average out to about $20m a piece. The four-day weekend for each added a little more to their respective coffers, about a million per film, and we can expect the same with these 2012 films. If nothing else, it’ll be a nice, long weekend to prepare us for next week’s Ghost Rider 3 announcement. You know it’s coming.

We’ll be back early next week to go over the weekend numbers.

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