Monday 1 July 2013

U.S Box Office Report - 28th - 30th June 2013

1. Monsters University  - $46.8M - $171M
2. The Heat - $40M - $40M
3. World War Z - $29.8M - $123.7M
4. White House Down - $25.7M - $25.7M
5. Man of Steel - $20.8M - $248.6M
6. This Is The End -  $8.7M - $74.6M
7. Now You See Me - $5.5M - $104.6M
8. Fast & Furious Six - $2.4M - $233.3M
9. Star Trek Into Darkness- $2M - $220.5M
10. The Internship - $1.4M - $41.7M

Two news releases face off this week, both skewing slightly different demographics. In the one corner we have The Heat, a comedy featuring Sandra Bullock and star-of-the-moment, Melissa McCarthy. In the other, the second Capital invasion flick of the year, White House Down. Monsters University was expected to win the frame, leaving the two new releases to battle it out with World War Z and Man of Steel. Next weekend should prove to be an interesting one too, with the Despicable Me sequel up against Disney's costly (and risky) Lone Ranger movie.

Monsters University opened to the second best weekend figure in Pixar's history, clearing $82.2M by the end of play on its first Sunday. It would go on to dominate throughout the week, crossing $100M on Tuesday. As it rolled up to its second Friday, the prequel was sitting pretty on $124M. In comparison, after seven days, Brave had made $97M, with Cars 2 just shy of $91M. Neither of the two new releases this frame were expected to cause Monsters University any great trouble, and it secured the top spot again on Friday with $14.2M, a dip of 54% on the same day last week. As usual with a family friendly release, Saturday and Sunday matinees boosted takings, giving the picture a weekend total of $46.8M - down 44% overall on last frame. In comparison. Brave dropped 49% in that same time period, while Cars 2 fell a quite shocking 60%. That means that after ten days on general release MU has made $171M and already surpassed the entire theatrical run of A Bug's Life. Despicable Me 2 will offer fresh family entertainment next Friday, but there's easily enough market to support both films. At this early stage, a $275M+ finish can't be ruled out for the Pixar prequel.

Paul Feig has been an writer, director and producer for a number of years, working on such shows as Freak & Geeks, Arrested Development and The Office. He's also made numerous one-off and regular appearances in all manner of TV shows. But it was his 2011 sleeper hit, Bridesmaids, that put him front and centre in Hollywood. The ensemble comedy, led by Kristen Wiig, opened to a strong $26M in mid-May, and would go on to be a stalwart of the top ten for an incredible 8 weeks during a very busy summer. It finally topped out at $169M and introduced the cinema-going world to one Melissa McCarthy. Like Feig, the actress had been working for a number of years, taking a long-running role in Gilmore Girls amongst various movie work. In 2010 she was cast as one of the leads in the sitcom Mike & Molly, for which she would win an Emmy award. She took on a supporting role in Bridesmaids and all but stole the movie, receiving an Oscar nomination in the process. She followed this up with a turn opposite Jason Bateman in Identity Thief, which while critically maligned, became a $134M hit back in February - with many crediting McCarthy's appeal as the primary reason for its success.

In the meantime, Katie Dippold, who had cut her teeth writing for Parks & Recreations, turned in a script entitled The Heat, a female led action comedy. Dippold had been inspired by the buddy flicks of the eighties, particularly the under rated Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines film, Running Scared. However, despite buying the script for $600K, studio execs were nervous about a female led action comedy, and movement initially stalled. A lengthy negotiation period saw Feig, McCarthy and Sandra Bullock sign on to the project, and their involvement was officially announced in May 2012, with an April 2013 release date penned in. The Heat would see Bullock take on the role of by-the-book FBI agent Sarah Ashburn, while McCarthy would play the rough & ready Detective Shannon Mullins. Their paths clash when they're forced to work together to take down a Russian mobster. The first footage debuted back in November, and was supported by a red band trailer. Fox obviously felt confident enough about the picture to push it back from a quiet April spot into the middle of summer season. While reviews haven't been as strong as Bridesmaids, it still sat on a fairly respectable 63% approval rating just prior to its release. The Heat hit the ground running and never looked back. It opened in second place and looked at one point like it might knock Monsters University off the top spot. A very solid Friday take of $13.6M led to an even stronger Saturday haul of $14.3M. It held back both WWZ and White House Down throughout the entire weekend and finished up with an excellent $40M total. That marks the best opening weekend for both Bullock (previous best - The Blind Side's $34.1M) and McCarthy (Identity Thief with $34.6M) and means the film will recoup its $43M production budget on its fourth day of release. It obviously remains to be seen if The Heat will have the kind of legs that helped Bridesmaids become such a big success, but it's already off to a great start and proves yet again that there is a huge untapped market for female-led movies.

 It's not unusual to see two pictures with very similar plots, getting a release within a few months of one another - Deep Impact, Armageddon, Antz, A Bug's Life, and more recently Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. The last few years are littered with examples, and 2013 proves to be no different. Back in March, Olympus Has Fallen saw Gerard Butler taking on terrorists in the White House, hoping to save Aaron Eckhart's president in the process. Now comes the turn of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in the Roland Emmerich directed feature, White House Down. The film was written by James Vanderbilt, who worked on The Amazing Spider-Man and its upcoming sequel, along with the Robocop remake due in 2014. His spec script for White House Down was snapped up by Sony for an astonishing $3M, one of the highest figures paid for a spec script in recent times. A month after the sale, the studio announced Roland Emmerich was set to helm, with Tatum and Foxx set to play cop John Cale and President James Sawyer respectively, a short while later. Despite moving quickly, it soon became evident that Olympus would hit screens sooner, leaving White House Down to make up for its late arrival with spectacle and mass destruction, something for which Emmerich is noted (he has destroyed various landmarks in at least four of his other movies). Shooting got underway on the $150M production in July 2012, with a Montreal studio doubling for Washington DC. Foxx was last on screen in the very well received Quentin Taratino movie, Django Unchained, while Channing Tatum is on something of a very hot streak, having had three $100M+ earners in 2012 alone.

The initial teaser was a very dark, sombre affair, playing on America's real life fears of a major terrorist attack on the nation's capital. The subsequent trailer was almost the reverse, showing the comedy and camaraderie between the two leads. In recent weeks, to leave no one in any doubt as to what the film was all about, Sony opted to release a trailer over four minutes in length. [Last year, they released so much footage of The Amazing Spider-Man that a fan was able to assemble a 25 minute rough cut of almost the entire movie]. With little competition, Olympus Has Fallen managed a decent opening of $30M, on its way to a domestic finish of $98M, all against a relatively low production budget of $70M. White House Down cost more than double that, and would have to face off against Man of Steel, the second weekend of World War Z and, to a lesser degree, The Heat. Sadly, the memory of Olympus appears to have still been in many cinema-goer's minds as WHD opened in third place on Friday, making only $9M. The news didn't really get any better over the weekend proper, and it wound up on Sunday night with a $25M total - $5M less than the cheaper, less hyped Olympus Had Fallen made in its first weekend. Outside of Anonymous, this is Emmerich's lowest opening since 2000's The Patriot (and that went on to make $113M, a figure WHD will be lucky to see half of). This is a severe disappointment for Sony, and puts the film down as one of the bigger domestic failures of 2013.

Having seen a higher than expected dip in takings during its second weekend, Man of Steel recovered somewhat this frame despite the new competition. On it third Friday on general release it made $6M, with a further $14.7M coming over the remainder of the weekend (an overall drop of 50% on last weekend). That gives the Zack Snyder superhero flick a running total of $248.6M, but also means that a $300M domestic total is almost certainly off the cards. Overseas, Man of Steel surpassed $270M in the last few days. Taken as a brand new film, with no ties to past entries (Similar to The Amazing Spider-Man), the picture is performing well, but one imagines it is still on the low-middle end of the studio's expectations

This Is The End took $8.7M this frame and looks set to top out at around $90-95M (its current total stands at $74M). The ensemble comedy cost Sony $32M to put together and is just getting its international roll-out underway. Up next for star Seth Rogen is the comedy, Townies, while his co-star Jonah Hill will appear opposite Leonardo Di Caprio in The Wolf of Wall Street.

On Friday, Now You See Me became the thirteenth film of 2013 to hit $100M. Directed by Louis Leterrier and starting Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman and Woody Harrelson, it opened well against After Earth and quietly became one of the bigger surprises of the summer. Its five week total now stands at $104.6M.

Fast & Furious Six prepares to leave the top ten in the next week or so. Made for $160M, the action thriller has so far scored $233M domestically and a further $445M overseas - easily making it the most successful entry in the series to date. Having opened back in the middle of May, Star Trek Into Darkness has been a fixture of the top ten for seven weeks now. Made for $190M, the second picture in the rebooted series has scored $220M in North America.

While it may have re-teamed The Wedding Crashers' Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, The Internship isn't seeing anything like that film's box office. Having been trounced by The Purge during its opening frame, the comedy has struggled to make much headway as more and more competition has appeared. From a production budget of $57M, The Internship has domestic tally of $41.7M.

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