Monday 5 August 2013

U.S Box Office Report - 2nd - 4th August 2013

1. 2 Guns - $27.3M - $27.3M
2. The Wolverine - $21.7M - $95M
3. The Smurfs 2 - $18.2M - $27.7M
4. The Conjuring - $13.6M - $108.5M
5. Despicable Me 2 - $10.3M - $326.6M
6. Grown Ups 2 - $8.1M - $116.4M
7. Turbo - $6.4M - $69.4M
8. Red 2 - $5.6M - $45.1M
9. The Heat - $4.7M - $149.5M
10. Pacific Rim - $4.5M - $M

A shorter box office report this time around. Two new releases open this weekend, aimed at opposite ends of the market. Action thriller 2 Guns takes on the Smurfs sequel, and they'll both be up against the second frame of The Wolverine, which was hoping to avoid the usual 55%+ fall that has inflicted the rest of the X-Men series. Elsewhere, horror smash The Conjuring had $100M firmly in its sights. Next week will be a busy one, with the R-rated We're The Millers facing off against the Percy Jackson sequel on Wednesday. They'll be joined by the long-awaited Elysium and Disney's Planes on Friday.

2 Guns is a based on the Steve Grant comic book series of the same name and stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as DEA agent Bobby Trench and NCIS officier Marcus Stigman. Initially the pair are set to investige each other, in the belief one of them is stealing money from the mob. However, they soon discover they've both been set up by the CIA and opt to work together to find the truth and recover the stolen money. Helming the picture was the Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur, who had previously worked with Wahlberg on the January 2012 picture, Contraband. The movie shot in New Orleans and Mexico, keeping things fairly low key until the release of the first extended trailer - revealing it to be an action comedy thriller, the likes of which Tony Scott would have directed in the 90s. Even approaching its release date, Universal kept the promotion at a minimum, only ramping things up in the last couple of weeks, with RIPD out of the way. Washington was coming of the back of hits Flight and Safe House ($93M and $126M domestically) while Wahlberg saw disappointment with Broken City, and to a lesser degree, Pain & Gain back in April.

Going into the weekend, it was expected that 2 Guns would take the top spot from the Smurfs sequel, given that that picture had opened on Wednesday and was up against Despicable Me 2 and Turbo. 2 Guns got off to a decent enough start on Friday, making $10M from 3,025 locations. That lands it in the middle ground of what Washington's movies tend to open with. Using the two examples above, it is more than Flight ($8.1) and less than Safe House ($15M). It's also a stronger start than Contraband ($8.1M). It set 2 Guns up for a weekend win, and by the end of play on Sunday the action thriller was sitting on a $27.3M three day total. A decent enough figure, though north of $30M would have sounded much better to Universal, one assumes. With a Cinemascore rating of B+, word of mouth should help it push on toward recouping its $61M production budget, providing it isn't kneecapped by the glut of releases in the next five days (Elysium in particular will cut into 2 Guns box office share). Next up for Wahlberg is the military drama, Lone Survivor, while Washington is set to appear in the long-gestating Equalizer movie.

The Wolverine opened to the lowest figures of any of the X-Men films last weekend, but given its slightly reduced budget of $120M and a great start overseas, few were overly concerned. The Hugh Jackman picture performed well enough on weekdays, finishing up on Thursday night with a $73M seven day total. Like the rest of the series, The Wolverine suffered a big Friday to Friday dip, dropping 69%. In comparison, Origins: Wolverine fell 75% while X3 tumbled 77%. The picture did at least manage to stay ahead of The Smurfs 2, and wound up with a second frame tally of $21.7M (down 59% overall). $100M should come before Wednesday, and it will cover its production budget on only its domestic haul. A finish of around $140M looks to be on the cards at this stage. Overseas things got off to a much stronger start and after ten days on release, The Wolverine has an international tally of $159M.

The Smurfs seemed an interesting choice for the big screen when it was announced as being in pre-production back in 2009. It had actually taken over ten years to make the project happen and more than a few wondered if the characters were still relevant (there hadn't been a Smurfs picture since 1983). However, this quickly became a moot point when the picture opened to $35M in July 2011, and quickly turned into a $142M smash hit. But it was overseas where The Smurfs really made an impact to the tune of $421M. A sequel was announced by the end of the film's second weekend, with a release date set for almost two years to the day. In terms of the live action cast, Neil Patrick Harris would return, along with Jayma Grace and Hank Azaria as the Smurf's arch-nemisis, Gargamel. Lending their voice talent once again would be Katy Perry as Smurfette, Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy Smurf. Newcomers to the series on both sides would include Brendan Gleeson, Christina Ricci and J.B Smoove. The plot this time around would see the gang attempting to rescue a kidnapped Smurfette and having to deal with the Naugties, a brand new creation of Gargamel's.

The Smurfs 2 opened on Wednesday, up against Turbo and the still strong Despicable Me 2. Things didn't get off to that great a start, with the picture making only $5.2M on its first day out on general release (in comparison, the aforementioned Turbo made $5.5M). A slight dip on Thursday put the sequel on $9.5M as 2 Guns prepared to enter the fray and The Wolverine stepped up again. It slipped down to third place, taking $5.5M on Friday, and added a further $12.7M over the remainder of the weekend. That gave the Sony release a three day total of $18.2M, and $27.7M since release on Wednesday. Given the original made $35M during its first three day, this has to rank as a somewhat disappointing performance. However, given the huge success of the original movie overseas, the studio may be happy with whatever they get domestically, knowing they could easily see another $400M elsewhere. The Smurfs 2 faces competition from Percy Jackson on Wednesday and Planes two days later. By that point we'll know for sure where things are heading for Smurfette and Co.

Avoiding a second frame collapse, the supernatural horror movie, The Conjuring made $22.2M last weekend. On its third Friday on general release it fell only 41% on the same day last week and made another $4.3M. By Saturday it had crossed the $100M barrier, making it the eighteenth movie of 2013 to achieve such a feat. All up, the The Conjuring made $13.6M this weekend, for an overall total of $108.5M. It has now made more money than any of the Paranormal Activity movies and may even trouble The Blair Witch Project's $140M total before the end of its run. Already an incredibly profitable film for WB, The Conjuring appears far from finished yet.

As we saw with the release of Turbo, Despicable Me 2 wasn't about to give up the fight just because fresh competition had entered the game. It made another $10.3M this weekend, to bring its North American total to an astounding $326M. At this point, only four other animated releases have made more money domestically. Chances are Gru and his minions still have another $20-25M to collect before heading to an equally strong showing on the home market. Internationally Despicable Me 2 is closing in on $400M.

Adam Sandler's first ever sequel, Grown Ups 2 made $8.1M this weekend, bringing its four weekend total to $116.4M. The gap between itself and where its predecessor was in the same point of its release is now $13M. It means GU2 likely won't replicate its $162M domestic finish, but should still make a solid $140M. Sandler re-teams with Drew Barrymore for his next release, the May 2014 movie The Familymoon.

With a lacklustre performance to date, Turbo wasn't helped much by the release of The Smurfs 2 this weekend. It made only $1.8M on Friday, on its way to a third weekend total of $6.4M. That gives the Dreamworks release a cumulative gross of $69.4M and will see it finish up as one of the weaker animated releases of 2013.

With 2 Guns taking over the action genre, Red 2 slipped down to eighth place, making $5.6M this weekend. The Bruce Willis sequel has now made $45.1M and will struggle to finish up with $65M. It should perform better overseas and cover its increased budget of $84M,  but this seems to be the case of a sequel that wasn't really required, released into a very busy market. Chances are the proposed third film won't be moving forward any time soon, if at all.

Sitting on the edging of $150M is The Heat. The Bullock/McCarthy action comedy opened six weeks ago and has yet to see a weekend to weekend drop above 44%. It made $4.7M over the last three days to brings its total to $149.5M.

While it'll fall just shy of $100M in the US come the end of its theatrical run, Pacific Rim is really stepping up overseas.  The Guillermo del Toro picture currently stand at an international box office tally of $200M (thanks in huge part to a very strong showing in China). Some are speculating it could soar as high as $350M, putting more credibility into its sequel chances.

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