Sunday, 15 September 2013

U.S Box Office Report - 13th - 15th September 2013

1. Insidious Chapter 2 - $41M - $41M
2. The Family - $14.5M - $14.5M
3. Riddick - $7M -$31.3M
4. The Butler - $5.5M -$100M
5. We're The Millers - $5.4M - $131.6M
6. Instructions Not Included- $4.2M - $20.3M
7. Planes - $3M - $82.9M
8. One Direction: This Is Us: Extended Fan Cut - $2.4M - $26.8M
9. Elysium - $2M - $88.3M
10. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters- $1.8M - $62M

Two new movies saw release this weekend, both hoping to shake up a somewhat stagnating box office. The supernatural themed Insidious Chapter 2 took on Robert De Niro & Co. in The Family. Last weekend's winner, Riddick, was hoping for a decent second frame after its $19M start. Holdovers continued to play well thanks to a lack of new blood and with only a few films due for release in the coming weeks, they may be around a while longer yet.

The first Insidious movie was released in April 2011, and while it didn't set the box office alight with its $13M opening, thanks to an ultra low budget of $1.5M, it became one of the most profitable movies of the year. Directed by James Wan and starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, the supernatural drama ended up making $54M in North America, with a further $43M overseas. A sequel was quickly greenlit, but a script would take almost a year to come together - partly due to the producer's insistence on working with both James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell once again (the duo had first worked together on the original Saw movie). In the interim, Wan directed The Conjuring, which would become a sleeper smash in the summer of 2013. With work on that film completed, he got stuck into pre-production on what was now known as Insidious Chapter Two. All the principle cast would return, including Wilson, Byrne, Lin Shaye and Barbra Hershey, with shooting set to commence in January 2013. While it received a budgetary increase, Insidious Chapter 2 was still a very cheap movie to produce with costs clocking in at around $5M. The plot this time around would see the Lambert family hoping to discover an old secret that has some how brought them perilously close to the spirit world. In an interesting marketing manoeuvre, the trailer was debuted to a live audience at the Linda Vista Community Hospital, where much of the film was shot. With little in the way of competition, the picture was expected to take the spot with ease - though memories of The Conjuring (and to a lesser degree, You're Next) were still very fresh in the memory of cinema-goers. Reviews weren't as strong either - the original scored 66% approval from critics but the sequel saw little more than half that figure. All that aside, with a $5M budget attached, Chapter 2 would need just one solid weekend to break even and be well on its way to recouping its advertising and print costs too.

And it got it, in spades. A blistering $20M start on Friday instantly set aside any worries that recent horror fare may have caused. In a single day, Insidious Chapter 2 made more money than its predecessor earnt in its first eight days on release. It's also more than Wan's earlier summer hit, The Conjuring, made on its first day as well ($16.9M). Film District could have closed the film on Saturday morning and still be rolling in profit. Obviously there was the front loading factor to consider, and that left some wondering if the film had the legs to take the September record from Hotel Transylvania, which opened to $42.5M back in 2012. A $13.5M Saturday haul pushed Chapter 2's box office to $33.5M, and by Sunday night it had scored another $7.3M, giving it an astonishing $41M weekend total. That figure is almost three quarters of what the original picture made during its entire theatrical run. While it didn't take the September record, as we saw with the aforementioned Conjuring, the sky is now the limit, and if word of mouth sustains the movie in the coming days and weeks, we could be looking at a $75-100M earner. Insidious Chapter 2 is our number one film this weekend.

The only other major release this weekend is Luc Besson's The Family, which stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. The film follows the Blake family as they relocate (yet again) as part of the witness protection programme. Ex-Mafia boss Fred Blake (De Niro) is a marked man thanks to snitching on kingpin Don Luchese a number of years earlier. However, he and (by extension) his family can't seem to leave the 'old days' behind them and have blown their witness protection cover on a number of occasions. Relocating them to Normandy, their FBI minder Tom Quintiliani (Jones) hopes things will be different this time around....Working from a script by Tonino Benacquista (who wrote the book on which the screenplay was based), pre-production got underway in the first half of 2012 on what was at that time titled Malavita (translated as Badfellas). Both Besson and Benacquista had the idea of De Niro and Pfeiffer for the leads, and described their eventual casting as being "like a dream". Glee star Dianna Agron took on the role of daughter Belle while John D'Leo was cast as Warren, Frank and Maggie's son. Filming took place primarily in France, with the picture being amongst the first to shoot at Besson's Cité du Cinéma studio complex. Given the talent involved, hype was kept was kept fairly low key, with two trailers being issued domestically (standard and red band). Reviews weren't great, with only 32% of critics finding something they liked about the picture. Furthermore, even though it was entering its sixth weekend, We're The Millers was still a fairly dangerous proposition in the comedy stakes. In The Family's favour was a relatively modest budget of $30M, meaning that only a complete disaster would stop it recouping its production costs in the long term.

While the Insidious sequel managed to hoover up most of the box office business this weekend, The Family still did ok. It opened to $5.4M on Friday, slotting into second place. Things kept steady over Saturday and into Sunday, and it wound up with a $14.5M total for  the weekend. That's a much stronger start than De Niro's last high profile release, The Big Wedding, which opened to $7M back in April, and made only $21M throughout its entire theatrical run. With only Prisoners receiving a wide release next weekend, if The Family can avoid a large drop, it should be within throwing distance of that $30M cost. It could also play well overseas, especially in Besson's native France.

Despite taking the top spot last weekend, Riddick's $19M was seen as a little underwhelming - even though the series has never been a major earner. By Thursday, on the eve of its second frame, it managed just $1M, bringing its overall total to $24.2M. A Friday take of $2.2M saw the sequel plunge 70% on the same day last weekend and give up the top spot to Insidious 2. Over Saturday and into Sunday it would take $4.8M more, to bring its second weekend total to $7M (an overall fall of 63%). All up, that means Riddick has made $31.2M after ten days on release and looks likely to recoup its $38M costs but make little more. Diesel's renewed appeal overseas thanks to the Fast & Furious franchise should help things out to a degree, but like Kick Ass 2 a few weeks ago, this is a sequel for the fan base, and few outside of that appear to have shown up.

Lee Daniels' epic, The Butler, based loosely on the life of White House butler Eugene Allen, earned another $5.5M this weekend, allowing it to cross the $100M mark in the process. Thanks to its relatively low production budget of $25-30M, The Butler will turn a good profit for The Weinstein Company, and could yet add a few more awards to their cabinet. A domestic finish of around $120M looks to be on the cards, though how it'll play overseas is yet to be seen.

Even with fresh R-rated comedy competition from The Family, We're The Millers was still able to make $5.4M, in this, its sixth frame on general release. That brings its cumulative gross to $131.6M. Like The Butler, this has been a solid domestic hit for studio Warner Bros. and is stepping up abroad too, where it has so far earnt $55M.

Surprise hit Instructions Not Included expanded again this weekend, into 933 theatres, and earnt another $4.2M. That's a fall of 48% on what it made last frame and brings its total to $26.5M. Whether it'll receive much more expansion remains to be seen, but there's no denying this was a film that caught many off guard. Curiously, even though it has only been in theatres since the 30th of August, it is already the sixth most successful foreign language film in North America - and looks set to surpass the $33M made by Amelie within in the next couple of weeks.

Planes' $3M take this weekend brings its overall total $82.9M. Internationally it has made $45M and with merchandising (and a sequel next year) factored in, should turn out to be a nice little spin off for Disney. It should see one more frame in the top ten, just in time for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 to take up the family film baton.

Thanks to Sony releasing an 'Extended Fan Cut', the One Direction movie managed to hang on to a top ten place this weekend, making $2.4M. The concert movie, following the day to day routine of the band, along with footage from one of their O2 arena gigs, has now made $26M in North America, with a further $31M overseas.

Matt Damon starrer Elysium won't hit $100M domestically, falling some way short of its $115M costs. Had Sony and director Neill Blomkamp managed to produce the film for around $60M, its $88.3M North American total would be deemed a victory of sorts. As it happens, it looks like being a minor failure, though all concerned will be buoyed by its $144M+ haul from overseas.

Rounding us out is Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Made for $90M, the fantasy adaptation now has a global total of $164M. However, it seems unlikely that we'll see any further chapters in the series, unless they can be produced much more cheaply.

No comments: