The downward trend at the North American box-office continued as the Top 12 dived 7.8% from last weekend, barely staying above the $100 million mark at $100.3 million. It also meant a harsh decline of 20.4% from the same weekend last year, when Think Like a Man opened on top. Even though Think Like a Man pulled smaller numbers than this weekend’s number 1 film, Oblivion, it was helped by two more wide releases, which both broke $10 million opening weekend. The fact that we’re down from last year despite a strong #1 film can be attributed to terrible scheduling by the studios, which decided that seven wide releases would be just enough for April and instead let the summer months remain very crowded. Though the holdovers could benefit from this situation, the overall box-office suffered. We are still 11.3% down from last year as far as yearly box-office to date is concerned and there is no major improvement on the horizon. Even if Iron Man 3 hits it big, it will in no way match last year’s opener of the summer box-office season, The Avengers, which made more than $200 million opening weekend.
Bowing stateside one week later than in the majority of the world, Oblivion has shown that Tom Cruise still possesses undeniable box-office draw, something many have tried to deny over the recent years. It is apparent that Cruise just needs the right vehicle for his draw to show (Rock of Ages wasn’t one). Oblivion bowed to $37.1 million from 3,783 locations (Universal’s 2nd-widest release ever, behind Fast Five), averaging $9,795 per theatre. This is Cruise’s biggest three-day opening since Mission: Impossible III ($47.7 million) seven years ago and also this year’s 4th-biggest opening weekend, right behind G.I. Joe: Retaliation. While the dazzling visuals and the promise of a great IMAX experience certainly contributed to the film’s success, Tom Cruise (as usual) has been front and center of the marketing and it paid off.
However, at the same time, this opening shows that some of Cruise’s starpower has undeniably faded over the years. Of course, compared to the majority of his recent output (Rock of Ages, Jack Reacher), Oblivion looks like a real winner. But, as mentioned above, it also goes on to show that Cruise’s drawing power only works in combination with specific projects now. He is no longer the actor who could push a film like Vanilla Sky (despite terrible word-of-mouth) above $100 million and who carried Eyes Wide Shut to a $20+ million opening. A fitting comparison to Oblivion would be Minority Report, which opened to $35.7 million back in 2002 and went on to gross $132.1 million. While Oblivion did more in its opening, it certainly won’t get to Minority Report’s total figure. However, Minority Report’s opening adjusts to almost $49 million if inflation is taken into account – and that’s with leaving Oblivion’s 15% IMAX-share out of the equation. And consider this: Minority Report was considered a slight disappointment 11 years ago, whereas many are now hailing Oblivion as a major success for Cruise. Don’t get me wrong, it is a respectable number and a proof of Cruise’s remaining draw, but it also goes on to show, that this is still far behind what he used to do for his movies’ box-office. Future prospects aren’t looking too bright either. The movie’s primarily older male demographics (57% male, 74% 25 or older) will be heavily targeted by Iron Man 3 in two weeks. On top of that, Iron Man 3 will cost Oblivion the vast majority of its IMAX screens. The opening weekend audiences didn’t respond too kindly to Oblivion, with the film scoring a less-than-encouraging “B-“-CinemaScore. This does not promise longevity. However, it might get a reprieve next weekend, as it will be going up against two R-rated flicks, which present no direct competition at all. Iron Man 3 and, later, Star Trek into Darkness will finish it off quickly, though. Even $100 million, though likely at this point, is not guaranteed. It will wind up somewhere in the $95-110 million range.
While 42 didn’t hold as well in its second round as some other movies that earned an “A+”-CinemaScore, its 35.5% dip was still the second-best among non-expanding holdovers in the Top 12. For comparison, Argo dropped 15.5%, The Help eased 23.1% and Dolphin Tale went down 27.4% - all “A+”-movies as well. At #1, 42 earned $17.7 million this weekend and brought its total to a commendable $53.8 million after just ten days in theatres, already exceeding its $40 million production budget. A very bright future lies ahead of the baseball-drama now. It is already the 6th-most successful baseball-themed movie ever, tracking almost $16 million ahead of Moneyball, while coming off a much larger second weekend and a better hold. Two R-rated releases can only help the PG-13-biopic-drama next weekend and I expect it to be among the films least hit by the arrival of Iron Man 3, mainly because of its older-skewing target audiences. It will also remain the only movie aimed at urban audiences in the marketplace until Tyler Perry Presents Peeples in three weeks, which should help too. In fact, right now it looks like 42 has a great shot at ending up as this April’s highest-grossing domestic release, beating the favorite Oblivion. Of all films currently in release, the Jackie-Robinson-film is the most likely one to be still going strong by Memorial Day. Passing the $100 million-barrier looks like a done deal as well. The only question remains is by how much. Right now, I’d say it’s looking at a $105-115 million total, though higher numbers wouldn’t shock me.
Remaining at #3 for the third week in a row, The Croods held better than any other Top 12 flick and lost mere 29.6%. Adding further $9.2 million to its running total, the animated hit brought its cume to $154.6 million after five weeks. Even with its big $135 million budget, it is a certified hit. While How to Train Your Dragon keeps widening the gap between the two (up to $24 million now), The Croods is now closing the gap on another DreamWorks spring release, Monsters vs. Aliens. That film is currently tracking around $20 million ahead of The Croods, but has thus far suffered far worse holds on average. The Croods has another great weekend ahead, with Pain & Gain and The Big Wedding rated R and thus providing no competition whatsoever. It is likely to drop less than 30% once again. The weekend after, however, will be ruled by Iron Man 3, which, among others, will also target family audiences as Marvel flicks usually do. That will mean a harsh dip for The Croods. It will recover until Epic will deal it a final blow on May 24th. The Croods has been greatly help by the astounding lack of competition for family audiences all throughout April and I would go as far as saying that it is mostly thanks to these circumstances that The Croods will end up well above $170 million by the end of its run. The movie is still on course towards a $175-180 million finish.
Scary Movie 5 fell two spots to #4 and unsurprisingly dropped 56.6% to $6.2 million, bringing its cume to $22.8 million after ten days. The drop was actually slightly better than the holds for Scary Movie 4 (-58.2%) and Scary Movie 3 (-58.4%). The lack of major competition helped, but also the fact that when you open this low, there isn’t much room left to fall. With a $20 million budget to boot, Scary Movie 5 won’t be another Scream 4 for The Weinstein Company and is well on its way to become a financial success for them. However, don’t expect another installment anytime soon. While the film will make profit, it probably won’t be that much and the sharp decline (the film is tracking almost $45 million behind Scary Movie 4 after ten days!) indicates that the franchise is more or less done. Given the questionable WoM of the fifth film (“C-“-CinemaScore), another sequel would probably perform even worse. Scary Movie 5 might have a decent hold next weekend, but given its mediocre per-theatre-average, it should very soon start losing its theatres and screens in masses and will barely pass the $30 million mark, before settling for $31 million.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation dropped one slot down to #5, decreasing 47.1% in its fourth outing. It is interesting to note, that so far, Retaliation has always decreased by 47-49% each weekend. At least it is showing some consistency and the drops really could have been worse for a blockbuster sequel like this. I suppose the “A-“-CinemaScore is showing. This weekend, G.I. Joe 2 took in $5.8 million, pushing its total to $111.2 million. It is still trailing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra by $21.5 million, mainly due to the lack of strong summer weekdays. Oblivion hurt it this weekend by taking away many of its IMAX-showings, so that its hold is not that bad afterall. Like all other PG- or PG-13-rated films in theatres, it will benefit from the release of two R-rated movies next weekend. However; Iron Man 3 will severely hurt it by targeting its audiences directly and getting all of its remaining IMAX screens. Once May hits, I expect G.I. Joe: Retaliation to vanish quickly and silently. It will wind up with a decent $122 million by the end of its unremarkable run.
After a very strong performance in 514 theatres last weekend, The Place Beyond the Pines’ theatre count tripled to 1,542 venues. Unfortunately its PTA went down almost 58% from last weekend so that overall, the film increased “only” 27.2% to $4.9 million. One could have expected better, given its terrific performance in recent weeks. It looks like The Place Beyond the Pines is the kind of a film that plays better in a smaller number of theatres as it still cannot attract many mainstream audiences. On the other hand, its weekend gross allowed it to rise from #10 al the way up to #6 on the chart. So far the Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling-starring ambitious drama has collected $11.6 million, passing director Derek Cianfrance’s previous effort Blue Valentine ($9.7 million). The expansion indicates that the film won’t show much longevity when playing wide, but $20 million looks like a sure thing at this point and will allow Pines to enter Focus Features’ all-time Top 20 list. It looks likely to end up with $20-25 million in the bank.
Olympus Has Fallen improved its chances at $100 million this weekend, dropping just 38.3% to $4.5 million and bringing its cume to $88.8 million. It held on to #7 at the box-office and is now less than $0.2 million away from becoming Gerard Butler’s second-biggest live-action hit behind 300. It is obvious that audiences want to see Butler in action-heavy roles as opposed to romance (see Playing for Keeps). Given the film’s R-rating and the fact that almost all R-rated action films underperformed at the box-office this year, Olympus’ performance is nothing short of great. It will face tough competition from Pain & Gain next weekend, but WoM will probably still carry it all the way to $100 million, making it the second R-rated film to hit the mark this year. Though the mark isn’t a sure thing yet, I believe that if it gets within around $2 million, FilmDistrict will do anything in its power to ensure that it gets to $100 million.
Expectedly, the Evil Dead remake suffered another harsh drop, dipping 56.7% to $4.1 million and #8 at the box-office. That’s a worse hold than comparables remakes such as Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween had. Its current total stands at $48.5 million, enough to call this $17 million film a bona fide hit. It will very quickly lose its screens and theatres, but I believe it has enough gas left in the tank to get to $55 million.
Jurassic Park 3D was hurt by the release of Oblivion, which took away its IMAX screens and thus the main source of its success. In light of that, the re-release’s 54.2% drop to $4.1 million can almost be considered “decent”. So far it has accumulated $38.5 million for a lifetime total of $395.6 million. Iron Man 3 will finish it off, but it is now close enough to pass $400 million afterall. The re-release itself will leave the theatres with $45 million in its pockets, which is at least above Finding Nemo 3D and The Phantom Menace 3D.
Dropping two slots to #10, Oz The Great and Powerful spent its 7th and possibly last weekend in the Top 10. Down 38.2% it made $3 million from Friday to Sunday and pushed its running cume to an amazing $223.7 million. While the film’s overseas performance turned out to be not particularly remarkable or outstanding, its domestic box-office run is terrific. Oz will pass $230 million by the end of its run.
Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor dropped out of the Top 10 in its fourth weekend, settling for #11 with $2.2 million (down 50.7%). Its total gross stands at $48.9 million after 24 days. Temptation has displayed unusually good legs for a Tyler Perry-flick. Looking at $52 million, it will end up with some of the best legs a Tyler Perry-related film has ever achieved.
Three new movies hit the theatres in moderate release this weekend. The Christian baseball-drama Home Run provided some counter for the weekend’s #2 film 42 and was the widest of the three moderate releases. From 381 venues it has collected $1.6 million for an average of $4,153 per theatres and placed 12th over the three-day period. This is a good start and reminiscent of another Christian sports drama, Facing the Giants. That bowed to $1.3 million from 441 theatres back in 2006 on its way to $10.2 million, displaying terrific legs. While Home Run might not get similar legs, it is still looking good for a $6-7 million total. An even bigger winner was, however, Lionsgate’s Filly Brown. The urban hip-hop drama about an aspiring artist took the #13 spot at the box-office with $1.5 million from just 188 theatres. It achieved a PTA of $7,863 which, at first, looks promising. However, the film dipped a horrible 40% from Friday to Saturday, meaning that it is immensely frontloaded. It might add some theatres next weekend, softening the otherwise harsh drop, but even then it is not likely to make more than $4 million. At last, Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem severely disappointed at #16 with just $642,000 from 354 theatres (PTA of $1,814)