Saturday, 3 August 2013

Friday Box Office: '2 Guns' Tops While 'The Smurfs 2' Struggles [ Bus1nessN3wz ]

2 Guns debuted on Friday with a rock-solid $10 million.  That's pretty much right in the upper-level wheelhouse for the previous action debuts for Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Sample previous opening days for Washington include $7.9m for Unstoppable, $8.1m for Flight, $7.3 million for Man On Fire as well as upper-level openers like $13 million for Safe House, $15m for American Gangster, and $11.6m for The Book of Eli. Wahlberg's action and/or crime pic openings include $7.4m for Pain & Gain, $2.9m for Broken City, $8.6m for Contraband, $7m for Max Payne, and $4.7m for Shooter.

One could argue that the $61 million-budgeted (after rebates) action comedy might have opened higher due to the team-up factor, but I would presume that much of Washington and Wahlberg's respective audience intertwines when it comes to their pulpy genre fare.  Either way,  Washington and Wahlberg's respective vehicles tend to do higher multipliers due to the fact that their films play to general film fans, especially older ones who don't need to rush out on opening night to see their newest caper.  As such, expect a 2.7x-3x multiplier for a debut weekend between $27 million and $30 million.

The Smurfs 2 opened on Wednesday, and it's earned $15 million since then, including $5.5 million from yesterday. The $105 million sequel should earn over/under the $25 million during its Wed-Sun debut, compared to the $35 million that The Smurfs earned on its normal Fri-Sun opening back in August 2011. It's not a disaster, as A) no one was really asking for a Smurfs sequel, B) the sequel had no new "hook" to entice audiences back into the fray, and C) the first film made 75% of its eye-popping $563 million worldwide haul. So even if it dips a bit in America and overseas, it's doubtful that Sony will care too much.  The Smurfs 3 is already slated for July 24, 2015 (because summer 2015 isn't already crowded enough).

In holdover news, the jaw-dropper is once again The Conjuring, which dropped just 41% from last Friday for a $4.3 million gross.  That gives the $20 million horror film (which I'm finally seeing tonight) a cume of $99 million, meaning it should cross $100 million by the time you read this.  I'll go into more superlatives tomorrow, but this kind of leggy run is almost unheard of for a horror film. Pacific Rim dropped 42% on its fourth Friday, which isn't too bad when you consider it also lost 799 screens.  But $1.2 million isn't anything to write home about a month out, although the film should cross $90 million today with a (very) outside shot at $100 million domestic.  We'll discuss those China numbers tomorrow.

Also refusing to die is Despicable Me 2, which earned another $3.1 million on its fifth Friday.  The $75 million-budgeted Universal toon is now at $319 million domestic, ensuring it will surpass the initial theatrical gross of Finding Nemo ($339 million), although its new 3D-reissue-infused total of $380 million is probably out of reach. The Way, Way Back earned another $800,000 for an $11.62 million cume. Fruitvale Station earned another $753,000 last night, bringing its cume to a rather splendid $9 million.  It may not quite get to $20 million during its initial theatrical run (especially with the Weinsteins putting their marketing muscle into Lee Daniels's The Butler in two weeks), but we could easily see a successful re-release come awards season.  This one's story is far from over.

Holding up less well, as somewhat expected, is The Wolverine, which dropped 69% from Fri-to-Fri for a $6.4 million gross and a $79.7 million cume. Comparatively speaking, X-Men Origins: Wolverine dropped 75% on its second Friday, X-Men: First Class dropped 64%, and X-Men: The Last Stand dropped 77% from its first Friday to its second.  As I said last week, X-Men pictures have terrible legs, and this one is no exception. That's it for now, so check back tomorrow for the full weekend numbers and related analysis.