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Weekend Box-Office Analysis (February 22-24, 2013)

Following the strong Presidents Day weekend frame, the box-office slowed down considerably over the Oscars-weekend as none of the two wide openers could impress, leading to Identity Thief reclaiming the top spot in its third weekend. The Top 12 amassed a total of $88.3 million, down 30% from last weekend and 22.8% from the same weekend last year when Act of Valor opened strongly on top. As the result of several rather unimpressive weekends in a row, 2013 has fallen 12% behind last year despite a fairly strong start. Expect this gap to widen further without a hit like The Hunger Games ($408 million) anywhere to be found in March.


Although it narrowly lost Friday and Sunday to Snitch, Identity Thief’s super-strong Saturday was enough to put it ahead for the entire weekend and edge out a close win with $14 million (down 40.8%) in its third weekend. Identity Thief has become the first movie since How to Train Your Dragon three years ago to return back to the top spot after losing it in its second weekend. That also means that out of the eight weekends this year so far, six have been won by an R-rated flick. In 17 days the R-rated comedy has accumulated a total of $93.6 million. With Identity Thief Seth Gordon has definitely confirmed himself to be one of the most profitable comedy directors in Hollywood. Following Four Christmases ($120.1 million) and Horrible Bosses ($117.5 million) Identity Thief might just be his biggest film yet. By the end of its third weekend, Identity Thief is tracking around $11 million ahead of Horrible Bosses at the same point of its run and comes off a bigger third weekend gross. This upcoming weekend it’ll face direct R-rated competition from 21 and Over, though that film is probably aiming more at college male audiences. It certainly looks like Identity Thief will stick around for a while and finish with $125-130 million in the bank. It’s a great hit for Melissa McCarthy’s first leading role and promises big things for her pair-up with Sandra Bullock in this summer’s The Heat.


The second spot of the box-office went to Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson’s Snitch which bowed to a respectable $13.2 million from 2,511 theaters for a solid per-theatre-average of $5,244. Snitch is Johnsons first non-family-movie starring role outside of Fast Five since Faster back in 2010, thus testing his starpower again after the success of Fast Five ($209.8 million). It looks like he fared just fine. Snitch’s opening is the 7th-biggest for Summit Entertainment outside of their Twilight franchise. With the production budget at around $22-25 million, Snitch should be their second hit this year after Warm Bodies. Snitch’s 35.1% increase on Saturday suggests that it is in no way frontloaded and its “B”-CinemaScore implies at least solid word-of-mouth for the action-thriller. Snitch was certainly helped a lot by his PG-13-rating and thus avoided to become another tough-guy-disappointment such as The Last Stand ($12 million), Broken City ($19.6 million), Parker ($17.4 million) or Bullet to the Head ($9.4 million). While it might not seem like a big success by itself, it certainly seems like one by comparison now. Surprisingly, only 53% of the film’s weekend audiences were male, though as expected the film skewed decidedly older (57% older than 30). While movies like Dead Man Down, Olympus Has Fallen and Phantom will target similar audiences over the next few weeks, all of them are rated R, thus presenting less of a direct competition to Snitch, which should wind up with a solid $35-40 million by the end of its run.


The Weinstein Company’s Escape from Planet Earth continued to hugely benefit from the utter lack of family-oriented fare in the marketplace and dipped just 32.8% coming off the already-inflated Presidents Day weekend. This way managed to climb one spot up to #3 and to deliver $10.7 million in its second weekend. In ten days the animated feature has accumulated a great total of $34.8 million. That’s a really good number for such a low-key animated flick coming from a studio whose previously biggest animated success was Hoodwinked with a $51.4 million domestic total. Under different circumstances this film probably would have struggled to even crack $40 million, but the Weinsteins cleverly scheduled it in a slot that made the entire family market available to it, with no competition in its first or second weekend. This upcoming weekend, it’ll face some competition from Jack the Giant Slayer, though that film’s PG-13-rating means that it is not a very direct competitor. On the other hand, Oz The Great and Powerful will certainly cut deeply into its audiences as it carries a PG-rating. At the end of March The Croods will finish it off, being the first big animated release of 2013. Still, it does have some time until then and should play nicely until it reaches a final gross around $50-55 million.


Safe Haven dropped an expected 51.1% in its sophomore weekend and brought in $10.5 million for a running total of $47.9 million after 11 days on release. Compared to other Nicholas Sparks-adaptation, Safe Haven has already topped the total gross figures of Nights in Rodanthe ($41.9 million) and A Walk to Remember ($41.3 million). On top of that, it is currently tracking around $8 million ahead of last year’s The Lucky One and 2010’s The Last Song. Both of those went on to finish with more than $60 million at the domestic box-office, which certainly spells a bright future for Safe Haven. Budgeted at a modest $28 million, the film is well on track to at least become Relativity’s 4th-biggest film, replacing Mirror Mirror. The lack of any romantic fare until The Host on the final weekend of March should help to stabilize the film’s legs. With a “B+”-CinemaScore to boot, it should enjoy solid WoM too and go on to finish in the $65-75 million range. While not quite the breakout it could have been given the empty marketplace for this kind of film, it is still a solid success that will ensure countless Sparks-adaptations over the next years.


Dropping an alarming 59.1% to $10.2 million, Fox’ A Good Day to Die Hard slid four spots from #1 down all the way to #5. The action-sequel starring Bruce Willis has brought in a total of $52 million in its first 11 days in theatres. What would be considered a decent number for most R-rated actioners, is undeniably a major letdown for the fifth entry in the Die Hard-franchise. Not only will the film fail to recoup its $92 million production costs in North America, it will also end up well below all other Die Hard-movies and that even unadjusted for inflation. It is currently tracking $27 million behind Live Free or Die Hard, which is widening the gap between the two each day. Live Free or Die Hard enjoyed great summer weekdays, but most of all, formidable WoM that led it to become the franchise’s highest-grossing entry with $134.5 million. A Good Day to Die Hard currently looks likely to finish with around half of that, despite having six years of inflation on its predecessor. The film’s biggest problem over the upcoming weeks will be that it will shed screens and theatres like crazy, facing new competition. At latest in four weeks, Olympus Has Fallen will hit it hard as it will be aiming at identical audiences. However, by then I expect it to be gone from the vast majority of theatres anyway. A Good Day to Die Hard should also end up somewhere around $65-70 million and might very well finish below Safe Haven in what can be considered one of the biggest upsets this year so far.


Dark Skies opened at #6 with little noise, making $8.2 million from 2,313 locations from a PTA of $3,540. While it seems like a very so-so opening, one must keep the measly $3.5 million budget in mind. The film is an assured hit for the studio, even when marketing efforts are taken into accounts. The PG-13 rating certainly helped it a lot, but it will also put it into very direct competition with The Last Exorcism Part II next weekend. That, the usual frontloadness of horror flicks and mediocre WoM as indicated by the “C+”-CinemaScore will ensure a short life in theatres. Dark Skies will top out at $17-19 million.


Silver Linings Playbook took full advantage of the Oscars weekend (being the Best Picture nominee that was still playing widest) and dropped a miniscule 7.9%, rising one spot to #7. After $5.8 million over the weekend, it reached a total of $107.2 million after 15 weeks. Silver Linings Playbook has become the 4th The Weinstein Company release to reach $100 million at the domestic box-office. The other three – Django Unchained, The King’s Speech and Inglourious Basterds – have also all been Best Picture nominees. Now that Silver Linings Playbook has won only one Oscar (Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress), it won’t get much of a push. Nevertheless, the film is still enjoying terrific WoM and certainly won’t just disappear anytime soon. At this point a $120+ million total is absolutely guaranteed and it is likely that it will go above $125 million as well. With an Oscar, The Hunger Games franchise, the X-Men flicks and the success of Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence might very well be the biggest female star in Hollywood right now. I expect Silver Linings Playbook to leave the theatres with $127 million in the bank.


The zombie romance Warm Bodies dropped three slots to #8 as it decreased 45.6% to $4.8 million in its fourth weekend. So far the movie has accumulated a total of $58.2 million, showing itself to be a very solid hit on its $35 million budget. It should soon leave the theatres with a $67 million total, which is certainly very respectable for a film like this.


Last weekend’s failed attempt to launch a new young adult movie franchise, Beautiful Creatures, dipped 52.4% in its second weekend and dropped to #9. It added $3.6 million to its running cume, bringing it to $16.6 million after 11 days (on a $60 million budget, no less!). The number is certainly nothing to write home about. It will lose most of its theatres within the next two weeks and will wrap up its run quickly with $20 million.


Side Effects rounded off the Top 10 with a decent 46.5% drop to $3.4 million. After 17 days, Stephen Soderbergh’s (supposedly) ultimate film stands at $25.1 million. While its WoM is certainly not as bad some some have initially expected, its legs will be hindered by new releases that will steal its screens. I expect Side Effects to end up with around $30 million.


Zero Dark Thirty left the Top 10 last weekend, but thanks to the remaining Oscar buzz it also managed a good 25.6% drop to $2.2 million, bringing Sony’s film’s running total to $91.5 million. With only one insignificant Oscar win to boot, the film will soon disappear from most screens. Even though it appears to be so close to $100 million, it almost certainly won’t end up passing the mark. I see it leaving the theatres with $96 million in its pockets, unless it gets a re-expansion and a push from Sony to hit $100 million. Right now, I don’t see that happening.


At last, Warner Bros.’ Best Picture-winning Argo, held on to the 12th spot of the charts in its 20th (!!) weekend. It dropped just 16.3% to $1.8 million and upped its total gross to $129.7 million. The movie currently boasts an incredible opening-to-total multiplier of higher than 6.6. What is particularly impressive, is that the movie is out on DVD/VOD already (though it won’t come to Netflix for another month). The Best Picture win should ensure another re-expansion this weekend. I definitely see it hitting a multiplier of 7. It should go on to finish with a terrific $139 million, making it one of last year’s most interesting box-office success stories.


As for other Best Picture nominees: Life of Pi actually managed to increase by 2.2% last weekend, despite losing 75 theatres. A $1.6 million weekend brought the film’s total to $113.5 million. With a Best Director Academy Award to boot as well as being the film to win the most Oscars on Oscar night, it should definitely see a small boost next weekend. It will most definitely pass $120 million by the end of its run and settle with something around $123-125 million. Lincoln also held expectedly well, decreasing 9.4% to $1.5 million and bringing its total to $178.6 million. That film’s legs have been nothing short of astonishing. Daniel Day-Lewis’ win still won’t matter much for its success anymore, though. I see it finishing its run with $183 million. Django Unchained grossed another $1 million last weekend, bringing its cume to $158.8 million. The two important Oscar wins it achieves Sunday night should at least somewhat help its legs. I see it finding its way to $163 million. Michael Haneke’s Amour passed $5 million this weekend, bringing its current total to $5.2 million. Not bad for a depressing foreign-language flick! With a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar under its belt, it should see at least another expansion and finish with $8 million. At last, Les Misérables made $0.6 million over the weekend. Its total stands at $146.7 million. It doesn’t have enough gas in its tank to bring its gross to $150 million. Around $149 million will have to suffice.

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