Box Office Recap: ‘Snow White’ Crowned Queen of the Box Office

Universal Pictures has needed a win for a while now. Following the disappointing flops of “Battleship” and “The Five-Year Engagement,” the studio had a lot riding on its newest release, “Snow White and the Huntsman,” especially considering the film’s $170 million production costs.

Luckily for Universal, “Snow White” grabbed a better-than-expected $56 million in its first weekend, placing it on top of the domestic box office charts. The film’s success was a great surprise given the multitude of concerns surrounding it. Many worried it would only pique the interest of young females, but with such a high budget the film could hardly afford to attract such skewed demographics.

In the end, such concerns seem unfounded as 52 percent of the audience was over 30 and a relatively low 53 percent was female. Similar fears about the film’s ability to compete with well-established franchises were likewise assuaged. Despite being director Rupert Sanders’ first feature film and its non-sequel status, “Snow White” made more than “Men in Black 3” did in its first week. But every time you get to thinking Hollywood’s fascination with the idea that sequels are sure bets might be over you read information like this: a sequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman” is alreadyin active development.

The domestic box office remained largely static behind the number one spot as “Men in Black 3,” “The Avengers,” “Battleship,” and “The Dictator” each took a step back but remained in the same order. The $29.3 million made by “Men in Black 3” this weekend seems particularly strong when it’s considered that its 10-day total of $112.3 million is only slightly behind the $115.6 million “Men in Black 2” made over the same period.

Meanwhile, there was some shuffling around behind the top five, as “Chernobyl Diaries” fell to the ninth spot while “Dark Shadows” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” which were in sixth and eighth place last weekend, respectively, switched positions. The feel-good “Hotel” has risen every week as it appears in more and more theaters.

At the specialty box office, Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” had continued success in it second week. The film grossed $848,681 despite being shown in just 16 theaters, giving it an impressive per-location average of $53,043 and raising its cumulative domestic gross to $1.7 million.

Lastly, “The Hunger Games” finally slipped out of the top 10 in its eleventh week. The film took in $1.5 million, placing it just behind the $1.8 million made by “For Greater Glory” in its first week.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume
1. Snow White and the Huntsman, 1/3,773, Universal, $56.255 million.
2. Men in Black 3, 2/4,248, Sony, $29,3 million, $112.3 million.
3. The Avengers, 5/3,670, Disney/Marvel Studios, $20.273 million, $552.737 million.
4. Battleship, 3/3,144, Universal/Hasbro, $4.81 million, $55.123 million.
5. The Dictator, 3/2,649, Paramount, $4.725 million, $50.835 million.
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 5/1,294, Fox Searchlight, $4.6 million, $25.497 million.
7.What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 3/2,907, $4.43 million, $30.723 million
8. Dark Shadows, 4/3,002, Warner Bros., $3.86 million, $70.834 million.
9. Chernobyl Diaries, 2/2,433, Warner Bros., $3.045 million, 14.416.
10. For Greater Glory, 1/757, Arc Entertainment, $1.8 million.

  

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Box Office Recap: ‘Men in Black’ Takes the Top Spot


Men in Black 3” raked in $55 million this weekend, which was enough to finally knock that other movie out of the top spot. What was it called? I think it had superheroes. Wait a minute. I think I’ve been neuralyzed!

Members of the staff who avoided having their memories wiped are informing me that the superhero movie I was referring to is called “The Avengers.” Apparently it broke a whole bunch of records, which I have no memory of, but the domestic box office now has a new reigning champ.

In spite of its victory this weekend, “Men in Black” has a long row to hoe if it expects to make a profit. Fifty-five million might have been enough to knock off “The Avengers,” but Sony Pictures was no doubt hoping for a better showing given the film’s $230 million budget.

Battleship” and “Dark Shadows,” which came in third and sixth place, respectively, face similar problems. The based-on-a-board-game “Battleship” (yes, you read that correctly) took in just $10.8 million in it second week. That brings its cumulative gross to $44.3 million, a paltry sum compared to its $209 million budget. Likewise, “Dark Shadows” made just $7.5 million it its third week, bringing its cumulative total to nearly $63 million, which isn’t much when juxtaposed with its $150 million budget.

Fourth and seventh place finishers “The Dictator” and “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” continued to disappoint, making $9.6 and $7.1 million, respectively. “Chernobyl Diaries,” on the other hand, got to disappoint for the very first time. The low-budget horror flick written by Oren Peli, who wrote and directed “Paranormal Activity” brought in $8 million. That’s only slightly below the $9.4 million projected by the studio. But more importantly the film disappointed because of its abysmal D+ CinemaScore.

Perhaps to counteract all these big-budget flops, a couple of films with lower budgets and more limited releases offered a few feel good stories this weekend. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is being played in more and more theaters every week, increasing its count by 879 to 1,233 theaters and making $6.3 million in the process.

Meanwhile, Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is making waves at the specialty box office after opening the Cannes Film Festival earlier in the month. Despite being shown at just four theaters nationwide, the film made over half a million dollars, giving it a record-breaking per-theater average of $127,250, which is both the highest in 2012 and the highest ever for a film released in four theaters.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume
1. Men in Black 3, 1/4,248, Sony, $55 million.
2. The Avengers, 4/3,918, Disney/Marvel Studios, $37 million, $513.7 million.
3. Battleship, 2/3,702, Universal/Hasbro, $10.8 million, $44.3 million.
4. The Dictator, 2/3,014, Paramount, $9.6 million, $41.4 million.
5. Chernobyl Diaries, 1/2,433, Warner Bros., $8 million.
6. Dark Shadows, 3/3,404, Warner Bros., $7.5 million, $63 million.
7.What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 2/3,021, $7.1 million, $22.2 million
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 4/1,233, Fox Searchlight, $6.3 million, $16.5 million.
9. The Hunger Games, 10/1,421, Lionsgate, $2.7 million, $395.2 million.
10. Think Like a Man, 6/786, Sony, $1.4 million, $88.3 million.

  

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Box Office Preview: Here come the ‘Men in Black,’ also ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and another crap Hollywood horror flick


Men in Black III

The Men in Black are back, with time travel! Let me start off by saying I fucking hate sequels. And threequels? Fuggedaboutit. Speed round: name ten threequels that didn’t suck, no cheating. I’ll try, there’s “Return of the Jedi, “The Return of the King,” “Toy Story 3,” uh, uh, Jackie Chan!

So what is “Men in Black III” about? Time travel, duh, I already told you that. But seriously, the beginning of the movie has Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones still running around doing their alien-fighting thing. But suddenly, history has been rewritten and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is somehow at the center of it, or at least that’s what the trailer told me. With K’s life and the fate of planet at stake, Agent J (Will Smith) “will have to travel back in time to put things right.” Along the way, he’ll discover “there are secrets to the universe that K never told him—secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.” Also, Andy Warhol is an Agent.

Could “Men in Black III” be the rare exception that makes the rule? Or will the filmmakers wish they could go back in time and put a fat red light on this thing? The film is at a 68 percent on the Tomatometer, but no consensus has been reached yet. So as with any series, if you’re a huge fan of the first two, sure, you’ll like it. For us average folks, meh, it’ll probably be alright. However, as A.O. Scott of The New York Times points out, people will have low expectations of the movie specifically because it’s a threequel. When the bar is low, it’s easy to jump over it.

Apart from the urgent necessity of reminding us that Will Smith is a movie star (and the usual need to wring a few more dollars out of a profitable franchise), “Men in Black 3” arrives in the multiplexes of the world with no particular agenda. Which may be part of the reason that it turns out to be so much fun. You don’t need to study up on the previous installments or master a body of bogus fanboy lore to enjoy this movie for the breezy pop throwaway it is. Your expectations may be pleasantly low, and you may therefore be pleasantly surprised when they are exceeded.


Moonrise Kingdom

Well, unfortunately for my sarcastic side (which is actually both of my sides), “Moonrise Kingdom” looks really good. It’s been certified fresh on the Tomatometer with a 98 percent rating. Also, Bill Murray is in it, nothing else need be said. Shit, Wes Anderson directed and Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis and Jason Schwartzman are in it too? I know, fuck me right?

So “Moonrise Kingdom” is the story of two twelve year-olds who fall in love and run away together on a New England island in 1965. Much to the dismay of the local police captain (Willis), and the boy’s scout troop leaders (Norton and Schwartzman), and only slightly to the dismay of the girl’s father (Murray).

Seriously, I’m not too good at this whole “wow this should be a really good movie” thing. Most of what Hollywood churns out is mindless trash. I hate it, but it makes my life easier. What else can I say? It’s a Wes Anderson film, perhaps his best one yet, and 47 of the 48 critics listed by Rotten Tomatoes loved it. See this movie.


Chernobyl Diaries

Speaking of mindless trash, “Chernobyl Diaries,” brought to you by Oren Peli, the director of “Paranormal Activity,” will also be released this week. I don’t really have much to say about it yet, Rotten Tomatoes hasn’t posted any reviews nor could I find one in any major publication. All I’ve got to work from is the trailer and the official synopsis, which states:

The film follows a group of six young vacationers who, looking to go off the beaten path, hire an “extreme” tour guide. Ignoring warnings, he takes them into the city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, but a deserted town since the disaster more than 25 years ago. After a brief exploration of the abandoned city, however, the group soon finds themselves stranded, only to discover that they are not alone…

“Extreme tourism,” ooooo… Scary… I’ll say what I do about most movies that look like crap, if you’re into the genre or the director’s earlier work, this film could be for you. Otherwise, stay away. When you’ve got “Men in Black III,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “The Avengers” (for all four of you who haven’t seen it yet), there’s little to no reason to see a movie like this.

  

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