Box Office Recap: Pixar ‘Braves’ its way to the top yet again

Nearly every review of Pixar’s “Brave” has been quick to point out that while the film is decent, it does not uphold the impossibly high standards the studio has set for itself. Indeed, ‘Brave” is one of just three Pixar films to earn a score of less than 90 percent on the Tomatometer. The picture currently stands at 74 percent. “Cars” earned the same rating while its sequel garnered an abysmal 38 percent.

That said, “Brave” had no trouble in the money making department, grossing $66.7 million in its opening weekend. That makes it Pixar’s fifth-best debut and perhaps more importantly, the number one movie in America.

But unfortunately for Fox Studios and Focus Features, the weekend’s other new releases didn’t fare nearly as well. The former’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” came in third with $16.5 million, which in this blogger’s humble opinion is $16.5 million too much, while the latter’s “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” found itself at the end of the charts, coming in tenth place with just $3.8 million. The indie production’s numbers are especially disappointing given its two big name stars in Steve Carell and Keira Knightley and the fact that it just barely beat out Focus’s other current release, Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom,” despite playing in 1,230 more theaters.

In between the two and ten spots, things remained largely static. “Prometheus” and “Rock of Ages” slid from last week’s second and third spots into fourth and fifth, respectively. Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi grossed $10 million, while the troubled hair metal musical took in $8 million.

Among the weekend charts’ two fluctuations was the genre-mashing (or rather clashing) “Snow White and the Huntsman” hopping over “That’s my Boy,” which is in only its second week. “Snow White” slid back one spot into sixth place with $8 million, but inched past the Adam Sandler comedy by a mere $100,000. Likewise, “Men in Black 3,” which stands at ninth on the charts with $5.6 million, fell behind “The Avengers” for the first time since its release. The superhero flick came in the eighth after grossing $7 million.

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. Brave, 1/4,164, Buena Vista, $66.739 million.
2. Madagascar 3, 3/3,920, Paramount/Dreamworks, $20.2 million, $157.572 million.
3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 1/3,108, $16.5 million.
4. Prometheus, 3/2,862, Fox, $10 million, $108.547 million.
5. Rock of Ages, 2/3,470, Warner Bros., $8 million, $28.763 million.
6. Snow White and the Huntsman, 4/2,919, Universal, $8 million, $137.1 million.
7. That’s My Boy, 5/3,030, Sony, $7.9 million, $28.18 million.
8. The Avengers, 8/2,230, Disney/Marvel Studios, $7.04 million, $598.3million.
9. Men in Black 3, 5/2,462, Sony, $5.6 million, $163.339 million.
10. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, 1/1,625, Focus, $3.836 million.

  

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Box Office Recap: It’s All the Same, Only the Names (from 3-10) have Changed

Last week, two new releases, “Madgascar 3” and “Prometheus,” occupied the top two spots on the domestic box office charts for the first time since April 22, when “Think Like a Man” and “The Lucky One” knocked out “The Hunger Games” after four weeks on top. This weekend, something else that hadn’t happened in some time occurred: the nation’s two highest grossing movies remained static. “Madgascar 3” and “Prometheus” remain cemented at the top of the charts with $35.5 million and $20.2 million, respectively. The last films to accomplish that feat: “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” over the last two weekends of 2011, Dec. 23-25 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1.

Hair metal musical “Rock of Ages” came in third place with $15 million. Now, I could make that sound like a lot by pointing out that’s the sixth best opening of all-time for a musical and the third highest for a film adapted from the stage. But let’s be frank here, given the film’s prime summer release date, huge release (it played in 74 more theaters than “Prometheus” did in its first week), and most importantly its star-studded cast, “Rock of Ages” was a supreme disappointment. Seriously, this is a film with names like Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Will Forte, Eli Roth and of course, Tom Cruise in its end credits. It should have made more money.

So what was the problem? Well, as I hypothesized in my Box Office Preview, nobody, and I mean nobody likes hair metal, the genre this film was banking on. Kids don’t like it, of that I can assure you, and baby boomers were the ones telling their children to turn that garbage down during the lost decade that was the 1980’s. As I said on Friday, the target audience here was the tiny sliver of the American population that was both a teenager during the 1980′s and enjoyed the crap at the top of the pop charts at the time.

All that showed in the demographics. For some reason, whoever keeps track of this stuff divides the entire population of the country into only two groups: above 25 and below 25. Nearly 75 percent of the audience for “Rock of Ages” was in the above category, and females made up 62 percent. Those numbers are staggeringly skewed.

Unsurprisingly, the demographics for the weekend’s other new release, Adam Sandler’s “That’s My Boy,” were distorted in the opposite direction. Sandler, of course, is known for his high-brow humor, stuff like “If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.” That’s sarcasm folks. Anyway, 52 percent of the comedy’s audience was under 25, and 54 percent was male. I know that doesn’t sound like much after what you just read, but in general, that’s not an insignificant skew towards teenage boys. “That’s My Boy” came in fifth place with $13 million.

The remainder of the chart offered few surprises. Sandwiched between the two new releases, “Snow White and the Huntsman” made $13.8 million, and “That’s My Boy” was followed by “Men in Black 3” and “The Avengers.”

Meanwhile, Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom” continues to chug along at the specialty box office. With nearly $2.2 million, the film moved into ninth place this weekend despite being shown in just 178 theaters (compare that to Rock of Ages'” 3,470 and tenth place finisher “What to Expect When You’re Expecting’s” 1,216).

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. Madagascar 3, 2/4,263, Paramount/Dreamworks, $35.5 million, $120.451 million.
2. Prometheus, 2/3,442, Fox, $20.2 million, $88.858 million.
3. Rock of Ages, 1/3,470, Warner Bros., $15 million.
4. Snow White and the Huntsman, 3/3,701, Universal, $13.805 million, $122.602 million.
5. That’s My Boy, 1/3,030, Sony, $13 million.
6. Men in Black 3, 4/3,135, Sony, $10 million, $152.679 million.
7. The Avengers, 7/2,582, Disney/Marvel Studios, $8.848 million, $586.737 million.
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 7/1,184, Fox Searchlight, $2.2 million, $35.133 million.
9. Moonrise Kingdom, 4/178, Focus, $2.181 million, $6.779 million.
10.What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5/1,216, $1.33 million, $38.766 million.

  

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Box Office Recap: New Releases Take the Cake

For the first time since April 22, two new releases occupy the top two spots on the weekend box office charts. That weekend, “Think Like a Man” and “The Lucky One” knocked out “The Hunger Games” after four weeks on top. This time around, “Madagascar 3” and “Prometheus” sank “Snow White and the Huntsman” to number three in just its second week.

There’s been an absence of family features of late, and it showed in “Madagascar’s” strong $60.35 million showing, which is the fourth-highest opening of the year. The film just missed the $63.1 million the second film in the series made in its opening weekend, but remained in line with the first “Madgascar’s” $61 million over a long Memorial Day weekend in 2005.

The audience for “Madagascar 3” was mostly young (54 percent under 25) and female (56 percent), which makes sense considering its top competition, “Prometheus.” Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi made $50 million with the exact opposite demographics. Sixty-four percent of its audience was over 25, and 57 percent was male. Although “Prometheus” didn’t quite reach the massive levels some predicted, it still had the fourth-highest second place debut in history.

The new releases got some help from the continued slippage of “Men in Black 3” and “The Avengers,” which now sit at numbers four and five, respectively. Although “slippage” for those two pictures would be considered strong weekends for most other films, as they each cleared the $10 million mark with ease. Worldwide, the two films’ numbers are staggering. “Men in Black 3” is just $12.5 million short of half a billion in total gross after three weeks, while “Avengers” cleared $1.4 billion in its sixth weekend.

Behind them, “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” remained cemented in the six and seven spots. “Battleship” and “The Dictator” tumbled from numbers four and five last weekend to the eight and nine slots. Perhaps the most notable part of that development is “Battleship’s” steep drop in theater count. After being show in 3,144 locations last weekend, the film was on nearly 1,200 fewer screens.

Finally, in tenth place was Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom.” The film took in nearly $1.6 million despite playing in only 96 theaters, giving it a weekend-best $16,448 per-theater average. The film has now earned $3.8 million after showing in 16 theaters last weekend and just two during its debut.

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. Madagascar 3, 1/4,258, Paramount/Dreamworks, $60.35 million.
2. Prometheus, 1/3,396, Fox, $50 million.
3. Snow White and the Huntsman, 2/3,777, Universal, $23.021 million, $98.5 million.
4. Men in Black 3, 3/3,792, Sony, $13.5 million, $135.505 million.
5. The Avengers, 6/3,129, Disney/Marvel Studios, $10.809 million, $571.86 million.
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 6/1,298, Fox Searchlight, $3.235 million, $31.009 million.
7.What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4/2,087, $2.71 million, $35.745 million
8. Battleship, 4/1,954, Universal/Hasbro, $2.286 million, $59.83 million.
9. The Dictator, 4/1,651, Paramount, $2.15 million, $55.189 million.
10. Moonrise Kingdom, 3/96, Focus, $1.579 million, 3.75 million.

  

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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 Preview: Nothing to See Here

Snow White and the Huntsman

Who throws a cupcake, honestly? On a similar note, who would think combining Snow White with high fantasy and action/adventure is a good idea, honestly? Why, Universal Pictures, that’s who. We’ve got them to thank for the atrocious “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Coming soon to a theater near you!

I just can’t wrap my head around it, it seems like they’re actually trying to make a terrible movie. What separates good fantasy, stuff like “Game of Thrones” or “Lord of the Rings,” from the alarmingly awful majority of the genre is the subversion of cliches like the ultimate battle of good versus evil. When it comes to “Game of Thrones,” believe me, I should know. Especially given how much of my life I spend writing about it. Yet the tagline for “Snow White” is “Evil meets Destiny,” it’s right there in the trailer. I feel I should add this isn’t just me being grumpy either, the film’s at a 46 percent on the Tomatometer.

The movie’s about… Come on, what do you think it’s about? It’s Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the queen. Old queenie gets her panties in a bunch when her talking mirror tells her Snow White may one day be the fairest of them all.

The only difference between this and the Disney version is the queen sends a Huntsman (played by Chris Hemsworth) to capture Snow White. Seriously Hemsworth, if I wasn’t still feeling my “Avengers” contact high I might not be able to forgive you for this. Oh, and there’s battles and actiony stuff too, which always makes for a better film. Just ask “Battleship.”

Piranha 3DD

I didn’t think it was possible for me to be less excited about a movie than “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Then I watched the trailer for “Piranha 3DD.” I think I may have strained whatever muscles are responsible for dry heaving. Did you know the extra “D” in the title is meant to indicate this a sequel? Because I didn’t. I suppose it’s also a boob joke. Don’t blame the messenger, this is high-brow stuff folks. Summing this one up on my own might induce actual vomitus. To spare myself the trouble I’ll let the three of you interested peruse the official synopsis:

After the terror unleashed on Lake Victoria in Piranha 3D, the pre-historic school of blood thirsty piranhas are back. This time, no one is safe from the flesh eating fish as they sink their razor sharp teeth into the visitors of summer’s best attraction, The Big Wet Water Park.

Just copy and pasting that hurt. Anyway, “Piranha 3DD” stars a bunch of young no names, along with people like Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff, and Gary Busey. To this I say fine, get your money while there’s money to be got. But then I read that Christopher Lloyd is in the picture and my face looked something like this. That’s right, the man who played Doc Brown in “Back to the Future” and Taber in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is dragging his name through the mud with this garbage. Alright, in his defense the original’s been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. But “Pirahna 3DD’s” rating on the Tomatometer stands at a measly 12 percent.

Avoid this film like the plague, or, you know, a pre-historic school of blood thirsty piranhas.

Battlefield America

Did I say I was unexcited about “Pirahna 3DD” because “Battlefield America” has brought me to depths of disinterest I never thought possible. The synopsis calls it “A steady look at the underbelly of the youth battle dance culture in Long Beach, California.” The underbelly of youth dance culture? Seriously? Even if that didn’t sound ridiculous how many dance off movies can there possibly be? And now we’ve got to involve children?

Apparently “Battlefield America” is director Chris Stokes’ follow-up to 2004’s “You Got Served.” Since when do movies as universally disliked as “You Got Served” (16 on the Tomatometer) get follow-ups? Well, for a while now. I suppose a better question is why these movies get follow-ups, sequels, or anything of the sort. Well, money. Always money.

Please don’t make me talk about this movie anymore, it’s killing me. If you’re going to the theater this weekend see “The Avengers” or “Men in Black III.” Better yet, see Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom” if you have the opportunity. Please don’t waste your time or money on these new releases.

  

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