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 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: ‘Avengers’ and Something About a Hotel


The Avengers

As I discussed over at Real Men Read Comics, Marvel has been building towards this one for a long time. After a long wait and perhaps too many attempts to connect the dots, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the gang are coming together on the big screen.

I’ve actually got something nice to say about a new release, maybe even a few nice things. This is groundbreaking territory.

“The Avengers” was written and directed by Joss Whedon. This is the dude who brought us “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” and “Firefly.” If you don’t know what “Firefly” is, you need to find out. It’s on Netflix instant, so go on, get. I’ll even give you the link. Like his projects, Whedon has built up quite the cult following over the years. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, he co-wrote “Toy Story,” for which he was nominated for an Oscar. That’s right folks, motherfucking “Toy Story.”

“The Avengers” has all most of the stars of the individual films back in their roles. We’ve got Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, and most importantly, Robert Downey Jr. in his perfectly sardonic portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Now, Mark Ruffalo may have replaced Eric Bana, er, Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk, but that’s probably a good thing. If you’re sick of all these different Bruce Banners flying your way, don’t worry, Ruffalo recently signed a six-picture deal to play The Hulk.

Let’s not forget about the supporting cast, rounding out the team are Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. But wait, there’s more, Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role from “Thor” as Loki, the film’s main villain. Hiddleston also played a brilliant F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Midnight in Paris.”

One of the ways you know a superhero movie, is great is when the dialogue is better than the action sequences. This is what we got in “Iron Man,” when oftentimes Tony Stark was more gripping with his super suit off than on. You should expect no less from Whedon, and according to Bullz-eye’s David Medsker, the Joss has delievered:

Once Whedon gets the cast in the same room and gives them the chance to interact as people rather than superheroes, the movie blossoms in a strangely wonderful way, one where it’s easy to wish that they would keep talking, rather than ramping up for the butt-kicking that is just around the corner. Indeed, until the climactic battle sequence, the action plays second fiddle to the talking, and as odd as that sounds for a superhero movie, it’s the right call.

If all this wasn’t enough, “The Avengers” has been certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, sitting at a 93 on the Tomatometer. For once, I’m actually excited.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The only other film getting a wide release this weekend is “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” Believe it or not, John Madden was actually able to direct a film that doesn’t star Brett Favre. Hold on. I’m getting word that it’s a different John Madden, the “Shakespeare in Love” John Madden. Oh, well things make more sense now.

Kidding aside, this is a film about a group of British seniors, including Academy Award-winners Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, who decide to “outsource” their retirement to cheaper and seemingly exotic India. When they get there, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel doesn’t look quite as it did in the brochures so both hilarity and drama ensue. The film also stars Penelope Winton, whose interactions with Maggie Smith in “Downton Abbey” are fantastic, so hopefully we get some of that here.

There’s a reason no other movies are being released this weekend, studios were scared of “The Avengers,” and rightly so. But it’s pretty clear that “Hotel” is “The Avengers'” antithesis, and so too is its target audience. That said, with its award-winning cast and 78 rating on the Tomatometer, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” seems to be well worth seeing in its own right.

  

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