Box Office Recap: A Lot of New Releases, for the First Time in a While

After a few weeks in which there were never more than a few new releases at a time, mostly out of fear of “The Dark Knight Rises,” this weekend saw four new pictures enter theaters. As a result, there was major turnover in the domestic box office charts for the first time in what seems like a while.

The most successful new release was action sequel “The Expendables 2,” starring way too many people to name. The film brought in approximately $28.6 million after debuting in 3,316 theaters. Unsurprisingly, the film skewed to older males, 63 three percent of the audience was male and 65 percent was over 25. While the sequel fell off 18 percent from the debut of the original “Expendables” ($34.8 million), $28.6 million is a modest but acceptable opening mark.

The stop-motion animated feature “ParaNorman” took third place with $14.1 million. After production studio LAIKA received a great deal of critical acclaim for its first film, “Coraline,” many thought the studio might become a Pixar competitor. While LAIKA may arguably be putting out films of similar quality (each was certified fresh, with “ParaNorman” receiving an 88 percent and “Coraline” a 90 percent rating on the Tomatometer), they’re still lagging far behind in terms of box office success. Ten of the thirteen Pixar films have ended up with total domestic grosses over $200 million. LAIKA has a long way to go before they can compete with that.

As for the weekend’s other two new release, the musical “Sparkle” rounded out the top 5 with $11.6 million, while “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” came in seventh with $10.8 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. The Expendables 2, 1/3,316, LGF, $28.591 million.
2. The Bourne Legacy, 2/3,753, Universal, $17.057 million, $69.618 million.
3. ParaNorman, 1/3,429, Focus, $14.087 million.
4. The Campaign, 2/3,255, Warner Bros., $13.127 million, $51.435 million.
5. Sparkle, 1/2,244, TriStar Pictures, $11.643 million.
6. The Dark Knight Rises, 5/3,157, Warner Bros., $11.011 million, $409.787 million.
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green, 1/2,598, Buena Vista, $10.822 million.
8. Hope Springs, 2/2,361, Sony, $9.111 million, $35.063 million.
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, 3/2,737, Fox, $3.834 million, $38.747 million.
10. Total Recall, 3/2,434, Sony, $3.472 million, $51.755 million.

  

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Box Office Preview: ‘The Expendables 2,’ ‘ParaNorman,’ and ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’

The Expendables 2

Come on, look at all the names in this one: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Jean Claude Van-Damme, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, and of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you need me to tell you what to expect you’re nearly 40 years behind the Hollywood action scene (and have likely never voted in a California gubernatorial election).

If you saw the first “Expendables” movie, then you know what’s coming here: action, action, and more action. Seriously, watch the trailer, it’s just the names of the stars intercut with explosions, guns firing, and chase scenes. It gives literally no information relating to the plot, which tells you just about all you need to know regarding its importance to the film. Nonetheless, here’s the official synopsis:

The Expendables are back and this time it’s personal… Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them.

“The Expendables 2” has a 65 percent rating on the Tomatometer. Check it out if you’d like, just don’t expect much in the way of plot or character development.

ParaNorman

“ParaNorman” is the second feature film made by stop-motion animation studio LAIKA, the first being 2009’s “Coraline.” Both films have been met with a great deal of critical acclaim, and each has been “certified fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, with “ParaNorman” garnering an 86 percent rating on the Tomatometer and “Coraline” sitting pretty at 90 percent. Not to mention that in the year of its release, “Coraline” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. With all the accolades the two films have received, LAIKA may be the first studio that can really compete with Pixar if it can keep producing films of high enough quality that they transcend the box animated films are so often put in.

Anyway, let’s talk about “ParaNorman.” Kodi Smit-Mcphee stars as Norman Babcock, an oft-misunderstood young man with the uncanny ability to communicate with the dead, a talent that comes in handy when his small town is overrun by zombies. The official synopsis tells us “In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.” Smit-Mcphee’s co-stars include Casey Affleck, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Many adults discard animated films, believing them to be childish or incapable of conveying the same emotion and character that live action films can. But like Pixar, LAIKA makes films that relay all those elements in spades, the fact that they’re animated isn’t a detractor. As such, despite its PG rating, ‘ParaNorman” is a kid’s movie that isn’t really for kids. As Bullz-Eye’s Jason Zingale put it, the film is a “journey into the weird and macabre that will likely play well with pre-teens and older, but may be too frightening for younger audiences. Though parents should use discretion when deciding whether their children can handle the scarier moments, “ParaNorman” is packed with enough comedy that it helps dampen the effect.” It seems “ParaNorman” is a film more for those who are children at heart than actual children, and deserves to be checked out.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The last film seeing a wide release this weekend is “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” Let’s check out the official synopsis from Disney:

Director/writer Peter Hedges brings enchantment to the screen with The Odd Life of Timothy Green, an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim — and their small town of Stanleyville — learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts.

Given that its a Disney movie with a 41 percent rating on the Tomatometer, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” appears to be a try-hard heartwarmer that is ultimately more “style” (in the most Disneyfied sense of the word) than substance. Check it out only if you’re the overly-emotional type susceptible to that kind of drivel.

  

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