Box Office Recap: ‘Avengers’ Still On Top, ‘Battleship’ Disappoints


The Avengers’” weekend gross took another hit of nearly 50% this weekend, but that didn’t stop it from remaining the number one movie in America (and abroad, and on Betelgeuse as well, like as not). Despite the drop, the superhero flick still raked in over $55 million in its third week, bringing its global gross to $1.18 billion. Yes, billion with a “b.” In terms of cumulative gross, the film is now the fourth biggest movie of all time worldwide and the sixth biggest domestically. Furthermore, “The Avengers” swept past “The Hunger Games” to become the highest-grossing movie of 2012, and it showed no signs of slowing down. The only film to make more in its third weekend was “Avatar.” But while “Avatar” was able to stay at the top of the charts for seven consecutive weeks, “The Avengers” might just face its first real competition in “Men in Black III” next weekend. Heavy emphasis on the “might.”

Given its tremendous success, “The Avengers” isn’t leaving a whole lot of cash for its competitors. Coming in second place with $25.3 million was Universal Studios’ “Battleship.” That figure is especially disappointing for the film’s financiers given the $209 million it cost to produce. I for one am still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of an alien and explosion-packed action movie based on a freaking board game, and apparently I’m not alone.

In third place was Sacha Baron Cohen’sThe Dictator.” The comedy was given a Wednesday release, taking in $24.5 million over five days with $17.4 million coming during the weekend itself. The film is Baron Cohen’s first fully-scripted picture, presumably because he is now too recognizable to dupe people in the fashion of “Borat” or “Da Ali G Show.”

“Dark Shadows,” the most recent collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, continued to underperform. The film took in $12.7 million in its second weekend, bringing its ten-day total to just under $51 million, another disappointing figure given its $150 million budget.

In fifth place with $10.5 million was the weekend’s last remaining new movie, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Perhaps most surprising was the $3.25 million made by “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” despite playing in only 354 theaters nationwide. That’s a per-theater average of $18,258, which tops even “The Avengers'” $12,958.

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 Avengers, 3/4,249, Disney/Marvel Studios, $55.1 million, $457.1
2. Battleship, 1/3,690, Universal/Hasbro, $25.3 million.
3. The Dictator, 1/3,008, Paramount, $17.4 million, $24.5 million.
4. Dark Shadows, 2/3,755, Warner Bros., $12.8 million, $50.9 million.
5. What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 1/3,021, $10.5 million.
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 3/354, Fox Searchlight, $3.3 million, $8.2 million.
7. The Hunger Games, 9/2,064, Lionsgate, $3 million, $391.6 million.
8. Think Like a Man, 5/1,722, Sony, $2.7 million, $85.9 million.
9. The Lucky One, 5/2,839, Warner Bros., $1.8 million, $56.9 million.
10. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 4/1,840, Sony/Aardman, $1.5 million, $25.4 million.

  

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Box Office Recap: ‘The Avengers’ Made a Good Deal of Money! Part Duh


The Avengers‘” domestic gross dropped 50 percent this weekend. Oh well, what are you gonna do? You can’t win ’em all and other cliches. Hold on a moment, I’m receiving word from staff mathematicians that a 50 percent drop from $207 million is still over $100 million. I hereby retract my first two sentences. Oh, and for those of you that didn’t get it, the title is a pun. I like puns.

Yes, “The Avengers” made a lot more money this weekend. Surprise! Last week, the film broke a whole bunch of records, it had the largest opening weekend in history, set new highs for Saturday ($69.7 million) and Sunday ($50.1 million), and had the highest ever per-theater average for a nationwide release with $46,057. It also reached $100 million, $150 million, and $200 million faster than any other movie. That trend continued this weekend, as the film had the best second weekend ever, trouncing “Avatar’s” $75.6 million, setting new highs for eight, nine, and ten-day grosses, and becoming the fastest film to reach $300 and $350 million.

Last week, the top weekend market share for a single film was just about the only record “The Avengers” didn’t break. The film’s $207 million was 83.1 percent of the total weekend gross, just behind “Spider-Man 3’s” 83.3. percent. However in its second week “The Avengers” took 64 percent of the total gross, the nineteenth highest figure of all time. “Spider-Man 3” only took a measly 60.4 percent in its second week. That’s not even in the top 20. Take that Parker!

Anyway, with “The Avengers” raking in so much cash, there wasn’t a whole lot of room left for other movies, even new ones, and especially bad ones. I’m talking to you, my imagined personification of Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows.” You suck. I’m looking down at you just like you’re looking down at that Troll doll, and so is everyone involved in the making of “The Avengers.”

“Dark Shadows” looks especially bad when compared to the opening weekends of other recent Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations. The film’s $28.8 million is less than a quarter of “Alice in Wonderland’s” $116.1 million and barely half of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s” $56.2 million. Furthermore, my staff mathematicians are joking about how well those numbers work together, 29 goes into 116 four times and 28 goes into 56 twice. I told those nerds to shut up.

In other news, “Think Like a Man” continues to plow forward, bringing in $6.3 million this weekend and raising its total gross to a relatively impressive $89.1 million. Likewise “The Hunger Games” made $4.4 million, bringing its total to $386.9 million. Of course, the film will inevitably yield 2012’s top spot to “The Avengers” by next weekend.

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

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Avengers, 2/4,349, Disney/Marvel Studios, $103.2 million, $373.2
2. Dark Shadows, 1/3,755, Warner Bros., $28.8.
3. Think Like a Man, 4/2,052, Sony, $6.3 million, $81.9 million.
4. The Hunger Games, 8/2,531, Lionsgate, $4.4 million, $386.9 million.
5. The Lucky One, 4/2,839, Warner Bros., $4.1 million, $53.7 million.
6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 3/3,079, Sony/Aardman, $3.2 million, $23.1 million.
7. The Five-Year Engagement, Universal, 3/2,569, $3.1 million, $24.4 million.
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2/178, Fox Searchlight, $2.7 million, $3.7 million.
9. Chimpanzee, 4/1,559, Disney, $1.6 million, $25.6 million.
10. Girl in Progress, 1/327, $1.4 million.

  

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Hidden Netflix Gems – The Extra Man

Hidden Netflix Gems is a new feature designed to help readers answer that burning question, “What should I watch tonight?” It will be updated every Saturday before the sun goes down.

The Extra Man is a rather unconventional film about a pair of very unconventional characters. Louis Ives (Paul Dano) is a young aspiring playwright who moves to New York City after an embarrassing incident that forces him to quit his job. He meets and moves in with Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline), a former professor and playwright who now works as an “extra man,” which he stresses is not the same as a gigolo, or even a male escort; first of all, he doesn’t receive money for his services, and secondly, he doesn’t engage in anything sexual with the wealthy older women who hire him. Instead, he says, he brings a certain air of respectability and class to his engagements, in exchange for gifts and fine meals. In the meantime, he lives the sort of penniless existence that occasionally requires him to paint his ankles and calves with shoe polish in order to disguise the fact that he has forgotten to buy socks, which he says may have the added benefit of killing some of the fleas that inhabit him.

Louis is duly fascinated by Henry’s eccentric, acerbic ways, and Kline delivers one of the best performances of his career, mining big laughs from lines like, “I’m against the education of women. It dulls their senses and effects their performance in the boudoir.” He also rails against such practices as recycling and charity to the homeless, which makes an interesting contrast to Louis’ newfound job at an environmental magazine, where he develops a crush on his vegan, uber-green co-worker, Mary Powell (Katie Holmes). Louis is also fascinated by Henry’s mysterious, bearded neighbor, Gershon Gruen (John C. Reilly), who can be heard through the vents each morning singing beautifully as he showers. Louis is hiding his own eccentricity from his new friends, and without giving away too much about the course this particular character development takes, I will say it is perhaps the most sensitive, realistic exploration of heterosexual cross-dressing since Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.

Co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, adapting a novel by Bored to Death scribe Jonathan Ames, clearly share Louis’ attraction to cranky oddballs such as Henry, as evidenced in their excellent first feature, American Splendor. Henry has much in common with that film’s protagonist, Harvey Pekar (Paul Giamatti), though there is a misplaced sense of class superiority in Henry that Harvey would undoubtedly abhor. Still, as mean-spirited and narrow-minded as Henry often seems to be, it is difficult as an audience member not to share in this fascination; as Louis says at one point, “You have a strange power over people, Henry,” to which Henry replies, “It’s my constant disapproval. People think it fatherly.” He might not be someone most of us would actually want to live with, but Henry is a wonderful cinematic creation, and probably Kline’s funniest role since A Fish Called Wanda. Though The Extra Man has much else to recommend it, it is this central character that buoys the film, and brings added life to all around him.

  

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Box Office Preview: ‘Dark Shadows’ and, well, that’s it

There’s only one movie seeing a wide release this week. I happen to think that’s because studios knew how successful “The Avengers” was going to be and were afraid to challenge it, even in its second week. Probably a smart move, the superhero flick is still going strong and continues to smash records. Yes, that’s a pun.


Dark Shadows

Here we have another Tim Burton film in which Johnny Depp plays a suspiciously pale, but ultimately endearing character. You know, sort of like “Edward Scissorhands,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Alice in Wonderland,” I’m sure you get the picture. Oh, Helena Bonham Carter’s in it too. Surprise!

In “Dark Shadows,” Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a wealthy playboy in 18th century Maine. Barnabas makes the mistake of breaking the heart of one Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green. It turns out Angelique is a witch, and she seeks revenge by turning Barnabas into a vampire and burying him alive.

Barnabas is inadvertently released in 1972 by a group of workmen who quickly become his first victims. He quickly returns to his old home, the now dilapidated Collinwood Manor, where some distant relatives reside. The family’s fishing business has been bankrupted by competition from the equally immortal Angelique.

The time period was likely chosen because the soap opera the film is based upon ran from 1966-1971. As such, I imagine the film will combine Burton’s signature macabre humor with a whole lot of “look, it’s the ’70s! Also, I’m a vampire!” jokes. I also imagine such a routine will get tiresome quickly. Critics who have actually seen the movie (mostly) agree, “Dark Shadows” is currently sitting at a 44 rating on the Tomatometer, although no concensus has been formed yet.

If you’re going to see one and only one film this weekend, I reccommend “The Avengers.” Yes, even if you’ve already seen it. That said, if you’re a big fan of Burton’s work, especially his collaborations with Depp, you’ll likely enjoy “Dark Shadows” as well.

  

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Monday movie news

The Deadline crew has really been working overtime these last few days, so there’s much to talk about as a new week begins.

* I’m not kidding about the pace of news from Deadline today. Just as I was starting to finish writing this, Mike Fleming broke the news that we have a “Superman” director who’ll be working with producer Christopher Nolan, and he is one Zack Snyder of “300,” “Watchmen,’ the “Dawn of the Dead” remake and that owl movie that’s out right now. Expect a fightin’ Supes. Should you expect a good Supes movie? Dunno. I never understood the grief that “Superman Returns” got. It was a nice, fun movie in the best senses of the words “nice” and “fun.” Will this one be all grimness and unnecessary darkness? I hope not.

*  Fox landed the film adaptation rights for apparently the hottest book of the moment, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is being produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmanbetov (“Night Watch,” “Wanted“), who purchased the rights with their own money. And it’s not like they were afraid to show they really wanted it:

When Tim and Timur and their entourage of reps came to the Fox…they were met with a huge banner at the gate. It had the title treatment of the script and was emblazoned, “Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov present Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. At their parking spot were signs saying “Parking For Vampire Hunters Only: park at your own risk,” and so forth. There were bloody footprints lining the walkway and stairs leading from their cars to the meeting in Building 88 with images from the book and lines from the script. As if that were not enough, there also were bloody axes strewn about, and a bugle player in a Confederate uniform playing “Taps” as the filmmakers walked to the meeting..

Yes, like Camelot, Hollywood is a silly place, and I sort of like it that way. I just wished I enjoyed Bekmambetov’s movies, because I didn’t.

* Re: silliness. Check out this promotion for “Jackass 3D”

* I seriously dislike writing about stories that say that so-and-so is “about to be” “offered” a part. There are simply too many items like that and too many “ifs” (maybe the studio will change their minds; maybe the star will say “no,” etc.) and I prefer to wait until the story is further down the road. Nevertheless, Mike Fleming has reported that Emma Stone is about to be offered the part of Mary Jane Watson in the Marc Webb-directed 3D “Spiderman” reboot opposite Andrew Garfield.

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