2013 has not been a banner year at the box office by any stretch of the imagination, but this weekend will set a new low. For the first time in months, no film took in $15 million. That includes the first-place Identity Thief, which was back on top in its third frame. With an estimated $14.1 million, Identity Thief barely edged out the $13 million debut of Snitch but, when we’re talking numbers this small, gloating over rank seems a little pointless.
|3.||Escape from Planet Earth||$11,013,000||$35.1|
|5.||A Good Day to Die Hard||$10,000,000||$51.8|
|7.||Silver Linings Playbook||$6.051,000||$107.4|
Lately it seems that, without bad news at the box office, we’d have no news at all. Despite offering up plenty of new releases, 2013 has given us just a handful of hits – and many of those originated in the last quarter of 2012. For every Mama-style success, 2013 has produced at least three notable failures, including The Last Stand, Gangster Squad and last weekend’s Beautiful Creatures. And while some of this movie malaise can be credited to the time of year, twelve months ago the box office was thriving – putting up the highest February total of all time with over $810 million in grosses. This month, the box office will realize just over half that; making it the slowest February in more than a decade.
Before we delve deeper into the sorry state of the 2013 box office, let’s take a moment to give the number one movie its due. Almost single-handed, Identity Thief has kept a disappointing month from becoming a disaster. Identity Thief opened three weeks ago with $34.4 million – by far the highest debut of this year. No surprise then that the R-rated comedy also ranks as 2013’s highest-grossing movie. So far, the film has earned an estimated $93.7 million and, by the end of February, it will become the first title of this year to break $100 million in domestic grosses.
Though it missed taking first place this weekend by less than $1 million, that’s the only reason Snitch should be in the same sentence as Identity Thief. By opening above $8 million, the PG-13 action title did outshine recent R-rated releases like Bullet to the Head, The Last Stand and Parker but, for a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson vehicle, that isn’t saying much. The star of hits like Fast Five has been a consistent box office draw; and, while he has headlined flops like 2010’s Faster, Snitch still ends up looking like a rare miss for The Rock.
If Snitch was an underwhelming presence at number two, what can be said about the weekend’s second wide release, Dark Skies? From 2,313 locations, the sci-fi thriller took in an estimated $8.85 million. Though low, that total may actually count as a qualified win for Dark Skies. The film received limited studio marketing and was not screened for critics in advance – always a bad sign.
Moving from bad to worse, last weekend’s new releases both had disappointing sophomore frames. After taking first place one week ago, A Good Day to Die Hard was down by 60%. Beautiful Creatures was down by 55% – an average drop for a second weekend. But, because the film started out with an abysmal $7.5 million opening, that average drop will serve the fatal blow for Beautiful Creatures – a film that already ranks as the biggest flop of this sadly flop-laden year. Here’s hoping that Jack the Giant Slayer and 21 & Over can start March off on stronger footing next weekend.