Weekend Box Office: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Holds, THE HEAT Sparks and WHITE HOUSE DOWN Stalls

     June 30, 2013

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With an estimated $46.1 million, Monsters University had no trouble holding on to first place in its sophomore frame. With Pixar’s track record, that was never really in doubt. Of more interest were the debuts of The Heat and White House Down. Would the summer box office make room for two strong openings, as it did for Monsters U and World War Z last weekend?  Not this time.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Monsters University $46,180,000 $171
2.  The Heat $40,000,000 $40
3.  World War Z $29,800,000 $123.7
4.  White House Down $25,700,000 $25.7
5.  Man of Steel $20,820,000 $248.6
6.  This Is The End $8,700,000 $74.6
7.  Now You See Me $5,500,000 $104.6
8.  Fast & Furious 6 $2,410,000 $233.3
9.  Star Trek Into Darkness $2,040,000 $220.5
10.  The Internship $1,425,000 $41.7

white-house-down-final-posterThis weekend there could be only one; and it was not White House Down. The action-thriller from director Roland Emmerich debuted with just $25.7 from 3,222 locations. For a summer action movie with a reported pricetag of $150 million, that is a very low number.

So what went wrong? Audiences who paid to see the White House under siege in Olympus Has Fallen in March may have decided to skip the second act this weekend. That may seem an obvious point in hindsight but, on paper, White House Down appeared to have the advantage, with bigger stars, better effects and a prime summer release date. The same assets helped Snow White and the Huntsman more than triple the opening of Mirror, Mirror (2012’s first Snow White feature) last June, but failed to attract audiences to White House Down. Sony will have to hope that Emmerich’s track record for creating giant hits overseas remains intact because, at this point, WHD would have to see incredible holds to reach $100 million domestically.

Bad news for White House Down was great news for The Heat. One week ago it looked like the week’s two new releases would battle each other for second place, with each projected to earn around $35 million. But The Heat proved more of a draw than anticipated – overperforming with an estimated $40 million from 3,181 locations.

the-heat-final-posterThat is just under what The Hangover Part III earned in its first three days and well over the $26.2 million of 2011’s Bridesmaids. As director Paul Feig’s follow-up to that breakout hit, The Heat will inevitably invite comparisons to that other R-rated female comedy. It should be noted, however, that Bridesmaids was a long-distance performer – down just 20% in its second weekend. The Heat may have come out hotter, but it will need to maintain its momentum to wind up with its predecessor’s $169 million final US tally.

That may be hard to accomplish, considering how crowded the domestic box office is about to become. On July third, the box office will welcome two more highly-anticipated titles to multiplexes: Despicable Me 2 and Disney’s The Lone Ranger. The first Despicable Me was a surprise hit in the summer of 2010. Three years later, the sequel’s success is a given. The Lone Ranger is more of a question mark. Production delays on the big-budget adaptation have left many convinced that Disney is in for another John Carter-sized flop. But, as World War Z proved last weekend, audiences don’t check with pundits before buying their movie tickets. Check back during the week for an update on the crowded July Fourth box office.

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