And the bad news for new releases just keeps coming. Despite placing first on Friday, the Universal comedy Tower Heist could not pull off a weekend win. The all-star ensemble took in just $25.1 million from 3,367 locations or ten million less than it was expected to command. The culprit? Looks like audiences who kept Puss In Boots at the low end of its own projections last weekend came out in force for round two: giving the Dreamworks Animation release an impressive 97% hold and a second week at number one.
|1||Puss In Boots||$33,000,000||$75.5|
|3||Harold and Kumar 3D||$13,100,000||$13.1|
|4||Paranormal Activity 3||$8,525,000||$95.3|
|8||The Rum Diary||$2,987,000||$10.4|
|9||Ides of March||$2,000,000||$36.8|
There are a lot of ways to analyze the financial success of a film but, for the purposes of Sunday morning columns like this, first weekend domestic gross is pretty much all that matters. That’s why you haven’t heard a lot about Paramount’s Footloose since it failed to crack the mid-teens in its debut four weeks ago. For the record, Footloose has gone on to double its reported budget of $24 million here in the US, making it a hit in spite of its less than dazzling opening numbers. My point here is to show that, although box office watchers (myself included) are obsessed with the first leg of the race, if the last few months have taught us anything, it’s the films that can go the distance that are the ones to watch.
Which brings us to Puss In Boots. When Shrek’s feline sidekick failed to top $40 million last weekend, the headline was that Puss In Boots had scored one of the lowest opening weekends in Dreamworks Animation’s history. True, although the freak East Coast snowstorm did get some of the blame for that one. But now, one week later, Puss In Boots has scored one of the best weekend-to-weekend holds in DA history. Its estimated $33 million from 3,963 locations represents a decline of just 3% – the most impressive sophomore hold since the first Shrek actually upped its percentage by .3% in 2001.
Though many people were surprised that Puss In Boots took first place instead of the much-hyped Tower Heist, it shouldn’t come as that much of a shock. By this week, recent family fare like Dolphin Tale had mostly vanished from the multiplex, making Puss (and its 3D price premium at more than half its sites) the only game in town.
In contrast, Tower Heist had just two dimensions to recommend it. The film did go day and date around the world but, so far, it seems that the crime caper is not scoring any better overseas. So, since I began this article by pointing out that, recently, films that opened under expectations have gone on to good business, what are the chances that Tower Heist will do the same? Not great. The Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill is set to debut next Friday, and though reviews for Tower Heist have been decent (69% on Rotten Tomatoes), it will take some kind of word of mouth miracle to give the comedy a chance at cracking $100 million.
Unlike Tower Heist, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas did have 3D prices to boost its numbers – which is what makes the three-quel’s debut estimate of $13.1 million from 2,875 locations look even sadder. The film’s three-day gross is running 13% behind the last Harold and Kumar feature from 2008 – a 2D feature, just to be clear. The comedy franchise has always had reasonable budgets, however, so with TV rights and the home market, Harold and Kumar 3D should have no trouble making back its reported $19 million production costs.
Overall, it was another down weekend. Even without looking at last year’s $46 million opening of the number one Megamind, Tower Heist failed to match up to the $32.6 million of WB’s (R-rated) comedy Due Date while Harold and Kumar 3D did not even come close to the debut of the (largely forgotten 2D drama) For Colored Girls. Next weekend Jack and Jill will try to put this November in the black, along with the 3D fantasy-drama Immortals and Clint Eastwood’s biopic J. Edgar. Anyone want to guess which film has the upper hand in that race?