Weekend Box Office – THE BOURNE LEGACY in First with $40.2 Million; THE CAMPAIGN Second with $27.4 Million

     August 12, 2012

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Yesterday it looked like Universal’s The Bourne Legacy might get as high as $45 million by the end of its first weekend. That was not to be; although the re-born Bourne did open to a very respectable $40.2 million from 3,745 locations. Also falling in the ‘respectable’ range with $27.4 million was The Campaign, starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. The comedy did well enough from 3,204 locations to keep The Dark Knight Rises in third.

Title Weekend Total
1. The Bourne Legacy $40,266,000 $40.2
2. The Campaign $27,440,000 $27.4
3. The Dark Knight Rises $19,540,000 $390.1
4. Hope Springs $15,600,000 $20
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 $8,200,000 $30.5
6. Total Recall $8,100,000 $44.1
7. Ice Age 4 $6,750,000 $144
8. Ted $3,290,000 $209.9
9. Step Up Revolution $2,850,000 $30.1
10. The Watch $2,200,000 $31.3

bourne-legacy-movie-posterBack in 2002, after The Bourne Identity opened to $27.1 million, the consensus was that Universal had a hit franchise on its hands. The film’s success (it went on to gross $121.6 million in the US) was by no means guaranteed: it opened in second place behind Scooby-Doo that first weekend and few believed that Matt Damon had the goods to deliver as a franchise action hero. But the consensus had the right of it.  Not only was Damon’s career transformed by playing Jason Bourne, over the next five years the Bourne series lived every franchise’s dream: it got more successful with each film released.

In July 2004 The Bourne Supremacy nearly doubled its predecessor’s opening with $52.5 million and earned $176.2 million by the end of its domestic run. Three years later The Bourne Ultimatum did even better with its $69.2 million debut (a record for August) and its $227.4 million final cume. Studios rarely back away from that kind of success (hell, half as much would have ensured a follow-up) and so plans for a fourth Bourne were made. Trouble is, neither Damon nor Paul Greengrass, the director of Supremacy and Ultimatum, could be convinced to return. Instead, the pair released the financially-disappointing Green Zone in 2010 and left Universal to figure out how to re-invent its super-successful, super-spy series.

Now with Jeremy Renner in the lead, The Bourne Legacy could not hit the highs of its Greengrass heyday. However, few expected that it would. The film reportedly cost north of $125 million and, while reviews have not been strong (53% on Rotten Tomatoes) the Bourne brand is a big draw overseas. Bottom line is this: its August, the Olympics are winding down and theatre attendance is off. Was this the kind of debut that Universal dreamed of? Probably not. On the other hand, it was high enough to keep the franchise alive.

the campaign poster zach galifianakis will ferrellIn August 2010, Will Ferrell had a hit with the PG-13 comedy The Other Guys. Paired with Mark Wahlberg, Ferrell helped the buddy movie open with $35.5 million and reach nearly $120 million by the end of its domestic run.  Two years later Ferrell has teamed up with Zach Galifianakis for the political comedy The Campaign. Unlike The Other Guys, however, The Campaign is rated R, which may be one reason the film’s debut did not quite reach $30 million.  Without a doubt, Ferrell and Galifianakis are two comedians who command respect at the box office; but with The Watch proving that big stars do not automatically translate into big turnouts, The Campaign can consider itself a winner by default.

Things got worse this weekend for Sony’s Total Recall reboot. After its less-than stellar debut, the film fell off a giant 68% in its sophomore frame for a new worldwide total of just $50.3 million. The reported budget for Total Recall 2012 is $125 million, so something dramatic will have to happen to make the film profitable before the end of its theatrical run.

I saved Hope Springs for last this week because I figured, if you are reading Collider, you are not likely to be interested in a film about amorous senior citizens. Nevertheless, the dramedy starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones had a decent first weekend, taking in $15.6 million from 2,361 locations. Because Hope Springs opened on Wednesday, its total topped $20 million after five days. That’s not exactly on blockbuster pace, but the watchword for a film like Hope Springs is: slow and steady. Watch for it to do solid business throughout August.

This weekend managed to top 2011 by a decent margin and, provided the action-stars align, next weekend’s The Expendables 2 should provide another win for 2012. Back in August 2010 The Expendables opened with $34.8 million, on its way to a global cume of almost $275 million. Box office watchers are expecting the sequel to open a bit higher than the original.  What happens after opening weekend is more of a question mark.

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