The Expendables 2 was the easy winner this weekend with an estimated $28.7 million – though that figure fell short of its pre-release expectations. Sparkle and ParaNorman also came in a bit under projections but, overall, the box office managed to stay ahead of 2011’s totals… exactly the kind of exciting end-of-summer we were all imagining, right?
|1.||The Expendables 2||$28,750,000||$28.7|
|2.||The Bourne Legacy||$17,019,000||$69.5|
|6.||The Dark Knight Rises||$11,140,000||$409.9|
|7.||The Odd Life of Timothy Green||$10,909,000||$15.1|
|9.||Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3||$3,850,000||$38.7|
Looking ahead to what the next few weeks have in store, I’ll admit I don’t recognize a single new release on the schedule until September 14th. That’s why I’m going to call the box office of summer 2012 as of this morning. That’s also why I want to start with The Dark Knight Rises instead of The Expendables 2. We could have been sick of hearing about TDKR by now but, thanks to the tragic events in Colorado, this year’s most anticipated title became difficult to discuss. And with summer on the wane I’m clearly not going to get another chance…
On Friday, The Dark Knight Rises passed $400 million in domestic grosses – a feat that only fourteen other films in history have accomplished. With just under $410 million as of Sunday, TDKR has now passed The Hunger Games to become the twelfth highest-grossing film of all time. Internationally, The Dark Knight Rises has been number one for weeks and has earned over $445 million for a worldwide total of $855 million. It still trails 2008’s The Dark Knight ($533.3 million US/$1 billion worldwide), but that is understandable… given the circumstances.
On this weekend in 2010, summer ended with a bang when The Expendables opened with $34.8 million. That may not seem like a huge number compared to other summer titles, but at the time it was a big win for everyone involved. Sylvester Stallone and his gaggle of former action stars helped The Expendables pass $100 million in the US and $274.4 million worldwide by the end of its run – a great result for a film that cost $80 million.
Two years later, with franchise recognition in its favor, The Expendables 2 was expected to open in line with its predecessor. Those expectations were pared down to $30 million after Friday but, even then, the sequel came up short. This weekend’s result may not hamper its long-term prospects, however. The film has had positive word of mouth among its target demo and the fact that there are no big releases on the horizon can’t hurt either.
The dearth of direct competition could work in favor of ParaNorman as well. The stop-motion animated film from the creators of Coraline was expected to earn $15 million on its opening frame but came in just under that with $14 million from 3,429 locations. ParaNorman may not be your typical warm-and-fuzzy family film but, with Ice Age: Continental Drift fading fast, it is the only game in town until Finding Nemo 3D launches in September.
On Friday, estimates put ParaNorman about even with Sparkle for third place with $4.5 million each. That was a notable achievement for the latter, considering its low budget ($14 million) and lower theatre count (2,244); and yet it didn’t translate into the $14 million first-weekend that producers had hoped for. In case you missed the coverage last spring, Sparkle was the film that Whitney Houston completed just prior to her death. Though that is not the kind of publicity anyone wants for a feature, the extra awareness probably helped Sparkle avoid the fate of other small, star-driven projects – remember Glitter?
The only new release that managed to top expectations this weekend was The Odd Life of Timothy Green – mostly because very few people had any expectations for the quirky family film. Disney released Timothy Green on Wednesday, which allowed the live-action fantasy to collect $15.1 million in its first five days. Considering its low Rotten Tomato score of 38% and the three new films it was competing against, however, Disney should feel relieved that its title broke $10 million on its first weekend.
This is the point in my article where I let you know what big releases are due out next weekend so, here they are: Premium Rush and The Apparition. Excited yet? Even though The Expendables 2 is looking less formidable than its progenitor, I’ll take the sequel for the win next weekend over the two movies that skipped their marketing campaigns.