March 27, 2011


Ouch.  Though it seemed likely after Friday’s figures were announced, the fact that Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules so easily topped the flashier Sucker Punch has still got to hurt the folks at Warners this morning.

Title Weekend Total
1 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 $24,400,000 $24.4
2 Sucker Punch $19,000,000 $19
3 Limitless $15,225,000 $41.2
4 The Lincoln Lawyer $11,000,000 $28.9
5 Rango $9,800,000 $106.3
6 Battle: Los Angeles $7,600,000 $72.5
7 Paul $7,500,000 $24.6
8 Red Riding Hood $4,340,000 $32.4
9 The Adjustment Bureau $4,240,000 $54.8
10 Mars Needs Moms $2,186,000 $19.1

sucker-punch-movie-poster-01In March of 2010 the first Wimpy Kid opened to $21.2 million, putting it just ahead of the Jenifer Aniston/Gerard Butler comedy The Bounty Hunter but well behind the number one Alice in Wonderland. With no big holdover to contend with this year, the PG-rated Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 led the weekend with an estimated $24.4 million from 3,167 locations.  That is all kinds of good news for Fox, who earlier in the week said they would have been happy to land in the mid-teens against the better-promoted and more-pricey Sucker Punch.

With this weekend’s win, Diary 2 should be able to match its predecessor in terms of profitability.  The first film cost less than $20 million and ended up grossing $75 million worldwide.  The sequel, which was in the works before the original’s release, cost a reported $21 million before promotion. That means that every weekend it stays in theatres going forward it is making money instead of balancing expenditures.  Sadly, that is not the case with Sucker Punch.

Just as the first Wimpy Kid put the hurt on the Bounty Hunter in 2010, the sequel is making Sucker Punch look like the wimp this weekend.  Though the studio will undoubtedly find a way to spin it to their advantage, the fact that the film’s $19 million estimate is lower than the $19.8 million Kick-Ass earned in its debut last April is not boding well for Zack Snyder’s latest feature.  It could have been worse, however.  Sucker Punch could have easily lost on Friday (the traditional night for action movies to shine).

Warner Brothers put a lot into promoting Sucker Punch: Comic-Con, video games, apps, etc, etc.  That means that the film’s budget (as low as $85 million and as high as $110, depending on who you believe) is only part of the story. The film’s stunning visuals should play well overseas so this may not be a disaster, but the trouble is that, here at home, weekend’s like this only make it harder for original screenplays to make it into multiplexes.  On a positive note, Sucker Punch did have a good showing at its IMAX venues (bringing in $4 million from 229 screens) and it also managed to open better than Snyder’s last film, Legends of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga’Hoole.

Last weekend’s number one film Limitless came in third this weekend, taking in an estimated $15.2 million in its sophomore frame.  That’s a drop of less than 20% over last weekend which is pretty great for any genre.  The Lincoln Lawyer did even better, falling just 16.7% while fellow sophomore Paul declined by 42% to place seventh.  Already ranking as number five on Hollywood’s list of all-time money losers, Mars Needs Moms dropped to number ten this weekend with a total domestic gross still shy of $20 million.

At the other end of the spectrum, Rango crossed the $100 million mark here in the US in its fourth weekend in theatres.  Sony’s Just Go With It hit the same milestone – preserving Adam Sandler’s record as the $100 million man of American comedy.  Next weekend Universal’s animated Hop will dominate, though I’m more interested in seeing how the release of the newly edited The King’s Speech will fare in its 1,000 locations.


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