Weekend Box Office: WARM BODIES Wins Super Bowl Frame with $20 Million

     February 3, 2013

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It wasn’t even close. Against a handful of holdovers and one weak new release, Summit Entertainment’s Warm Bodies walked off with this year’s Super Bowl box office prize. From 3,009 locations, the zombie comedy earned an estimated $20 million – more than twice the total of the number two title. Bullet to the Head, the frame’s only other wide release, took in just $4.5 million from 2,404 locations for a sixth place finish.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Warm Bodies $20,025,000 $20
2.  Hansel & Gretel $9,210,000 $34.4
3.  Silver Linings Playbook $8,113,000 $80.3
4.  Mama $6,730,000 $58.2
5.  Zero Dark Thirty $5,300,000 $77.7
6.  Bullet to the Head $4,500,000 $4.5
7.  Parker $3,215,000 $12.4
8.  Django Unchained $3,039,000 $150.9
9.  Lincoln $2,412,000 $170.7
10.  Les Miserables $2,400,000 $141.4

One year ago, two movies opened above $20 million on Super Bowl weekend: The Woman in Black and Chronicle. Both films targeted a young audience (women, especially) and both went on to earn over $50 million in the US. In fact, over the past five years, most of Super Bowl weekend’s biggest success stories have been teen-girl friendly: Dear John and Hannah Montana: The Best of Both Worlds, especially. No surprise, then, that this year’s winner would court the same demographic.

Adapted from a young adult novel, Warm Bodies is the story of a handsome teen zombie who falls for a human girl – think Twilight meets The Walking Dead. The movie has had decent reviews (76% on Rotten Tomatoes), though that doesn’t necessarily play a part in the financial success of a female-skewing Super Bowl release (see the 28% of Dear John).

Warm Bodies has already done much better than expected by reaching $20 million in its first three days: on par with 2012’s The Woman in Black and higher than the pricier (and more hyped) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters last weekend. In its sophomore frame, last weekend’s number one film was off an estimated 53% for second place and a new domestic total of $34.4 million.

For the second week in a row, Silver Linings Playbook saw the best hold among the domestic top ten. Now in its third week of wide release, the Oscar hopeful dropped just 14% and moved into third place with an estimated $8.1 million. Zero Dark Thirty, meanwhile, was off by 45% in its fourth wide frame. The drama took fifth place this weekend and has now topped $75 million in total domestic earnings.

This is the time of year when Oscar nominees like Silver Linings and Zero Dark Thirty typically do well – so how to explain the success of Mama? The last of this weekend’s list of notable holdovers remained in the top five for a third consecutive frame, despite the fact that horror movies are known for dramatic week-to-week declines. The PG-13 title has already taken in over $58 million in the US: a figure that puts it in the top twenty supernatural-horror titles of all time.

bullet to the head posterIt’s always a bad sign when it takes six paragraphs to get to a new release – especially on a week when a majority of holdovers have been in theatres since Christmas. But the sorry performance of Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head barely merits mention at all, if truth be told. Two weeks after Arnold Schwarzenegger tanked in The Last Stand ($6.4 million debut; $11.4 million US total) and one week after Jason Statham met disappointment with Parker ($7 million debut; $12.4 million total), their Expendables leader set a new low by opening his solo feature with just $4.5 million. Parker will find redemption in its overseas release, but it is obviously a bad time to be an 80s action star at the box office – fingers crossed Bruce Willis?

This year’s top ten came in over 25% lower than Super Bowl 2012’s. That’s what happens when weak releases meet the year’s biggest television event. Unfortunately, the box office losing streak seems destined to stretch into another week. Two new movies – the R-rated Identity Thief and Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects – will hit theatres. Compare that to last year when three new titles (and the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace) debuted. Identity Thief should come out on top, though with a lower total than either The Vow or Safe House saw one year ago. Check back next week for our post game analysis.


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