Sunday, May 27, 2012

Box Office Report: "Men in Black 3" Topples "The Avengers" Over Weak Memorial Day Weekend

The weekend projections are in, but these numbers obviously won't reflect for what Monday will bring, if you're waiting for the full four-day weekend stats. These are the regular weekend numbers though, holidays aside. And overall, it was a pretty unspectacular showing for just about every film. "Men in Black 3" won the day, but it was with a lower overall number than I think anyone expected for this weekend.

One film you can say produced numbers better than might have been expected was "The Avengers", though this is nothing new for the film, which has over-produced every week and weekend it's been in theaters. The film fell to second place but still held very strong peripherals.

Rounding out the top five were films "Battleship""The Dictator", and "Chernobyl Diaries". Earlier projections had "Dark Shadows" in this spot, but as of now, they're projecting for the weekend's new release to hang on to fifth place.

For the first time in a month, we have a new film to talk about at the top of the pack. As was expected this weekend, "Men in Black 3" took the number one spot and dethroned "The Avengers". It put together a fairly unimpressive total of $55MM. That's not the worst thing in the world, but many expected this film to be in the $70MM-$80MM range this weekend. In the Weekend Releases post I stated that I thought the absolute lowest we could expect from the film would be $60MM or so, but also that we'd probably be closer to that $70MM mark. The numbers will definitely get to those marks after tomorrow, as Memorial Day is generally a pretty strong movie day across the country. I'm not sure if I was trying to account for the four-day weekend or not in my totals, but nonetheless, it seems like only $55MM for this film over its first real weekend is less than inspiring. The film has an estimated $215MM budget, so while $55MM doesn't even come close to that, these films always play well overseas, and this one has already grabbed $130MM internationally. By the start of next weekend the film should have already made its budget back and be out of the red. It's still not amazing domestic numbers, but it should play for a while here and ultimately put together respectable totals. It has a current rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 68% which you'd think will help in the word-of-mouth department too.

Coming in second this weekend was "The Avengers". This is the first time since its release that it hasn't held the top spot. After a month though, this was expected. It still put together a strong weekend of $36.9MM in the three-day totals, a number stronger than most expected. Over the previous three weeks the film has had drop-offs of about 45%. That's slightly above normal from weekend to weekend (as we'd expect from this film), but still in the general range (drop-offs of 50-55% are generally what you expect to see). But this weekend, the film only dropped 33% from its previous weekend, recording about $10MM more than what should have happened. That now puts its domestic totals at $513.6MM, and just $20MM behind "The Dark Knight" for third place all-time. Not nearly as many notable records this weekend, as the only thing I can see is it took the top spot for quickest film to $500MM (it beat the previous record held by "The Dark Knight" by nine full days), pulling off a sweep as the fastest film to every total from $100MM to $500MM, with every $50MM stop along the way. The film now has $1.29BB worldwide and still sits in forth place on the all-time list, right behind "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" ($1.32BB). It made up a lot of ground this week and now only has $33MM to go to surpass the film.

Third on the list this weekend was "Battleship". This is the position I expected to see this film in this weekend, and unfortunately with about these same numbers too. You can read our review of the film here, but ultimately, it's unfortunate that the film is performing as poorly as it is. Yes, there are plenty of flaws to pick out from the film, but if you're looking for an action-packed special-effects fare this summer (and assuming you've already seen "The Avengers"), you can't go wrong here. The film is actually a lot of fun and deserves a better reputation than it's getting. Regardless, the film banked about $10.8MM this weekend. I thought it would be closer to the $12Mm-$15MM range, but this isn't far off. And after tomorrow, that's probably where it will be. As I stated last week, the film has performed well internationally, so while it still looks bad here in the States, overall the film won't be a failure for the studios.The film has now done over $230MM internationally, and paired with the $44MM it's made here, that's almost $275MM from a film with a budget just over $200MM. Maybe not exactly what you want, but good enough I guess. $10MM for its second weekend here really amazes me though. For a film of this nature, you'd just expect stronger numbers. Hasn't been the case all year though; people aren't showing up just to check out cool effects anymore. Other than "The Avengers" and "The Hunger Games", it's felt like just above every film has under-performed all spring and summer so far.

And speaking of under-performing, "Chernobyl Diaries" was the second film to open this weekend and did much worse than expected. It comes in with a projected gross of $8MM. I feel like the studios expected that just because they threw Oren Peli's name all over the marketing campaigns people would show up as they did for all three of the Paranormal Activity movies. But as I stated before the weekend, regardless of your thoughts on any of those films, this film hasn't felt like anything close to them. It looked incredibly standard, and as I just stated above, people don't seem to be coming out to the theaters this year just to come; you have to bring something special. It's clear that no one thought this film was such. Much as I expected, the film has received terrible reviews so far, sitting at a current 25% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. I'm not sure what the budget was on this film, but it probably wasn't much. And the $100MM+ grosses from a couple of Peli's Paranormal movies should still keep this director in high-ish regards with the horror studios for now. I was on the fence about checking this movie out, and nothing this weekend did anything to convince me to see the film. Maybe someday on DVD, but definitely not before then.

I skipped over "The Dictator", which came in forth place this weekend with $9.6MM. It's now made over $40MM in its two weeks and is sitting about where I'd expect after two weeks, and $25MM away from matching its budget. The problem I expected from the film was that it wouldn't play well overseas and need to make up its entire $65MM budget in the States. That doesn't seem to be the case, however, as it's put together an international gross of just over $30MM, bringing its full totals to just over $70MM. I'm surprised the film has made that much overseas. I guess maybe the U.K. is a safe place for the film; it might have done okay there.

Anyway, that's what the Top 5 looked like this weekend. As has been the case recently, everything else kind of muddled together, and nothing else really surpassed any milestones this weekend. Overall, just weak box office numbers again. Seems to be the theme of the year so far.

As always, check out the full weekend numbers below, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: