Sunday, July 29, 2012

Box Office Report: "The Dark Knight Rises" On Top, But Takes Considerable Dip

The first thing I noticed when I glanced at this weekend's numbers was that "The Dark Knight Rises" took a pretty good hit this weekend and didn't quite live up to superhero box office juggernaut title we were already giving it. It's still compiled numbers that 98% of films would kill for, but this weekend showed that it's not going to be real competition for the numbers that "The Avengers" established a few months back.

Upon looking at some of the other films' totals this weekend, what ultimately stood out the most was the incredibly weak take by "The Watch". I second-guessed myself that I was actually looking at the full weekend totals for a few seconds; surely this was just what the film made on Friday. The film put together about half of what I expected this weekend, and if we're being honest, I saw it this weekend and am glad that audiences didn't show up for this. They made it look intriguing in the trailers, but that was the best joke from the whole film! I'll go over specifics after the break, but anytime you have various bona fide stars and a budget close to $70MM, finishing behind a film in its third week that barely managed to break the $10MM mark ("Ice Age: Continental Drift") probably isn't a good thing.

We'll start with "The Dark Knight Rises" since it still took the top spot this weekend with ease. The film pulled in just over $64MM, which accounted for a 60% drop from last weekend. That's incredibly steep for a film with as high a profile as this one, but I think it more so just showcases the limited audiences it's appealing to. In the scope of things, $60MM is still one of the stronger second weekends ever, and nothing that the film should have too many worries about. But with so many comparisons to "The Avengers" and even "The Dark Knight", it doesn't look like it'll live up to those on this end at least. It's been two weeks and generally, among daily stats and fastest-to stats it's generally ending up in the 3-5 range, coming up just short of Dark Knight totals in most instances. I didn't feel a huge buzz about the film after its first weekend either, and even looking more closely at the daily totals, while it'll still be a force for a while, it does appear that it's already slowing down and losing momentum for any of those record paces people were interested in.

Nonetheless, the film has now crossed $289MM domestically, and mixed with the $176MM internationally, it's sitting pretty at $465MM after 10-days. The film had an estimated $250MM budget, so it was nice to at least see it surpass that with its domestic gross in its second weekend. It's always good when you can get that out of the way early (not that we were ever worried that the film would have trouble with that number though).

As of now, the projected second place film this weekend is "Ice Age: Continental Drift", but barely. Only $300,000 separate this film from the number-three film, "The Watch". And since these are just projections, when the actual numbers come out tomorrow afternoon, would could see some changes. But for now, Ice Age took the number-two spot, with a $13.3MM gross. The film had an impressive 34% drop this weekend, accounting for slightly higher-than-expected totals (and actually, as I'm looking at it, other than "The Dark Knight Rises", most films in the top ten had pretty admirable drops this weekend).

The film technically crossed the $100MM mark on Thursday, so this weekend was just extra on top. It took it a while to get there, but it's been steadily moving along, even with less-than-impressive reviews so far. The film continues to chug along internationally now, making nearly $450MM to this point. That amounts for a worldwide total of just over $560MM so far, which already lumps it right in the middle with the other films of the franchise. It will need about $300MM more to catch Ice Age 3, and I doubt it will get there, but there's still a good possibility it will finish as the second-highest grossing film of this series.

In third this weekend was the disappointing "The Watch". If you can pull together bits and pieces from above, than you know that this film made $13MM even. This was actually exactly half of what I predicted it would make this weekend, and overall I'm still surprised - even with how sub-standard the film was - that it made so little. The film did have an R-rating, so that did take away some of its appeal. But the film in fifth place this weekend, "Ted", is rated-R and is close to surpassing the $200MM mark. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the younger generation just isn't into Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn as much as we were, even 5-10 years ago. They want Seth MacFarlane and quick random joke after quick random joke. I'm not saying that "The Watch" was or wasn't that - I don't know what it was, it was just a bad movie (read my review here) - but I don't think the trailer made for enough of a ridiculous, crazy ride of a movie (which it wasn't anyway, so I guess it's good they didn't).

Overall, the film had an embargo on reviews before the weekend, and people know what that means. And once reviews were released, it's amounted to a dismal 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. Generally critics are saying the same things that I was: it and its actors try too hard to be something that they're not; the film just didn't fit this mold that they tried to force it into. So with all of that, film-goers aren't dumb (not all the time, at least), and they surely saw the terrible reviews and shied away. And I can't imagine there was much personal positive feedback coming from this thing either.

The worst part about all of it is that with the nice-looking special effects that the film did feature, it amped its budget up to nearly $70MM. And seeing as how the film hasn't made one cent internationally yet, it's going to be very hard to match those totals in the theaters. There's no easy way to say it, but this one is just an all-around flop. I can't imagine things will get any better for the film in the coming weeks.

In fourth place, with totals pretty much where I expected, was "Step Up Revolution". The film made $11.8MM this weekend, another small step down from what the film before it totaled. It's mustered up $5MM internationally, amounting to a total gross of $17MM that's just over half of its production budget of $33MM. The film shouldn't have many problems making its money back from here, with so little left to go. I can't imagine this will be anything more than a film that hangs around in theaters for a month or so and then is forgotten, but it might end up making more money than "The Watch" when all is said and done, so I guess there are worse places you could be.

The film raised its critical rating by nearly 10-points over the weekend, upping the total to 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it the clear second-best reviewed film of the franchise.

In fifth this weekend was the aforementioned "Ted". The film made $7.3MM this weekend, raising its lifetime domestic totals to just over $193MM. These are incredibly impressive numbers for an R-rated comedy, especially considering its $50MM budget. The film will cruise past $200MM with ease, probably before next weekend even. Unfortunately, Box Office Mojo doesn't break them down by genre, but for what it's worth, this is already the eleventh-highest grossing R-rated film of all-time (and if we were to just pull out the comedies, it would be at number four). It should be able to pull into the top seven when all is said and done.

As far as milestones go, I don't see anything noteworthy this weekend, so we'll just go right to the big finish, with the full numbers provided below, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: