Sunday, February 24, 2013

Box Office Report: Bad Movies Top Box Office on Oscar Weekend

Not that it's anything too unexpected, but the abysmal crop of titles at the top really stands out to me this weekend because we're now just hours away from celebrating the very best films that 2012 had to offer. The Oscars will be held tonight, and films like "Argo", "Lincoln", "Life of Pi", "Silver Linings Playbook" and more will all vie for some of the most coveted awards in the film industry. But today, looking at the box office numbers - while each of those four films did make the top 15 this week - far less significant films vied for top honors. The two new releases this week were "Snitch" and "Dark Skies". "Snitch" actually holds a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now, which is far better than I would have expected. But, outside of that score - which, let's be honest, still isn't anything to write home about - the film with the best review score in the top five? "Escape from Planet Earth" at 27%... There are bad films out right now, and that's part of the reason why the overall box office numbers were again significantly down this weekend.

The good news? Not only can watch the Oscars tonight and remember what quality films look like, but the month of February (at least in terms of new releases) is now officially over. That's one more bad month behind us and only a couple more now until summer gets here.

I am so uninspired writing about this weekend's numbers because, not only are the numbers bad, but the films give me little excitement. I've said this in the past (and sometimes it doesn't really end up being the case), but I'm really just going to try to fly through this week's post. The less time we have to spend looking at and analyzing bad films, the better!

So let's start with "Identity Thief" which, in its third week, took the top spot. It made $14MM and now has managed $93.6MM in total. All I can say about this film is that I like its two stars, so I guess that, even in bad films, I'm glad they can still command an audience - I just hope it doesn't mean they'll stick with movie choices like this. The film has reviewed to a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, with most people noting that this felt phoned-in from all involved parties. I didn't see the film, and I honestly don't think I ever will.

"Snitch", the lone new release in the top five this weekend, debuted with $13MM. I show no budget listed for the film, so I'm not sure how it stacks up to that, but this seems like a decent start for the film. The film compares with previous Dwayne Johnson starring vehicles, making a little less than "The Tooth Fairy" ($14MM), but more than "Faster" ($8MM). Regardless, not the best company to be in. But, you know what you're getting with Johnson (I don't have anything against the guy or his acting, by the way).

In third place this weekend was "Escape From Planet Earth", which made $11MM in its second weekend, bringing its total up to just over $35MM. The film has a $40MM budget, so it will at least have obtained that by the beginning of next weekend. It's not the most glorious of achievements but the film should at least be able to grind out a modest earning over the next month or so. It's really the only film in theaters for small children right now, so that's definitely giving it some help, even if not very much.

Fourth place saw Nicholas Sparks' "Save Haven", with $10.6MM this weekend. That now makes for a domestic total of $48MM, $20MM more than its $28MM budget. Even with its dismal 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's still managed to pull in audiences - as is the case with most Nicholas Sparks films. It has only $12MM to go to catch last year's installment, "The Lucky One", at $60MM, though I don't think it will have enough to catch Sparks' highest-grossing film, "The Notebook", with $81MM.

Rounding out the top five (and our trio of last week's new releases) is "A Good Day to Die Hard". The film made $10MM this weekend, and is now up to $51MM domestically. The film has had bad reviews as well, though that hasn't stopped it from making money. The film has also picked up $79MM internationally, resulting in a worldwide total of just over $130MM. The film still has a long way to go to catch any of the other Die Hard movies - either domestically or internationally - but at least it's made back its bloated $92MM budget. I don't think it'll ever hit that mark with its domestic totals, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ultimately mirrors the previous two Die Hard films on the international level and reaches $200MM+ in that department.

Outside of the top five, "Dark Skies", the other new release this weekend, finished in sixth place with $8.8MM. With only a $3.5MM budget, this one is doing just fine, but with some of the previous successes of recent supernatural thrillers, I'm sure the studio was hoping for a bit more from this entry.

Nothing really seemed to hit any big milestones this weekend. More Oscar nominees riddle the top 15, and after a few awards are announced tonight, a few of these titles might even see increases next weekend, with audiences wanting to see the big Oscar winners in theaters while they can.

That's all I see this weekend though. Go watch the Oscars tonight! And if you haven't yet, be sure to listen to our special edition CinemaCast, where we detail each of our picks for all of the awards tonight!

Here's the full box office chart, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: