Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Man of Steel - $113.0 million
2. This Is the End - $20.5 million
3. Now You See Me - $10.3 million
4. Furious Six - $9.4 million
5. The Purge - $8.2 million
6. The Internship - $7.0 million
7. Epic - $6.0 million
8. Star Trek Into Darkness - $5.6 million
9. After Earth - $3.7 million
8. The Hangover Part III - $7.3 million
10. Iron Man 3 - $2.9 million
The Big Stories
Let's establish the ground rules up front. There will be no cutesy puns reflecting the success of Warner Bros.' Man of Steel. Nothing involving flying, soaring or punching its way to the top of the box office. As leaping buildings in a single bound, Superman was pretty much dealing with a single floor in his ability to take the number-one slot. While guesstimates were all over the place this week, Zack Snyder's film succeeded in taking the June record for an opening weekend and now sets its sight on a number that only one film in 2013 has achieved so far.
"The Blockbuster Movie of the Summer?"
That is what Terry Moran of Nightline called Man of Steel. Yeah, sorry Terry. That title goes to Iron Man 3 and its $1.2 billion. Good luck in reaching that. At this point though becoming the second highest domestic grosser of the summer is its own victory. Among its other feats this weekend and this year:
- It is the second highest opening weekend.
- It is the 10th film to reach $100 million
- It is also the 10th film of the year to receive an “A-“ or better through Cinemascore.
By some chance this year, the four films with the minus added to its grade are the four that have received “rotten” scores from the critics. One thing the bulk of those “A” scores have in common is a healthy multiplier at the box office. Think of it like batting averages in baseball. Anything leading with a three is impressive. Though a 2.70 is also very respectable, anything leading with a three is impressive – and only 10 wide releases this year have achieved that. Three of them are in the "A" range (bold italics are your "A-" titles):
The Croods (4.17), 42 (3.38), Olympus Has Fallen (3.23), Epic (2.83), Star Trek Into Darkness (2.80), Now You See Me (2.76), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2.75), Iron Man 3 (2.29), Fast & Furious 6 (2.25)
Epic and Now You See Me are going to join the ranks of the 3x multipliers very soon. Paramount's Star Trek and G.I. Joe films got their start on a Thursday, too. Man of Steel racked up $12 million with Thursday late shows so while many are reporting a $113 million opening weekend (still good enough to break Toy Story 3's $110 record), the actual number is $125. Notice that Iron Man 3 and Furious Six's numbers are much lower than the others. That tends to happen when a bulk of your moola is made opening weekend. Man of Steel joins them amongst the top three openers of 2013. If it follows the same path it is probably looking at around $287 million total; coming up just shy to become the second $300 million grosser of the year. Warner Bros. would be much happier if it could break that number. The studio's 2006 Superman film only grossed $191 million outside of the U.S. If it gets the same percentage bump that Man of Steel is seeing domestically, that would be about $274 million for a total of $561 million. And using the age-old estimate against its $225 million budget, Warner Bros. is looking at a break-even situation until it hits DVD.
This Is Not the End
Taking the easy crown for funniest film of the year, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's apocalyptic comedy got off to a nice solid start. At the very least it should be very gratifying that the two destroyed-Earth films that Sony has released back-to-back, Seth Rogen is going to outgross Will Smith (whose After Earth is only at $54 million; his third worst total this century ahead of just The Legend of Bagger Vance and soon-to-be Ali.) When either one of the two leads of a film (or sharing duties as a cowriter), here are Rogen's best five-day totals
Superbad ($43.2), The Green Hornet ($42.2), Pineapple Express ($41.3), Knocked Up ($39.2), This Is the End ($32.8), Funny People ($28.4), The Watch ($16.2), Observe and Report ($13.1), Zack and Miri Make a Porno ($12.3), 50/50 ($10.3), The Guilt Trip ($7.3)
If it follows Pineapple Express' lead, the film will end up around $69 million. It has another week to itself before The Heat paves a road to be the biggest grossing comedy of the year. It would be nice to see it take a run at this year's awful leading laugh-challenged comedies, Identity Thief ($134.5 million) and The Hangover Part III ($108+ million), but it will likely have to settle for third for now. For shame, America.
Major Drops, Successes and Failures
The Purge was one of only four movies this year to receive less than a "C+" from Cinemascore. So, as expected with poor word of mouth, it dropped like a stone. Over 75% from $34 million to just over $8. As if Universal cares since the film was in profit on its first day of release. Plus, Furious Six is over $630 million worldwide, the second highest grossing film of 2013 and days away from passing Fox's The Croods as the second most profitable.
The Internship, on the other hand, looks like a major dud for Fox dropping 60% in its second weekend and may only limp past $40 million which is about $6 million more than Wedding Crashers did in its first weekend. The studio's Epic still needs about another $50 million to make back its marketing, though it's all but done in the U.S. once Monsters University opens this week.
Summit's Now You See Me may be the second biggest surprise of the summer (after The Great Gatsby's $140 million) but with a $75 million budget, just crossing the $100 million mark in the States is not a victory. Paramount is also still a long way out on making back its investment in Star Trek Into Darkness. It has outgrossed its predecessor, but the increased budget still has it about $60 million away from even with the very expensive World War Z looming this weekend. Most disappointing of all, Before Midnight grossed only $1.5 million as it expanded to 893 screens. Any hopes of it finding it at a theater closer to you now is probably slim to none now. Find a theater anyway and it's worth the drive. So get there faster than a speeding bullet. I said no puns involving Man of Steel. Flash yourself back Zack Snyder style if you need to.
Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]