Here's your weekend box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. The Bourne Legacy - $40.2 million
2. The Campaign - $27.4 million
3. The Dark Knight Rises - $19.5 million
4. Hope Springs - $15.6 million
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - $8.2 million
6. Total Recall - $8.1 million
7. Ice Age: Continental Drift - $6.7 million
8. Ted - $3.3 million
9. Step Up Revolution - $2.8 million
10. The Watch - $2.2 million
Strength in numbers. That might be the lesson from this weekend's box office numbers which should be very pleasing as a whole, even if it might seem slightly disappointing to individuals. Four wide releases this week muscled up a cumulative of about $84 million. After Total Recall failed to light the world on fire last week -- and burned out even further its second go-round -- it was a wonder whether some big August stars could come through and give people something worthy to see other than The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan's reign at the top came to an end after three weeks, but may find itself holding much more steadily than some of its latest competition.
Collectively this was a very good week at the box office. As we look at the chart over the past 10 years, only one weekend with three or more new wide releases managed to do better. Notice any comparisons?
August 3-5, 2007 - The Bourne Ultimatum, Underdog, Hot Rod, Bratz ($90.2 million)
August 10-12, 2012 - The Bourne Legacy, The Campaign, Hope Springs, Nitro Circus ($84.4 million)
August 7-9, 2009 - G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Julie & Julia, A Perfect Getaway ($80.6 million)
August 4-6, 2006 - Talladega Nights, Barnyard, The Descent, The Night Listener ($75.2 million)
August 13-15, 2004 - Alien vs. Predator, The Princess Diaries 2, Yu-Gi-Oh ($70.5 million)
Will Ferrell, Meryl Streep and Bourne. Surely someone in Hollywood is looking for the next trio of scripts to get made for them in 2014. To be released this month on the same weekend, of course. As unrealistic as that probably is, some marketer may just be kooky enough to try and make it happen. After all, if they looked at The Bourne Legacy's numbers they would see that the shift in directors and star led to being 23% off the numbers of the second film and 42% off of the third. With word of mouth emphasizing Legacy as more talk than action, any significant drop next weekend in the wake of The Expendables 2 and the film may have trouble reaching the 2002 original's take of $121 million. This means it would need close to another $200 million outside the U.S. for Universal to break even on its $125 million-budgeted venture. The Damon trilogy grossed respective foreign totals of $92, $112 and $215 million, respectively.
What of Will Ferrell now? With the exception of Land of the Lost, he has amassed quite a few hits in the summer as well as other seasons. A $27.4 million launch for The Campaign seemed just about right in such a crowded weekend with a subject matter that notoriously has never been a major hit at the box office. Where does it rank amongst Ferrell's live-action comedy openings?
Talladega Nights ($47 million), The Other Guys ($35.5), Blades of Glory ($33), Elf ($31.1), Step Brothers ($30.9), Anchorman ($28.4), The Campaign ($27.4), Kicking and Screaming ($20.15), Bewitched ($20.13), Land of the Lost ($18.8)
The top five on that list all grossed over $100 million. Anything below did not, including Anchorman which finished with only $85 million. There isn't a pure comedy of its like on the schedule for at least another two months, but the only film receiving a "B-" Cinemascore from audiences in 2012 multiplying over three times its opening weekend is the middling What to Expect When You're Expecting. The others (The Five-Year Engagement, The Grey, Lockout, One For the Money, That's My Boy, The Three Stooges, A Thousand Words, Wanderlust, The Woman in Black) have been averaging about a 2.55x jump. That would put The Campaign somewhere around a $70 million finish. If it is anything like Ferrell's other comparable summer openings (averaging a 3.18x increase) it could finish more in the realm of $87 million.
Then we come to Meryl Streep who has become quite the little box office champ with her summer films since The Devil Wears Prada grossed nearly $125 million back in 2006. Hope Springs had the distinction of a Wednesday opening this time, so Streep's five-day list looks as follows:
The Devil Wears Prada ($40.1 million), Mamma Mia ($36.2), It's Complicated ($30.6), Julia & Julia ($25.8), Hope Springs ($20.1)
It's a small sample size to generate speculation on how far it can climb. August has also become quite the breeding ground for female-centric fare, not even counting the horror genre. Since 2000, that list includes:
The Help ($26 million), Eat Pray Love ($23.1), The Princess Diaries 2 ($22.9), The Princess Diaries ($22.8), Freaky Friday ($22.2), Step Up ($20.6), Julia & Julia ($20.0), The Time Traveler's Wife ($18.6), Bring It On ($17.36), Coyote Ugly ($17.31)
Something for adults, teenagers and kids is all in there. If Hope Springs' $15.6 million weekend translates with the adult Streep crowd as it has been, the film could be looking at around $75-81 million. Though it may face a surprising challenge from Sparkle next weekend if people flock to see a deceased superstar's final performance a la Michael Jackson's This Is It.
In other box office news, WB's The Dark Knight Rises is now 15th on the all-time domestic chart with $390 million and is moving towards the billion-dollar mark worldwide. Approximately $51 million off the pace of its predecessor but on track to still hit around $465-480 million domestically which will put it 5th or 6th all-time. Sony's Total Recall dropped 68% in its second weekend, nearly assuring its status as one of the bigger bombs of the summer season, possibly even bigger than Battleship if it doesn't post some decent numbers overseas. Fox's Ice Age: Continental Drift is officially the third biggest worldwide hit of the year, just one of six summer releases to gross over half-a-billion dollars.
[All figures via Box Office Mojo]