Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Prisoners - $21.4 million
2. Insidious: Chapter 2 - $14.5 million
3. The Family - $7.0 million
4. Instructions Not Included - $5.7 million
5. Battle of the Year - $5.0 million
6. We're the Millers - $4.6 million
7. Lee Daniels' The Butler - $4.3 million
8. Riddick - $3.6 million
9. The Wizard of Oz 3D - $3.0 million
10. Planes - $2.8 million
The Big Stories
How would you put it? Did this week's number-one film "break out" or were audiences "held hostage" by the crime procedural? Probably neither since most people do not deal in puns as a natural mode of conversation. Prisoners was the only game in town this week unless you had a grating itch to experience B-boying... but enough about the priesthood aspect of Denis Villanueve's thriller, which is not a spoiler. At least not to the cops on the case. Let's get to the case of this week's box office, though.
Hugh Jackman: No Longer Handcuffed to Wolverine?
Hugh Jackman is a movie star, no doubt about it. He's an Oscar nominee and a multitalented performer. But his name alone has not exactly drawn people to movie theaters. Sure, as Wolverine he has helped open the X-Men series from $53 million to as much as $102 million. His top five openers have all been X-Men films. His sixth highest opener was a 2004 summer tentpole kickoff, Van Helsing, and number seven was as the voice of a penguin in Happy Feet. Where does that leave the rest of his wide live-action openings?
Real Steel ($27.3 million), Les Miserables ($27.2), Prisoners ($21.4), Swordfish ($18.1), The Prestige ($14.801), Australia ($14.800), Someone Like You ($10.0), Kate and Leopold ($9.7), The Fountain ($3.7), Deception ($2.3)
Prisoners is certainly being sold as an ensemble piece wrapped around a parents-worst-fear crime procedural, but Jackman has been out there selling it himself (along with costar Jake Gyllenhaal.) We'll see how it hangs on in the ensuing weeks. Warner Bros. certainly isn't giving its own film a lot of breathing room with must-see Gravity hitting theaters in just two weeks. Three weeks in the top five for Prisoners should help it reach at least $55 million, which will be about halfway to turning a profit for the $46 million venture. Hopefully, Warner Bros. can bank on some international appeal to help fill in the blanks.
Les Miserables ($293.0), Real Steel ($210.0), Australia ($161.7), Swordfish ($77.3), The Prestige ($56.5), Kate and Leopold ($28.8), Scoop ($28.6), Deception ($13.1), Someone Like You ($11.3), The Fountain ($5.8)
Otherwise, Prisoners' prospects for the black could fall like a house of cards. Just like its third act.
Is the Dance Movie Dead? Again?
If we're referring to the ludicrously entertaining Step Up series, I hope the answer is no. For films that costar Chris Brown as characters named Rooster, hopefully the answer is yes. Director Benson Lee certainly wants to ensure audiences that breakdancing (or B-boying) is still a thing. So much so that during his attempt at a fictional dance film, Battle of the Year, he includes one of its characters watching a documentary on the subject; a doc called Planet B-Boy - directed by one Benson Lee. Since we got served in January of 2004, the dance film has opened fairly well, especially when catering to the youth market. Until now.
Dance Movie Openings
Stomp the Yard ($21.8 million), Step Up ($20.6), Step Up 2 the Streets ($18.9), You Got Served ($16.1), Step Up 3D ($15.8), Footloose ($15.5), Take the Lead ($12.0), Shall We Dance ($11.7), Step Up Revolution ($11.7), Fame ($10.0), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights ($5.8), Battle of the Year ($4.1), How She Move ($3.9)
Do you remember How She Move? No? Don't worry, I had to look it up too. Sorry Coyote Ugly fans, that is not a dance film. Though future dance film auteurs can take a page from Bruckheimer's tribute to female empowerment. Less dudes, more Briana Evigan, Sharni Vinson and Kathryn McCormack.
Tales of the Top Ten
Insidious: Chapter 2 took its expected horror nosedive this week. Without a Friday the 13th to kick off the weekend or the kind of word of mouth that followed The Conjuring (which only dropped 46.9% in its second week), James Wan's "final horror film" did reach another top 10 of the year.
Worst Second-Week Drops in 2013
Texas Chainsaw 3D (-75.7%), The Purge (-75.6%), One Direction: This Is Us (-74.4%), The Last Stand (-65.8%), Movie 43 (-65.8%), Man of Steel (-64.6%), Insidious: Chapter 2 (-64.0%), Fast & Furious 6 (-63.9%), Jack the Giant Slayer (-63.8%), Evil Dead (-63.2%)
At over $60 million, though, it is going to take an even bigger drop to prevent it from passing Mama's $71 million, which will give Wan the top two grossing horror films of 2013, not to mention the 20th most profitable and climbing. Even higher is Warner Bros.' We're the Millers, which will be crossing $140 million and is, by far, the greatest word-of-mouth sensation of the year with more than five times its opening-weekend gross. Lee Daniels' The Butler is officially over $100 million and, sadly, the history of numbers suggest we can reserve it a Best Picture nomination. Eugenio Derbez's Instructions Not Included is less than $3 million away from surpassing Vin Diesel's mortgaged trilogy filler Riddick, which is only $7.3 million ahead of Pitch Black's pace and $14.1 million behind The Chronicles of Riddick's.
Finally, in limited rerelease, The Wizard of Oz in 3D grabbed $2.8 million from audiences seeing it the way it was never intended to be. On only five screens, Ron Howard's racing drama Rush grossed under $200,000 only to be defeated by Nicole Holofcener's wonderful Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini. On just four screens it managed over $240,000. Fox Searchlight should forget about Baggage Claim and make the move to expand Holofcener sooner than later. 'Nuff said.
- 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]
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