Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. The Purge - $36.3 million
2. Furious Six - $19.7 million
3. Now You See Me - $19.5 million
4. The Internship - $18.1 million
5. Epic - $12.1 million
6. Star Trek Into Darkness - $11.7 million
7. After Earth - $11.2 million
8. The Hangover Part III - $7.3 million
9. Iron Man 3 - $5.7 million
10. The Great Gatsby - $4.2 million
The Big Stories
During the Purge, all crime is legal in America. Most people seem to choose murder as part of their annual purge. Others choose to take a single, flimsy idea and use it as a springboard to stealing over 36 million dollars from Americans. That's a Lufthansa-like score even writer-director James DeMonaco probably couldn't have even imagined. Just like most people who saw The Purge forgot how it basically devolves into a poor man's version of Rio Bravo or Assault on Precinct 13 (or its remake which DeMonaco wrote and also starred Ethan Hawke.) Regardless, for the second week in a row a film outdid the competition showing that even the thinnest of high-concept originality can take your money just as well as the more recognizable swindlers.
Good Year for Ethan Hawke (and Universal)
The fourth best Friday of 2013 (amongst top-10 finishers) was June 7, led by the $16.7 million of The Purge accounting for nearly a third of that day's sales. That was more than anyone a few weeks ago was figuring it would do the entire weekend. That is almost as much as 2005's Precinct 13 did in its entire run ($20.04 million). It was more than Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy has made in theaters to date. Feel free to take a crying break. Good for Ethan Hawke, though, who definitely has made a career out of interesting indie projects peppered by the occasional commercial one. The Purge is going to end up being at least the third best grosser on his resume with only Training Day's $76.6 million and Dead Poets Society's $95.8 million to reach. Certainly the biggest film anchored with his name. If this draws a little extra attention to Before Midnight, then so be it.
With an estimated cost of $3 million (including its fancy "equipment" - a truck and a chain) The Purge is already one of the most successful films of the year. Star Trek Into Darkness and Oz the Great and Powerful may have crossed over $200 million in the U.S. but those budgets make it a long climb into the black. On THAT list, The Purge is already 13th. By the end of its run it should be at least seventh, which would give Universal Pictures four films in the top-10 breakdown of budget to grosses worldwide in 2013.
Iron Man 3 ($1.196 billion/$200 million budget), The Croods ($551.5/$135), Fast & Furious 6 ($583.7/$160), Mama ($146.4/$15), Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ($224.8/$50), Identity Thief ($173.9/$35), A Good Day to Die Hard ($303.7/$92), Evil Dead ($92.8/$17), Warm Bodies ($116.9/$30), A Haunted House ($40/$2.5), G.I. Joe: Retaliation ($357.8/$130), Jurassic Park 3D ($56.9/$10), The Purge ($36.3/$3)
Those are the true successes of the year to date. Not Oz or Star Trek or even the surprise of The Great Gatsby. Meanwhile, Google's stock prices ended at $879.73 a share on Friday. Let's see where it is after The Internship drives people to Yahoo out of spite.
No Pay, No Play
To say it has not been a good year for comedies is a wild understatement. The best-reviewed of the lot has been The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (38%) and none of you went to see that. Seriously though, what were your choices?
21 & Over (27%), The Hangover Part III (21%), Identity Thief (20%), A Haunted House (10%), The Big Wedding (8%), Movie 43 (4%), Scary Movie 5 (4%)
Despite both Hangover and Identity Thief taking in over $100 million, that is still a pretty miserable list. Actually coming in second behind Wonderstone on the critical approval list was this weekend's The Internship with 33%. That's a far cry from Wedding Crashers' 75%, the second best-reviewed Vaughn since his breakthrough in Swingers. But that was way back in 2005 when that film went on to gross over $200 million in the U.S. Since then it has been mostly downhill with the critical support. Four Christmases (25%), The Dilemma (24%), Fred Claus (21%), The Watch (16%) and Couples Retreat (11%) all finished lower at Rotten Tomatoes then The Internship.
The new collaboration with Owen Wilson looks like a big disappointment compared to the success of Wedding Crashers, but its $18 million start is still better than Vaughn's last two enterprises, The Watch ($12.7 million) and The Dilemma ($17.8), neither of which reached $50 million. It is going to face instant competition, though, in just a few days with This Is the End and a few weeks after that with potential megahit The Heat (also from Fox). Unless some decent word of mouth can give the film a decent hold through June, The Internship could be the studio's biggest loser of 2013 to date (surpassing Broken City). Even with Cinemascore's B+ rating (with an average multiplier this year of 2.94) that would put the film's final tally anywhere between $43-63 million.
12 Hours and Seven Days Later...
The Purge scored the fourth worst Cinemascore of the year -- a "C." ahead of only the C- of Scary Movie 5 and The Last Exorcism Part II and the "D" of Movie 43 -- so expect a huge drop next week. At the other end of the spectrum is Before Midnight, which may not have a Cinemascore but does have a 98% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. (Only Mud is higher with 99%.) Mud has been in limited wide release for weeks now and has run its total to nearly $20 million. Before Midnight passed its first million this weekend and on June 14 Sony Classics will run its theater total to over 600 and we should see its first appearance in the top 10. May it continue to climb with the best of them, otherwise all of us must suffer The Purge.
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]