August 24-26 Weekend Actuals

1. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,355 Runs] R
Friday $3.8M, Saturday $5.6M, Sunday $4M, Weekend $13.4M (-53%), Cume $52.2M

2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 3 [3,654 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $4.1M, Sunday $2.5M, Weekend $9.3M (-45%), Cume $85.5M

3. ParaNorman (Focus Features) Week 2 [3,455 Runs] PG
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $3.7M, Sunday $2.6M, Weekend $8.6M (-39%), Cume $28.3M

4. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,302 Runs] R
Friday $2.2, Saturday $3.3M,Sunday $2M, Weekend $7.5M (-43%), Cume $64.6M

5. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 6 [2,606 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.1M, Sunday $2.1M, Weekend $7.2M (-34%), Cume $422.3M

6. Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 2 [2,598 Runs] PG
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.1M, Sunday $2M, Weekend $7.1M (-34%), Cume $27.1M

7. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain) Week 7 [1,091 Runs] PG
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $2.3M, Sunday $1.9M, Weekend $6.5M (+423%), Cume $9.3M

8. Premium Rush (Sony) NEW [2,255 Runs] PG13
Friday $2M, Saturday $2.4M, Sunday $1.6M, Weekend $6.0M

9. Hope Springs (Sony) Week 3 [2,402 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.5M, Sunday $1.5M, Weekend $5.7M (-37%), Cume $44.8M

10. Hit And Run (Open Road) NEW [2,870 Runs] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Sunday $1.2M, Weekend $4.5M, Cume $5.7M

11. Sparkle (TriStar) Week 2 [2,244 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.8M, Sunday $1M, Weekend $4M (-66%), Cume $18.7M

12. The Apparition (Dark Castle/WB) NEW [810 Runs]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.1M, Sunday $593K, Weekend $2.8M

 

SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATEFriday’s very weak box office stayed soft Saturday to end the weekend with total moviegoing only around $90M on a par with last year. As predicted, Millenium’s and Lionsgate’s holdover The Expendables 2 finished in first place, followed by Universal’s two-week-old The Bourne Legacy in second place. But no new movie opening this week or weekend could even break $6.5M. “It’s exhausting working with numbers this bad,” one studio exec griped to me.

Among this weekend’s crop of newly released films, Sony Pictures’ Premium Rush opened poorly with very soft grosses of $6.3M. Producer Gavin Polone just saw his Pariah Television freshman ABC Family series Jane By Design canceled and now this Pariah production tanks as well. (Guess it sucks to be Polone these days. Maybe he should make his day job writing that lame blog.) The studio tried to interest young males with sports programming (NFL pre-season, UFC, MLB and wrestling) and a promotion running in over 4,000 GameStop stores. But what’s to be expected from a tired premise about a bicycle messenger being chased through Manhattan. And what a waste of talented actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt or director/screenwriter David Koepp. With a $30sM budget, the pic even underperformed Sony’s very low expectations. Only hope is if it does business overseas.

Hit And Run opened Wednesday and lost what little steam it had going into this weekend ending up #10. Open Road picked up the U.S distribution rights and changed the name of the film from Outrun. My sources said the low-budget comedic chase movie would have been a solid win for Open  Road with $10M for the 5-day opening.  But it made only $5.8M. The film stars Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard who also wrote and co-directed with David Palmer. (They teamed up on Brother’s Justice in 2010). Shepard and Bell tried their best to drum up biz with appearances at word-of-mouth screenings all summer and on Kimmel, MTV, CMT, Spike. The film’s featured 1967 Lincoln also offered marketing opportunities on car enthusiast TV shows and websites. No go. Well, you know a movie is in trouble when Bradley Cooper appears in it looking unrecognizable in dreds.

Joel Silver had a parting gift for Warner Bros: his new Dark Castle Entertainment release The Apparition was widely panned even though it wasn’t even screened for critics. Not even Silver’s stunt casting of Twilight Saga‘s Ashley Greene in this supernatural story described as unscary and inept could give it a ghost of a chance at the box office. Pic was directed by first-time director Todd Lincoln who also wrote it and didn’t even make the Top 10, finishing #12. It’s unclear what will happen to Silver’s mxed bag Dark Castle now that he and Warner Bros have divorced after irreconcilable differences. Joel has now gone indie and made a 5-year distribution deal with Universal Pictures for his new division Silver Pictures Entertainment.

Related: EXCLUSIVE: Silver Making Distribution Deal With Universal
Related: EXCLUSIVE: Silver, Warner Bros Severing 25-Year Relationship

The shocker among all the films was Rocky Mountain Pictures’ political documentary 2016 Obama’s America which opened July 13th in very limited release and expanded into theaters across America this weekend. It wound up in 4th place Friday and 8th place for the weekend. That’s  stunning because it was playing in 2/3 fewer theaters across North American than the other wider release films. (See below for more details). Due to its hot pre-sales, the pic proved frontloaded which explains why its ranking started out #1 and then fell steeply by end of Sunday. But the doc’s new cume of $9.0M makes it the #1 all-time biggest-grossing conservative political documentary, besting Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’s $7.7M. And the 6th all-time biggest political documentary behind liberal docs by Michael Moore and Al Gore. (Neither ranking is adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices.) 2016 Obama’s America is based on conservative author and commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s New York Times bestselling 2010 book The Roots Of Obama’s Rage and co-directed by D’Souza and John Sullivan and produced by Academy Award winner Gerald R. Molen (co-producer of Schindler’s List). In fact, Molen credits “learning some lessons” from Michael Moore for the film: “When he released Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 ahead of the election, it sparked intense debate.” And 2016 Obama’s America‘s success comes from equally savvy marketing on the eve of the Republican National Convention next week.

Exhibitors were reporting busloads arriving at theaters around the country in pre-organized trips to the pic. It also employed much of the same marketing techniques used to garner attention and support for faith-based films, understandable since the audience is overlapping. Its campaign included advertising nationally over the past two weeks on talk radio and cable news channels including Fox News Channel, A&E, History and MSNBC. ”I didn’t believe it when I first saw the film taking off in pre-sales on Tuesday,” an exhibition insider tells me. “Because there’s not a lot of new product that’s taking off.”

The Top Ten based on weekend estimates are:

1. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,355 Runs] R
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $5.4M, Weekend $13.5M (-53%), Cume $52.3M

2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 3 [3,652 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $4.1M, Weekend $9.2M, Cume $85.4M

3. ParaNorman (Focus Features) Week 2 [3,455 Runs] PG
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $3.7M, Weekend $8.5M (-39%), Cume $28.2M

4. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,302 Runs] R
Friday $2.2, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $7.4M, Cume $64.5M

5. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 6 [2,606 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $7.1M, Cume $422.1M

6. Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 2 [2,598 Runs] PG
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $7.1M (-34%), Cume $27.0M

7. Premium Rush (Sony) NEW [2,255 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $6.3M

8. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain) NEW [1,091 Runs] PG
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $2.4M, Weekend $6.2M, Cume $9.0M

9. Hope Springs (Sony) Week 3 [2,402 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.5M, Weekend $6.0M, Cume $45.0M

10. Hit And Run (Open Road) NEW [2,870 Runs] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.6M, Cume $5.8M

12. The Apparition (Dark Castle/WB) NEW [810 Runs]
Friday $1.1K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.9M

FRIDAY 2 PM: The anti-Obama movie 2016 Obama’s America went into wider release around America today and is opening right now in first place at the domestic box office. That’s quite a feat since the Rocky Mountain Pictures political documentary is still playing in only 1,090 North American theaters – or about 1/3 as many theaters as actioner The Expendables 2 (3,355 theaters). But these political documentaries like faith-based films are frontloaded. The Stallone pic from Millenium/Lionsgate still will end Friday and the weekend #1.

Both online ticket-sellers Fandango and MovieTickets.com showed advance buying for 2016 Obama’s America were accounting for 35% to 28% respectively before this weekend. It opened on July 13th in a preview on a single screen in Texas grossing almost $32,000 during its opening weekend, then expanded into 61 theaters including New York and Los Angeles. In August, the film widened to 169 theaters nationwide and expanded again this weekend. Distribution experts expect 2016 Obama’s America to fare similarly to that Kirk Cameron faith-based movie Fireproof. It was #1 in Fandango’s advance sales and did remarkably well during its opening Friday – but then ended up somewhere around #4 at the box office for the weekend.

Last weekend, 2016: Obama’s America grossed a strong $1.2M in 169 venues for a cumulative gross as of Thursday of $2.8M. It’s the #2 biggest indie documenatry of the year behind only The Weinstein Company’s Bully ($3.2 million) and already the #12 political documentary of all time.  It will rise a lot higher in the rankings after this weekend.

2016 Obama’s America detractors decry it as a slick infomercial heavy with conspiracy theories. But D’Souza says he made the film to motivate moviegoers to question what an Obama second term would look like.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.