Big Crowded Weekend: ‘Taken 2′ Still #1; Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ Opens #2; ‘Sinister’ #3; ‘Boom’ #5; ‘Seven Psychopaths’ #9; And ‘Atlas Shrugged Part 2 #10

SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: What a crowded domestic box office with five films opening in wide release. And it’s not even a holiday weekend. I just don’t get the distribution crush, especially with so much sports on TV (college and NFL football, baseball playoffs). Nevertheless, it was another major-league grossing weekend: $120M which is up a whopping +45% from last year. Twentieth Century Fox’s popcorn action holdover Taken 2 (3,706 theaters) starring Liam Neeson finished #1 for the second straight weekend with $22M, or a good -54% hold from a week ago. Cume is now $86.M

Following in #2 this weekend is yet another critically acclaimed and Oscar buzzed Ben Affleck R-rated film for Warner Bros. Argo (3,232 theaters) opened Friday #3 because exhibition told me it was playing “very old”. But pic logged a rare ‘A+’ CinemaScore from audiences which resulted in great word of mouth and a bump of +50% Friday to Saturday. Now it ends the weekend #2 and $20.1M. That’s less than director Affleck’s previous The Town opener ($23.8M) for this true story of the ‘Canadian Caper’ covert operation to rescue 6 Americans during the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis. But it should have legs since The Town kept widening its audience week after week. Made on just a  $44M budget, which included a $6.4M California film tax credit, Argo was financed by Warner Bros and Graham King’s GK Films (which also backed The Town). To save money, most of the pic was filmed right in Los Angeles and with a large pool of local Iranian-American extras supplementing star Affleck and supporting actors Alan Arkin and John Goodman. Screenplay by writer Chris Terrio was adapted from a Wired magazine article and a memoir chapter from CIA spy Tony Mendez. Script was commissioned by Smokehouse Pictures producers Grant  Heslov and George Clooney who then selected helmer Affleck, a Middle Eastern studies major at Occidental College before dropping out to act. (Clooney first intended to play the pic’s lead himself before passing the role to Affleck. By the way, I could have done without so many extended but distracting close-ups of bearded Ben.) Warner Bros’ marketing campaign “sought to highlight the well-crafted tension, balanced by a unique comedic sensibility, which results in a completely original, wildly entertaining movie,” an exec tells me. Studio drove early interest and critical accolades at the Telluride Film Festival in August, and then built upon that at Toronto. A multipronged TV, social media, and online campaign was targeted to both males and females before release. Affleck was everywhere and on everyone and did everything. Red Carpet premiere in LA included tastemakers from DC and NY.

Friday’s order of finish was up-ended when Summit Entertainment’s Sinister came on very strong during late shows for #1. The horror pic (2,527 theaters) went into this weekend as the top-selling film online at Fandango and Movie Tickets with 25%-30% of all tickets. Then it started out better than expected with $1 million from Thursday’s late shows and Friday midnights in 1,494 locations. Unfortunately, audiences gave it only a ‘C+’ CinemaScore so it fell to #3. But it’s $18.8M by end of Sunday is incredible in view of its $3M cost and R-rating. Lionsgate’s Summit is distributing in the U.S. and Alliance in Canada. The film’s producers Jason Blum (of the Paranormal Activity franchise) and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Insidious) along with the director/writer Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) were the creative team behind the micro-budget film. Ethan Hawke comes out of the Witness Protection Program to play a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious and disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a supernatural nightmare. Summit kicked off its theatrical marketing campaign for Sinister at SXSW and then focused on moviegoers aged 17-34 reaching out to African American and Hispanic moviegoers. The studio used Tugg, the collective action platform, to allow fans across the country to organize their own word-of-mouth screenings in their hometowns. The trailer launched at midnight on June 13th simultaneously across the 6 top horror sites, which had never been done before. A red band trailer debuted 3 months later.

Sony Animation’s blockbuster toon Hotel Transylvania (3,375 theaters) will scare up another strong weekend by holding -32% from a week ago. It could move up to #3 or #2 for the weekend with $19M.

That pushes down Sony’s Kevin James new comedy Here Comes The Boom (3,014 theaters) to 5th place with what even the studio said was a “hard fought” $12M. That’s a lousy per screen average for the likeable James and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison banner in this live action comedy. (I should note they’re voice talent in the big hit Hotel Transylvania.) But audiences gave the family fare a surprisingly good ‘A’ CinemaScore which should help word of mouth. Studio knew from tracking that this movie was in trouble from the get-go – but it was made for only low $40sM. James even did stunts like teaching TV viewers how to be an MMA fighter and serving as Grand Marshal at Talladega. Big marketing push to sports outlets with integrations in UFC (natch), NFL and college football (“Bringing the Boom”), NASCAR, MLB playoffs, and wrestling.

Playing is half as many locations, CBS Films’ well reviewed R-rated Seven Psychopaths (1,408 theaters) ended #9 but with -40% less box office take than the studio was hoping. Not clear if film can find a bigger audience beyond its urban and college town plays. The movie was co-financed by CBS Films and Film4 and BFI at a cost of just teens. It’s got a 90+ score on Rotten Tomatoes and won the People’s Choice Award in Toronto. Not surprising with a cast consisting of Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Waits, and Colin Farrell who also starred in pic’s writer/director Martin McDonaugh’s first feature film In Bruges. Studio’s current plan is to expand on the other side of Paranormal Activity 4 on October 26 so word of mouth has time to grow. Paid media spend was limited given the scope of the release and targeted to men 18–49. Heavy TV sports and scripted series as well as print. Film premiered as part of Toronto’s Midnight Madness and extended to Hampton’s and Mill Valley film fests. Online content initiatives included Seven PsychoCATS. Best was that viral video from the LA junket where Walken, Rockwell, and Farrell did Honey Boo Boo.

Public shrugged at Atlas Shrugged Part 2 (1,012 theaters). Serious drama to Ayn Rand accolytes, hilarious comedy to the rest of us, its gross fell from Friday to Saturday – never a good sign – for #10 for the weekend.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:

1. Taken 2 (Fox) Week 2 [3,706 Runs] PG13
Friday $7.0M, Saturday $9.8M, Weekend $22.7M (-54%), Cume $86.3M

2. Argo (Warner Bros) NEW [3,232 Runs] R
Friday $5.9M, Saturday $8.9M, Weekend $20.1M

3. Sinister (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [2,527 Runs] R
Friday $7.4M, Saturday $7.0M, Weekend $18.8M
Read More »

Comments 94

‘Taken 2′ Kidnaps Weekend For #1 & $50M As Moviegoers Return To Late Night Shows; Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ Flops $11.1M

By | Sunday October 7, 2012 @ 4:05am PDT

SUNDAY AM,  3RD UPDATE: This was a slammin’ weekend at the domestic box office turning around 6 weeks of sluggish grosses – with total moviegoing up +41% from last year. Here’s one reason why: I’ve learned that 20th Century Fox’s Taken 2 (3,660 theaters) is the first film that has performed normally for weekend late night shows since July’s Aurora shooting tragedy in a movie theater. “Great news for our film and great news for our industry as hopefully we can get back to some normalcy at the box office,” one Fox exec emails me. Action sequel starring Liam Neeson hit $50M despite Fox attempts to lowball expectations at around mid-$30sM. It’s now the 2nd biggest October opening weekend record (behind Paranormal Activity 3‘s $52.6M) but also the highest PG13 opener in October ever. ”Bryan Mills continues to have a ‘particular set of skills’ – namely kicking ass at the box office!” the exec gushed. On the other hand, Tim Burton’s flat 5th place Frankenweenie (3,005 theaters) got off to a “slower start than we would have hoped,” one Disney exec admitted to me, and never took flight. Audiences gave both newcomers a ‘B+’ CinemaScore which could help word of mouth. Meanwhile, Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania (3,352 theaters) mantained an amazing -36% hold from last Friday for #2. Universal’s small female college comedy Pitch Perfect (2,770 theaters) went wider and wound up with a new cume of $21.5M against its cost of only $17M. Meanwhile, with Columbus Day on Monday, total Sunday moviegoing should be bigger than normal.

Box OfficeThe original Taken seemed an improbable hit: Liam Neeson wasn’t hot at the box office, director Pierre Morel came out of nowhere, and the action took place in ho-hum Paris for crissakes. But this sleeper didn’t suffer from political correctness. Instead it presented good vs evil as black and white without any grey area – something missing from films with more sophisticated storylines. Audiences responded to this uncomplicated thriller in droves for $145M domestic and $226.8M worldwide. Now they’re looking for more of the same in the sequel, and Taken 2 did an impressive $1.5M in midnight showings from 2,036 locations for the highest midnight number since The Dark Knight Rises. This time the director is Olivier Megaton, and the setting is far more mysterious Istanbul. Written again by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen, returning daughter Maggie Grace and wife Famke Janssen re-joins Neeson and this time together they fight bad guys. And, once again, Fox for both this movie and the first one pays a flat fee to Europa Corp for certain territories upon delivery. Otherwise Fox has all the world, excluding Eastern Europe, Middle East, Germany, France, Benelux and Scandinavia. Taken 2 already opened in Korea to an outstanding #1 on its opening day and unseated a blockbuster Korean film, Masquerade, distributed by CJ. The marketing campaign was pretty straightforward and fairly ordinary, relying heavily on Neeson who truly did anything and everything to promote the sequel. A fan event in New York at the AMC Empire on Monday sold out 2 theaters in under 90 minutes from launch on Eventful. It’s hard to find any TV show that Neeson didn’t do from Jim Rome, Leno, GMA, Live With Kelly, Ellen, Fallon, Daily Show, Watch What Happens Live, ESPN Carwash, and Inside The Actor’s Studio. ”Taken Tuesdays” on Facebook added new content every week. The Ultimate Fighters did sponsorships supporting the film through a high-profile match and fight clock branding, while Bellator Fighting Championship had sponsorship of the 2-hour largest Mixed Martial Arts tournament in the world.

Box OfficeHere we go again: another Tim Burton film that is underperforming at the domestic box office. This time he returns to his first stop-motion animation movie since 2005 when his Warner Bros’ toon Corpse Bride debuted DOA. But this 3D black-and-white film about a boy and his dog for Disney looks like a lot more fun, thanks to the screenplay credited to John August (who based his on Lenny Ripps’ script) and story and direction by Burton. Though it faces stiff competition from Sony Animation’s pre-Halloween family fare Hotel Transylvania. But Frankenweenie was never intended as widely popular family fare: it’s fanboy stuff. Which is why pic had such strong presence at Comic-Con. “The Art of Frankenweenie” exhibit began there and is touring Disney’s California Adventure before it travels to 7 countries. The film itself won’t roll out in most international territories until the next six months. Back at home, Frankenweenie integrated with Halloween events at Disney Parks. The world premiere was held September 20th on the opening night of Fantastic Fest, followed by an LA premiere September 24th at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre. Film was also the closing night film at the London Film Festival. Disney also had what it called “unparalleled partnership” with Apple to launch first-ever Disney Publishing digital book to use iBooks Author based on a film. (The e-book allows audiences to delve into the inspiration behind the film, from story concept to creation and execution, with photos, art, interviews, music, 3D characters, and more.) Games, apps, social media, IMAX, Subway in-store signage added to the marketing campaign which included a heavy rotation of TV ads – much bigger than the box office prospects of this Burton film warranted. Disney also pushed the official film soundtrack by frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, plus “Frankenweenie Unleashed” inspired-by album. Voice talent included Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, and Winona Ryder. Besides Burton, Allison Abbate produced.

Here’s how my sources see the Top Ten for weekend box office:

1. Taken 2 (Fox) NEW [3,661 Runs] PG13
Friday $18.5M, Saturday $19.0M, Weekend $50.0M

2. Hotel Transylvania 3D (Sony Animation) Week 2 [3,352 Runs] PG
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $11.7M, Weekend $27.1M (-36%), Cume $76.8M

3. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 2 [2,770 Runs] PG13
Friday $4.8M, Saturday $5.9M, Weekend $14.6M, Cume $21.5M

4. Looper (FilmDistrict/Sony) Week 2 [2,993 Runs] R
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $5.1M, Weekend $12.0M (-42%), Cume $40.1M

5. Frankenweenie 3D (Disney) NEW [3,005 Runs] PG
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $11.1M
Read More »

Comments 119

‘Breaking Dawn Part 2′ First-Day Advance Sales Shattering Twilight Saga’s ‘Part 1′

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Summit Entertainment will report that first day advance ticket sales for Breaking Dawn – Part 2 are outpacing Part 1. Tickets went on sale Monday and grosses already are shattering Twilight Saga films as the last in the … Read More »

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What A Weekend! Sony Has Best Ever #1 + #2 Films: ‘Hotel Transylvania’ Sets Records; Uni’s ‘Pitch Perfect’ Tops Screen Average; Walden’s ‘Won’t Back Down’ Flops

By | Sunday September 30, 2012 @ 7:27am PDT

SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: Hollywood finally can celebrate better box office which breaks a 5-week losing streak. Friday and Saturday overperformed for an ‘up’ weekend: $110M total moviegoing, which is +20% better than last year. And Sony Pictures has $66.2M – or … Read More »

Comments 134

Rentrak Named Box Office Information Provider For Deadline Hollywood

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21, 2012 — Rentrak Corporation, the leader in multi-screen media measurement serving the advertising, television and entertainment industries, today announced a partnership deal to be the box office information provider to the most respected entertainment industry

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‘The Master’ Breaks Art House Records; ‘Resident Evil 5′ Tops ‘Finding Nemo 3D’

SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: It was a revived box office at the start of the domestic weekend with respectable grosses for both opening but non-original pics. That’s a relief for Hollywood after weeks of lackluster threatrical sales and the lowest-grossing weekend in at least four years. But  total moviegoing this weekend is only $86M, or -15% from last year when The Lion King in 3D made $30.1M. Then again, it had not been available on home entertainment since 1994 and was a ‘Disney Vault’ item much in demand in 3D. In contrast, Disney/Pixar’s 3D version of its 2003 blockbuster Finding Nemo (2,904 theaters) took in only $17.5M for the weekend despite the lack of fresh family fare in the cineplex. It also made $5.1M from 7 territories representing 22% of the international market. Which brings its global cume from all releases to $890.2M.

Sony/Screen Gems/Constantin Films’ 3D Resident Evil: Retribution (3,012 theaters) is the 5th installment in the sexy sci-fi/horror franchise and was an easy #1 against the clownfish. It opened with $8.8M Friday helped by $665K from midnight screenings. It topped out at $21.1M for the domestic weekend, which is less than the franchise’s 4th installment. No matter because it makes its real moolah overseas. Indeed, Resident Evil: Retribution grossed a big $50M overseas for a total $71.1M worldwide in just its first few days of release. That beats the last one overseas by about 28%. “This could be the biggest one yet,” a Sony exec gushed to me. Exit polls showed that 64% of the audience was male and 45% under age 25. About 48% experienced the film in 3D, 34% saw it in 2D, 14% viewed it in IMAX, and another 4% viewed it in other PLF theaters.

Frankly, the blogosphere has not always been kind to this series or the writing/directing/producing team of Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt (Impact Pictures). But I can’t argue with RE‘s amazing success. To give you an idea, the previous 4 films have an aggregate worldwide gross of $675M. The last film made $296M. If this 5th film could get to $325M worldwide, then the franchise hits $1B in worldwide box office. And I haven’t even mentioned the big DVD numbers. All on an aggregate budget of a mere $250M. How many filmmakers have created that return on investment? Also, Anderson has now shot his last 3 films in 3D, using the Vince Pace rigs, and is one of the few Hollywood directors comfortable with it. As a major player I respect emailed me this weekend, “Paul should get his due. He’s one of the most under-appreciated directors out there.”

Related: ‘Ted’ To Pass ‘The Hangover’ Internationally

And fresh from the Venice and Toronto International Film Festival circuit, The Weinstein Company’s much ballyhooed anti-Scientology movie The Master began its platform run and Oscar campaign by breaking art house records. Director Paul Thomas Anderson and talents Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman got off to a great start in limited release in 5 art houses (3 in NY and 2 in LA) grossing $729,745. Weinstein picked up the film from Annapurna for worldwide distribution. The indie studio was hoping to beat the art house record of $130K per screen set by Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdom this year – and did just that with $145K.

Also of note, the same distribution company Rocky Mountain Pictures that released the hit political documentary 2016: Obama’s America on Friday opened Last Ounce of Courage. Both pics were in the Top 10 on Friday but fell out by Sunday. The newest pic aimed at “freedom-loving faith-based” audiences should have received a slow rollout. Instead, it debuted in 1,407 theaters with a marketing push including TV buys. Once again, this kind of movie produces strong pre-sales then grosses dwindle. It opened with a $1.7 weekend. Not sure if this pic has legs.

Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention Roadside Attractions’ and Lionsgate’s Arbitrage for the biggest U.S. opening ever for a film debuting in both movie theaters and On Demand — and by a wide margin.  Because it made $2M this weekend on only 197 screens for a per screen average of $10.5K. The Richard Gere starrer written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki had Roadside boss Howard Cohen kvelling to me. Amd the film also is #2 on iTunes overall and #1 in both Drama and Thriller categories.

A fantastic weekend for the indies… Don’t miss Deadline’s specialty box office report later today.

Here’s the Top Ten movies based on weekend estimates:

1. Resident Evil 5 (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [3,012 Runs]
Friday $8.4M, Saturday $7.6M, Weekend $21.1M

2. Finding Nemo (Pixar/Disney) NEW [2,904 Runs]
Friday $5.0M, Saturday $7.0M, Weekend $17.5M
Read More »

Comments 57

‘Ted’ To Pass ‘The Hangover’ Gross Abroad

By | Saturday September 15, 2012 @ 7:44am PDT

UPDATED: Seth MacFarlane’s R-rated comedy Ted starring Mark Wahlberg from Universal Pictures and Media Rights Capital will pass on Monday that other R-rated blockbuster The Hangover’s international lifetime total of $190+M. it now becomes the highest grossing original R-rated comedy of … Read More »

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‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ Run Extended

By | Friday September 14, 2012 @ 1:44pm PDT

Paramount announced today that it is extending the theatrical run of its remastered Raiders Of The Lost Ark to more than 300 North American theaters beginning today. The move comes after a one-week IMAX run last week Read More »

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Worst Movie Weekend In Years: ‘The Words’ Can’t Beat ‘The Possession’ & ‘Lawless’ Holdovers; ‘Cold Light Of Day’ Bombs; Now Anti-Obama Pic #2 Political Documentary

By | Sunday September 9, 2012 @ 8:36am PDT

SUNDAY AM,  5TH UPDATE: This is traditionally such a terrible box office Friday through Sunday that Hollywood skeds only low-profile movies. It’s official: the fall film season started with a whimper. It’s the worst grossing weekend of the year and this is also the worst grossing weekend in years. It looks like the entire North American box office might barely add up to $70 million, which is down 13% from last year. The weekend of September 5, 2008 was the last time no films grossed over $10 million. Ouch!

2016 Obama’s America grossed $26.1M by end of today (give or take some bucks) and passed 4 of Michael Moore’s five political documentaries to become the #2 all-time biggest. Only Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, his highly critical examination of the first term of President George W Bush, retains the #1 position with $119.1M. It’s extremely unlikely that 2016 Obama’s America will make even half that. But it now has made more money (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices) than Moore’s Sicko (2007 – $24.5M), Oscar-winner Bowling For Columbine (2002 – $21.5M), and Capitalism: A Love Story (2009 – $14.3M).

Related: Anti-Obama Pic Now Bigger Than 3 Michael Moore Movies
Related: Summer 2012 Ends Weak

Lionsgate has the #1 movie for the 4th weekend in a row – The Possession with an asterisk because its $9.3M grosses are so low.

Among wider release newcomers, CBS Films’ Sundance pickup The Words (2,801 theaters) came behind #2 Lawless from The Weinstein Co and #3 The Expendables 2 from Millenium/Lionsgate with only $4.7M for the weekend. That’s less than the studio’s very modest expectations and tracking for this drama masquerading as an art house pic. It cost only $6M to make (the whole production was shot in 25 days in Montreal), and CBS Films spent just $2M for U.S. only for this pic written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. Meanwhile Hollywood has to start asking itself whether one-time People Sexiest Man Alive, Bradley Cooper, really is a draw for female moviegoers. (I think he does better in bromance movies like The Hangover and Limitless and The A Team.  And he shows his acting chops in the upcoming The Place Beyond The Pines and Silver Linings Playbook.) CBS Films spent a very conservative amount to market The Words to only women, and particularly older women. The audience turned out be 58% female, with 78% aged 25+. The film received a ‘B’ Cinemascore. Read More »

Comments 98

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Becomes Second Film To Pass $100M On IMAX

By | Tuesday September 4, 2012 @ 12:37pm PDT

The global mark for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures’ The Dark Knight Rises was eclipsed after it played in 557 IMAX theaters worldwide this weekend, its seventh week of release. That’s $65.1M from 332 screens domestically and $37.3M … Read More »

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Summer 2012 Ends Weak: ‘The Possession’ Takes #1 For $21.3M Labor Day Weekend, ‘Lawless’ #2 With $15.1M; Anti-Obama Documentary Now 5th Biggest; ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Past $1 Billion, ‘Avengers’ $1.5B

By | Monday September 3, 2012 @ 8:45am PDT

 

August 31-September 3, Labor Day Weekend Actuals

1. The Possession (Ghost House/Lionsgate) NEW [2,816 Runs] PG13
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $6.3M, Sunday $5.3M, Monday $3.3M
3-Day Weekend $17.7M, 4-Day Holiday $21.1M

2. Lawless (Revolt/Yucaipa/Weinstein) Week 1 [2,888 Runs] R
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $3.5M, Sunday $3.8M, Monday $2.9M
3-Day Weekend $10.0M, 4-Day Holiday $12.9M, 5-day Cume $15.0M

3. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) Week 3 [3,334 Runs] R
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $3.3M, Sunday $3.5M, Monday $2.4M
3-Day Weekend $9M (-33%), 4-Day Holiday $11.5M (-15%), Cume $68.8M

4. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 4 [3,131 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.7M, Sunday $2.8M, Monday $2.1M
3-Day Weekend $7.2M (-23%), 4-Day Holiday $9.3M (0%), Cume $98.3M

5. ParaNorman 3D (Focus Features) Week 3 [3,085 Runs] PG
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.5M, Sunday $2.6M, Monday $2.4M
3-Day Weekend $6.6M (-24%), 4-Day Holiday $9M (+4%), Cume $40.4M

6. The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 3 [2,635 Runs] PG
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.4M, Sunday $2.4M, Monday $2.3M
3-Day Weekend $6.3M (-12%), 4-Day Holiday $8.6M (+20%), Cume $38.4M

7. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 7 [2,187 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.2M, Sunday $2.5M, Monday $1.9M
3-Day Weekend $6.1M (-15%), 4-Day Holiday $8M (+11%), Cume $433.3M

8. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain Pics) Week 8 [1,747 Runs]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2M, Sunday $2M, Monday $1.9M
3-Day Weekend $5.6M (-14%), 4-Day Holiday $7.5M (+16%), Cume $20.6M

9. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,941 Runs] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.0M, Sunday $2.3M, Monday $1.5M
3-Day Weekend $5.7M (-24%), 4-Day Holiday $7.2M (-4%), Cume $74.8M

10. Hope Springs (Columbia/Sony) Week 4 [2,441 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.8M, Sunday $1.7M, Monday $1.5M
3-Day Weekend $4.7M (-18%), 4-Day Holiday $6.1M (+7%), Cume $53.5M

‘Dark Knight Rises’ Now 11th Film In History To Pass $1B Milestone
‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ Passes $1.5B Mark

MONDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: Hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend and the end to Summer 2012′s up and down movie season. It started out strong with Marvel’s The Avengers (which Disney expanded into about 1,700 theaters this weekend to help its worldwide gross push past $1.5B sooner). Then tragedy almost sank The Dark Knight Rises which Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures will announce today is the 11th film to pass $1 billion global box office. But this end to the Summer 2012 movie season is now finishing weak on what is traditionally one of the softer weekends of the year. Overall moviegoing is $104M, down -2.7% from last year.

Lionsgate’s The Possession (2,816 theaters) from horror master Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures opened to a 3-day weekend of $17.7M. Estimate for the 4-day holiday of $21.3M. The production budget was only in the low- to mid-teens. Audiences gave the film a ‘B’ CinemaScore which didn’t help or hurt word of mouth. (Though horror genre movies don’t score higher than ‘B+’.) Factoring in The Expendables 2, Lionsgate was #1 for three weeks in a row if the pic holds. The Possession bills itself as based on a true tale of terror about a man who bought a wine box possessed by a demon at an estate sale in Portland, Oregon in 2001. Jason Haxton wrote a book about his Dibbuk box experiences and helped seed the story virally including a SyFy Channel documentary. Lionsgate also produced a documentary, enlisting Jewish mysticism experts about evil spirits, which debuted on EPIX. Marketing targeted horror fans and young females with a media buy that capitalized on the PG-13 rating and cable TV shows about hauntings. Lionsgate also created a blog called “The Secret Teachings” about so-called real experiences of people who were possessed. Matisyahu, the Jewish musician who stars in the film, cross-promoted the release with his new album. The film also stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick. It was directed by Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch), written by Juliet Snowden & Stiles White, and produced by Raimi along with Robert Tapert and JR Young.

The Weinstein Company’s R-rated outlaw drama Lawless (2,888 theaters) is #2 with an estimated 3-day weekend of $10.0M, and a four-day Labor Day holiday of $13.0M. That makes the six-day cume $15.1M after opening on Wednesday - underwhelming with all that acting prowess like Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska. I’m surprised TWC didn’t platform the pic before taking it out wide this Labor day weekend. “What usually happens for a Wednesday opening is that you can get around 12.5 times that number for the 6 days Wednesday through Monday which would put us at $13.5M,” a Weinstein exec told me on Thursday. “Anything $12 million or better would be pretty good all things considered. So I think we would be very happy with that number.” The Weinstein Company bought U.S. rights to the film at Cannes 2011 and have partnered with both Sean Combs’ Revolt Films and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Films. This gritty bootlegger tale based on real-life Prohibition figures reteams The Proposition team of director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave. Tracking was decent particularly with males aged 17-34.

Holdovers: Millenium’s and Lionsgate’s The Expendables 2 (3,334 theaters) is in 3rd place with a cume of $68.5M. Universal’s The Bourne Legacy is in 4th place with a total of $98.4M.

Last weekend’s surprise 2016 Obama’s America (expanding into 1,750 theaters starting its 8th week in release) continues helped by the Republican National Convention. The conservative political documentary came in #8 this weekend. By Monday’s end, pic is now the 5th biggest grossing political documentary for $20.3M, besting the $14.3M for Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices. 2016 Obama’s America is produced by Gerald R. Molen who credits “learning some lessons” from Moore. “When he released Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 ahead of the election, it sparked intense debate.”

Related: Anti-Obama Film Hot In Battleground States

I really object to error-prone media outlets characterizing newcomer Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure (2,160 theaters) as “the worst national opening ever”. First there’s the qualifier that it’s a movie playing in more than 2,000 theaters. And then there’s the reality that it actually debuted midweek so that disqualifies it from being the worst right there. Granted, this Kenn Viselman Presents pic made a really lousy 3-day weekend showing of $445K, and the 4-day holiday just $601K, for a total $827K during its first 6 days through Labor Day. And its per screen average gave new meaning to the word anemic. Problem was, as one reviewer snarked, it’s a children’s movie for those tots who think the Teletubbies are too sophisticated. ‘Nuff said.

Here’s the Top Ten based on 4-day holiday estimates:

1. The Possession (Ghost House/Lionsgate) NEW [2,816 Runs]
Friday $6.0M, Saturday $6.3M, Sunday $5.3M, Monday $3.6M
3-Day Weekend $17.7M, 4-Day Holiday $21.3M

2. Lawless (Revolt/Yucaipa/Weinstein) Week 1 [2,888 Runs]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.4M, Sunday $3.7M, Monday $3.0M
3-Day Weekend $10.0M, 4-Day Holiday $13.0M, Cume $15.1M

3. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) Week 3 [3,334 Runs]
Friday $2.2M (-40%), Saturday $3.3M, Sunday $3.4M, Monday $2.3M
3-Day Weekend $8.9M, 4-Day Holiday $11.2M, Cume $68.5M

4. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 4 [3,131 Runs]
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.7M, Sunday $2.8M, Monday $2.1M
3-Day Weekend $7.3M, 4-Day Holiday $9.4M, Cume $98.3M

5. ParaNorman 3D (Focus Features) Week 3 [3,085 Runs]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.5M, Sunday $2.5M, Monday $2.4M
3-Day Weekend $6.5M, 4-Day Holiday $8.8M, Cume $40.2M

6. The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 3 [2,635 Runs]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.4M, Sunday $2.4M, Monday $2.2M
3-Day Weekend $6.2M, 4-Day Holiday $8.5M, Cume $38.3M

7. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 7 [2,187 Runs]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.3M, Sunday $2.4M, Monday $1.8M
3-Day Weekend $6.1M, 4-Day Holiday $7.9M, Cume $433.2M

8. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain Pics) Week 8 [1,750 Runs]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $1.9M, Sunday $1.9M, Monday $1.4M
3-Day Weekend $5.6M, 4-Day Holiday $7.0M, Cume $20.3M

9. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,941 Runs]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.0M, Sunday $2.2M, Monday $2.0M
3-Day Weekend $5.6M, 4-Day Holiday $7.0M, Cume $74.8M

10. Hope Springs (Columbia/Sony) Week 4 [2,441 Runs]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.7M, Sunday $1.7M, Monday $1.7M
3-Day Weekend $4.7M, 4-Day Holiday $6.0M, Cume $53.3M

Read More »

Comments 73

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Becomes 11th Film In History To Pass $1 Billion Milestone

By | Monday September 3, 2012 @ 7:12am PDT

UPDATED: The studio is waiting for China’s grosses to announce it officially today. But the Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ Batman trilogy finale from Christopher Nolan has hit a milestone believed out of reach just a month ago. Despite the tragic start of its run in North American theaters, The Dark Knight Rises has now grossed $431.4 million domestic and $577.7 million international for a total $1.010+ billion through Sunday. That’s ahead of the trilogy’s second installment The Dark Knight, which maxed out at $1.0003 billion worldwide in 2008 (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices). Meanwhile Warner Bros is insisting that TDKR is only the 11th film to reach $1 billion in its original theatrical run – not the 12th as some charts show. Because the studio is refusing to count any asterisk-worthy extra grosses from 2D films released theatrically years later in 3D like Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. (I happen to agree… so that’s why Deadline also is counting this as only the 11th.) In terms of just 2D films, TDKR moves even higher in the rankings to 5th place since all the others benefited from 3D premiums. Read More »

Comments 38

‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ Passes $1.5B Mark

By | Sunday September 2, 2012 @ 11:46am PDT

Given that the Walt Disney Co announced its $4 billion purchase of Marvel three years ago almost to the day, that price tag looks like a bargain after Summer 2012. Because Marvel’s The Avengers in its 19th week of … Read More »

Comments 20

Weak Weekend: No New Film Breaks $7M, Holdover ‘The Expendables 2′ On Top Again, Anti-Obama Movie #1 Conservative Docu

By | Sunday August 26, 2012 @ 4:01am PDT

 

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
Read More »

Comments 529

‘The Expendables 2′ Tops Crowded Box Office With $28.7M Weekend, ‘Bourne Legacy’ $17M, ‘ParaNorman’ $14M; ‘The Campaign’ $13.3M, ‘Sparkle’ $12M

August 17-19 Weekend Actuals

1. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) NEW [3,316 Runs] R Friday $10.5M, Saturday $10.2M, Sunday $7.9M, Weekend $28.6M

2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 2 [3,753 Runs] PG13 Friday $5.3M, Saturday $7.1M, Sunday $4.7M, Weekend $17.1M (-55%), Cume $69.6M

3. ParaNorman 3D (Focus Features) NEW [3,429 Runs] PG Friday

Read More »

Comments 76

‘Odd Life Of Timothy Green’ $4.2M Cume

FRIDAY AM: Second day of Disney’s The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (2,551 domestic theaters) grossed an estimated $1.9M Thursday. The 2-day total is now $4.2M.

THURSDAY AM: Disney’s The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (2,551 domestic theaters) opened with a decent $2.3 million Wednesday and an ‘A-’ CinemaScore which … Read More »

Comments 23

Sony Pictures Hits $1B Domestic Grosses

This is the 11th consecutive year that Sony Pictures has passed this milestone, an achievement matched by only one other studio (Warner Bros). This is the second fastest that the studio has ever hit $1 … Read More »

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‘Dark Knight Rises’ Recovers For $537.2M Worldwide And Starts To Set Records; But ‘The Watch’ And ‘Step Up Revolution’ Weak

July 27-29 Weekend Actuals

1. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [4,404 Runs] PG13
Friday $17.7M, Saturday $24.7M, Sunday $19.7M, Weekend $62.1M (-61%), Cume $287.1M

2. Ice Age 4 3D (Fox) Week 3 [3,869 Runs] PG
Friday $4.0M, Saturday $5.3M, Sunday $4.0M, Weekend $13.4M (-35%), Cume $114.9M

3. The Watch (Fox) NEW [3,168 Runs] R
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $4.7M, Sunday $3.6M, Weekend $12.8M

4. Step Up Revolution 3D (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [2,567 Runs) PG13
Friday $4.9M, Saturday 3.9M, Sunday $2.9M, Weekend $11.7M

5. Ted (Universal) Week 5 [3,129 Runs] R
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $3.0M,Sunday $2.2M, Weekend $7.4M (-27%), Cume $193.6M

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 3D (Col/Sony) Week 4 [3,160 Run] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.8M, Sunday $2M, Weekend $6.7M (-38%), Cume $242.0M

7. Brave 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 6 [2,551 Runs] PG
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.7M, Sunday $1.3M, Weekend $4.3M (-29%), Cume $217.3M

8. Magic Mike (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,075 Runs] R
Friday $895K, Saturday $1.1M, Sunday $668K, Weekend $2.6M (-39%), Cume $107.6M

9. Savages (Universal) Week 4 [1,414 Runs] R
Friday $488K, Saturday $742K, Sunday $608K, Weekend $1.8M (46%), Cume $44M

10. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 10 [853 Runs] PG13
Friday $363K, Saturday $623K, Sunday $449K, Weekend $1.4M (-22%), Cume $38.6M

 

SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: Overseas, the second weekend of Warner Bros‘ and Legendary Pictures’  The Dark Knight Rises generated an estimated $122.1M on nearly 17,000 screens in 57 markets. The international cume to date is now a hefty $248.2M. In North America, its second weekend grossed $64.0M (a -60% drop) and its 10-day total is now $289.0M. (IMAX generated $9M this weekend and $38M to date domestic.) TDKR‘s domestic cume the 3rd highest for a recent movie’s first 10 days in release, behind only The Dark Knight ($313.7M) and this early summer Marvel’s The Avengers ($373M). It soon will be the 3rd fastest to reach $300M behind the same two pics (not adjusting for inflation or IMAX or higher ticket prices). That’s a new worldwide cume of $537.2M – which ain’t too shabby given everything that’s gone on.

What’s normally one of the best box office weekends of the summer fell victim to a lack of must-see pics, the rivalry of the London Olympics opening ceremonies and games, and the awful aftermath of the Colorado theater shooting. (And don’t think for a minute that  the Hollywood studios aren’t using these excuses as cover…) This weekend started out as a downer for North American moviegoing on Friday. Then went up a bit Saturday. (Noted one studio exec, “It doesn’t make as good a story as terror in cinemas, but the box office recovered nicely Saturday from opening night at the Olympics.”) And ended with a total $135M, which is still a massive -24% drop from last year. ”Hopefully next week, also one of the best of the summer, everything bounces back,” an exec emailed me. But right now reality bites: both new movies this weekend were so weak they couldn’t even crack the low teens in millions of dollars.  Summit Entertainment‘s PG-13 global dance franchise Step Up Revolution earned a ‘B+’ from audiences which should have helped word of mouth but didn’t, while Twentieth Century Fox‘s R-rated comedy The Watch with stars Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Jonah Hill received only a ‘C+’ so wanna-see will be limited.

Related: Sony Pictures Hits $1B Domestic Grosses

But TDKR remained a strong #1 and even jumped +42% from this Friday to Saturday after the London Olympics opening show had aired. I’m sure TDKR is on its way to even more records but Warner Bros thinks its inappropriate to boast about them post-Aurora. Nolan’s Batman finale’s grosses are still trailing Christopher Nolan’s second franchise installment The Dark Knight. Which is to be expected since NRG research showed that 20%-25% of the domestic moviegoing audience was still very hesitant to go this weekend because of the Colorado theater shooting. Overseas, it opened in big-ticket countries like Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, Japan this weekend.

Related: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Worldwide Total Now $374M: 25% Of Moviegoers Still Very Hesitant This Weekend

Though these two stars made moolah together in the PG-13 Dodgeball more than a decade ago, 2011 ensemble movies starring Vince Vaughn (The Dilemma) and Ben Stiller (Tower Heist) individually underperformed, and that trend continues in 2012 with this latest reteaming. Then again, this pic couldn’t catch a break: even before the Colorado killings, Florida’s hot button Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman tragedy necessitated a last-minute name change after the neighborhood watch image became no laughing matter. (“Obviously that situation is a horrible event in its own right,” a Fox exec told me, “but this movie is a broad comedy that bears no relation to that tragedy, other than originally having the title, Neighborhood Watch. That was a funny title that conveyed the movie. Until Zimmerman came on the scene. Then it was not funny at all any more. Now that people have seen the film, it’s clear there is no connection, but we were sensitive to any perceived link.”) The studio also pulled the pic’s promotional materials and sanitized its trailers after both events. Right before release, the Harkins Theatre chain pulled about 29 venues at the last minute when it couldn’t agree on financial terms with Fox. And don’t forget that star-driven movies for the most part are sucking the big one this summer so the studio didn’t expect more than a $15M opening – and didn’t get one. Fox claims The Watch which was shot in Atlanta cost $68 million. Publicity was straightforward with the guys primarily making appearances on talks shows and doing other TV press. Pic was produced by Shawn Levy and directed by Akiva Schaffer, with the credited screenwriters Jared Stern and Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg.

As for  Miami-set Step Up Revolution, that too was projected downward by the studio – and not just because of the absence of Channing Tatum’s 8-pack abs. Summit met, discussed, but left in the film an Aurora-offensive scene where the dancers steal into a party wearing body vests and gas masks and use gas grenades to threaten the guests. (It was the media talk on Twitter after the press screenings.) Summit did remove TV ads showcasing the scene, and isn’t rotating a trailer using the scene, either. Note this franchise does more biz overseas then domestic. (The second installment internationally grossed close to double its cumulative domestic take, and the third film cumulatively grossed nearly triple abroad compared to North American business.) Here in North America, of its 2,567 theaters, about 90% this weekend will present this fourth film in 3D. Summit has taken the reins from Disney on both the domestic and international release of the film. (The previous 3 installments were distributed domestically by Disney, while Summit has always overseen international distribution). The film’s budget is $33 million with the studio possessing very limited exposure due to robust foreign pre-sales. Marketing was aimed at tween/teen girls, but also Latinos and African-Americans with TV spots on 21 cable channels including Univision, Telemundo and BET. Small screen media was compressed into the last 2 weeks prior to opening, with almost half running after The Dark Knight Rises opened. A Step Up marathon on ABC Family showcased the previous three films. And not only did the soundtrack debut this week on Interscope Records, but a music video by Jennifer Lopez featuring Flo Rida launched globally on MTV, and a video by Timbaland featuring Ne-Yo had heavy support from VEVO. The film’s dancers and choreographers did extensive touring, performing flash mobs, and participating in press days in the top 20 markets. Directed by Scott Speer from credited screenwriters Jenny Mayer and Duane Adler, the film was produced by former Summit-only execs Erik Feig and Patrick Wachsberger as well as Adam Shankman.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:

1. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [4,404 Runs] PG13
Friday $18.0M, Saturday $25.6M, Weekend $64.0M (-60%), Cume $289.0M

2. Ice Age 4 3D (Fox) Week 3 [3,869 Runs) PG
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.3M, Cume $114.8M

3. The Watch (Fox) NEW 3,168 Runs) R
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $4.9M, Weekend $13M

4. Step Up Revolution 3D (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [2,567 Runs) PG13
Friday $5.0M, Saturday 3.9M, Weekend $11.8M

5. Ted (Universal) Week 5 [3,129 Runs) R
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $7.3M, Cume $193.6M

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 3D (Col/Sony) Week 4 [3,160 Run]
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.9M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $242.0M
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UPDATE: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Worldwide Total Now $374M: 25% Of Moviegoers Still Very Hesitant This Weekend

Dark Knight Rises Box OfficeUPDATE, 12:35 PM: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures’ The Dark Knight Rises earned another $18.5M from 44 international markets on Thursday, giving it a new foreign cume of $149.2M. That means its … Read More »

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