Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office Decoded: 2 Guns Sorta Disappoints, Smurfs 2 Does Better than You Think & Pacific Rim Sets Records in China

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With the end of another weekend comes another batch of reports about how films-both new and old-fared at the box office.  This week, we’re reminded of what an average weekend looks like when no new film managed to make more than $30 million.  2 Guns did okay, Smurfs 2 did not (although wait until you hear how much it’s already made from product placement), and The Wolverine continued it’s “eh, not great, not terrible” run of business.

Let’s run it down:

Top 10 Estimates for the 8/2-8/4 Weekend Box Office (Domestic)



1. 2 Guns
  • Weekend Gross=$27.3 million
  • Total Gross=$27.3 million
  • Budget=$61 million

Foreign: 2 Guns only opened domestically meaning no foreign grosses to report at this point.

Remember last week when The Wolverine opened at #1 with over $50 million and that was considered a let-down?  Yeah, 2 Guns would kill for that kind of business.  Instead, it has to settle for $27.3 million, which is being regarded as either decent or disappointing depending on where you look.  So, why the discrepancy?  Well, on one hand a nearly $30 million opening for a movie with a reported budget of just over $60 is not horrible and likely guarantees it will at least make more than it cost to make (not including marketing costs).  On the other hand, Denzel Washington was in a similar project last year, Safe House in which he was paired with a younger, white actor (Ryan Reynolds) in an action movie.  That one opened to $40.2 million.  His 2 Guns co-star, Mark Wahlberg, is supposed to be a bigger box office presence than Reynolds, ergo, 2 Guns should do just as well if not better than Safe House.  Instead, in retrospect it appears as if Safe House over-performed, ending with over $200 million in worldwide gross ($126 million domestic/$81 million foreign ), whereas 2 Guns is posed to slightly underperform and will definitely fail to reach $100 million now.  Why?  Action movie fatigue?  Advertising which emphasized the two stars as opposed to giving a sense of the film’s plot or tone?  Looked too similar to Wahlberg’s other disappointing 2013 action film, Pain & Gain?  Probably all of those things.

2. The Wolverine


  • Weekend Gross=$21.7 million
  • Total Gross=$95 million
  • Budget=$120 million

Foreign: $38.2 million foreign this weekend for a total foreign gross to date of $159 million and a combined worldwide gross to date of $254 million.

So, how far did it drop?  Well, the $21.7 million is 60% below it’s opening weekend domestically, and the $38.2 million foreign is over 50% lower than its foreign gross last weekend.  Is that bad?  Yes and no.  It’s an average drop-off for a comic book action movie.  By comparison to other such films from this Summer, Iron Man 3 fell  58% in its second weekend whereas Man of Steel dropped 64%.  Plus, the last Wolverine movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine – you know, the one we’re all pretending doesn’t exist – fell off a dreadful 69% in its second weekend, an indication by comparison that The Wolverine is enjoying far superior word of mouth than its most direct predecessor.  However, The Wolverine is projected to end its domestic run in the $140 million territory, likely ending up the lowest domestic grossing film in franchise history behind X-Men: The First Class ($146 million) (and that’s before adjusting for inflation).  However, like so many other films this summer it is playing better overseas with the promise of a crap-ton more money coming its way once it opens in Japan and China.  Currently, its $159 million foreign gross in non-adjusted dollars is more than the first X-Men ($129 million) made overseas in 2000.

3. The Smurfs 2


  • Weekend Gross=$18.2 million
  • Total Gross=$27.7 million
  • Budget=$105 million

Foreign: $52.5 million foreign a combined worldwide gross to date of $80.2 million.

This happens…a lot.  Sometimes, there are just movies that do gangbusters business everywhere, and nobody can completely explain why.  That was the original Smurfs in 2011, which made…wait for it because you won’t believe how much it made….an unbelievably astouding $563 million, 74% ($421 million) of it coming from the foreign box office.  Yes, it had the brand recognition factor due to the beloved (why?) 1980s cartoon.  Yes, it was in 3D.  Yes, it was following the successful model Fox rode to financial success with Alvin and the Chipmunks in 2007.  Yes, it was from the same director who had previously made hits out of dreadful-looking projects (Raja Grosnell, who directed the live-action Scooby Doo movies, the first Big Momma’s House, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua).  But $563 million?  WTF!?!

As such, everyone was throwing their hands in the air and admitting they had no clue what to do with Smurfs 2.  Yes, the trailers and TV spots made it look worse than the original (the horror, the horror), but that didn’t seem to matter the last time around.  Well, that apparently matters to domestic audiences when Turbo just came out and Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University in the month or so prior.  As such, Smurfs 2‘s 5-day total of $27.7 million is the worst such total for any animated film released this summer, even behind Turbo.  However, Smurfs 2 star Neil Patrick Harris can still take to Twitter to silence the film’s naysayers (as he did, gleefully, with the first film) because just like the first Smurfs the sequel is doing strong business overseas.  It’s $52.5 million from 43 foreign markets would have been enough to be #1 at the collective foreign box office were it not for Pacific Rim.  More on that later.  Sony is tentatively scheduled to release a third Smurfs film in 2015, and one would guess that maybe those plans on hold.  You’d be wrong, though.  Here’s the disgusting part – Sony/Columbia has brokered deals with over 100 different companies to help market the film to the tune of more than $150 million.  That means that in product placement fees, ancillary sales, and cross-media branding they’ve already made back their production budget (which is reportedly $105 million).

4. The Conjuring


  • Weekend Gross=$13 million
  • Total Gross=$107.9 million
  • Budget=$20 million

Foreign: $11.6 million in foreign gross this weekend for a total foreign gross to date of $28.6 million and combined worldwide gross to date of $136.5 million.

The rest of the world is only just now getting a chance to be scared to death by The Conjuring, but in very few foreign territories it is already playing strong.  Domestically, it only fell 41% in its third weekend, and remains in the Box Office Top 5.  Horror films it has now out-grossed, domestically in unadjusted dollars, include all of the Paranormal Activity, Final Destination, and Scream films.  Basically, at this point it is already among the top 10 highest grossing horror films of all time, domestically, though still outside of that list after inflation-related adjustments.

5. Despicable Me 2


  • Weekend Gross=$10.3 million
  • Total Gross=$326.6 million
  • Budget=$76 million

Foreign: $13.8 million in foreign gross this weekend for a total foreign gross to date of $387 million and combined worldwide gross to date of $713.6 million.

This one just won’t die.  In its fifth weekend of release, it remained in the Top 5 domestically, declining only 34% from weekend-to-weekend (translation: that’s very good).  It is now technically the third-highest domestic grossing film in the 101 year history of Universal Studios (though, obviously, it’s nowhere near as high on that list after inflation adjustments), and is largely responsible for this past July turning into the 2nd most profitable month in total box office gross in film history.  Here’s the interesting thing, though: Monsters University has officially died out domestically, but with $10 million additional this past weekend for a new total of $354 million it continues performing almost as well as Despicable Me 2 overseas.  Plus, it still has China in its future whereas Despicable Me 2 does not since the Chinese government decided against allowing the film to play in their country mostly due to there being one too many American animated films playing around the same time.  This is not to say Pixar is going to catch up with Universal’s juggernaut.  This is just to say that as far as foreign markets are concerned the films are almost equal-sized hits.

6. Grown Ups 2

  • Weekend Gross=$8.1 million
  • Total Gross=$116.6 million
  • Budget=$80 million

Foreign: $21.5 million in foreign gross for a combined worldwide gross to date of $137.9 million.

Those anti-Adam Sandler fans looking for the good news in the surprising success of Grown Ups 2 can take solace in this: at its current domestic total ($116.6 million) and pace there’s no way it’s going to come close to matching the domestic gross of the first Grown Ups ($162 million) domestic. Of course, that’s supposed to make you feel better, but learning that the first Grown Ups made that much money probably made it worse.  Plus, at this point Grown Ups 2 still has yet to open wide at the foreign box office where it will likely end up pulling down somewhere in the  $70-100 million range.  Well, actually, there just may be no silver lining here, at least for those who would delight in seeing Sandler and the type of film he represents fail.

7. Turbo


  • Weekend Gross=$6.4 million
  • Total Gross=$69.4 million
  • Budget=$135 million

Foreign: $55.3 million foreign for a combined worldwide gross to date of $124.6 million.

Turbo dropped 54% at the domestic box office in its third weekend.  That’s, somewhat surprisingly, a little better than Monsters University, which dropped nearly 57% in its’ third weekend.  That is probably the only favorable comparison Turbo will ever receive to Monsters University, though.  It has already fallen below Despicable Me 2 in the Top 10 even though it came out weeks later, and with Smurfs 2 around and Pixar/Disney’s Planes on the way there is simply too much direct competition out there.   It – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – continues to perform better overseas than it is at home, though.  It’s a disappointment, but after all is said and done it could end up being more profitable than we have any way of knowing based upon any kind of ancillary sales such as product placement (Nascar) or toys.

8. Red 2


  • Weekend Gross=$5.6 million
  • Total Gross=$45.1 million
  • Budget=$84 million

Foreign: $33.4 million foreign for a combined worldwide gross to date of $78.5 million.

Lionsgate seems to have sunk more money into TV advertising for Red 2, with plenty of ads running to remind people that this is a thing which is out in theaters right now.  As such, it actually only dropped off 40% at the domestic box office this weekend.  Plus, it opened big in Russia this weekend, and still has most of the major foreign markets yet to go.  However, it’s not going to come anywhere near matching the original Red’s $90 million domestic gross or $108 million foreign gross.  If it ends up making a profit that will likely happen on the back end with home video.

9. The Heat


  • Weekend Gross=$4.7 million
  • Total Gross=$149.5 million
  • Budget=$43 million

Foreign: $36.7 million in foreign for a combined worldwide gross to date of $186.2 million.

The Heat is now the 5th highest domestic grossing buddy cop film of all time, 14th after adjusting for inflation.  In actual dollars, only all films in the Men in Black franchise and Rush Hour 2 have made more.  Not bad for what is generally considered the first ever buddy cop film which both buddies are female.  It has benefited largely from simply being a genuinely funny film, but just as important to its box office success has been the absolute lack of any direct competition (until, technically, 2 Guns, which is also a buddy copy film).  However, a) there have been precious few films centered around female characters this summer; b) there have been have been precious few comedies this summer.  One of the lessons of this puzzling summer at the domestic box office is the need to diversify the summer offerings.  In the current environment, The Heat has stuck around in the Top 10 for 6 weeks now, and is still barely playing in foreign markets, having only just recently opened in the UK.  Sandra Bullock did recently cause a bit of a stir by saying she doesn’t see there being a sequel as story-wise it would seem unnecessary, a lesson she, more than most, would know full well at this point in her career (*cough* Speed 2 *cough* Miss Congeniality 2).  However, this does run counter to pre-film reports that the lead actors and director had been signed up pre-release by the studio for a The Heat sequel.  Instead, we might just end up getting Melissa McCarthy playing a similar character in a different movie not starring Sandra Bullock.  Should be interesting to see what happens.

10. Pacific Rim


  • Weekend Gross=$4.5 million
  • Total Gross=$92.6 million
  • Budget=$190 million

Foreign: $53 million in foreign gross this weekend for a total foreign gross to date of $200 million and combined worldwide gross to date of $293.3 million.

Holy kaiju!  Everyone knew Pacific Rim was going to play huge in the foreign marketplace, which it had been until last weekend when it fell off 59%.  But there were four big markets to look forward to: China, Japan, Spain, and Brazil.  Well, those last three won’t come until this upcoming Friday, but China got their first taste of Pacific Rim on Wednesday (7/31) and threw $45.2 million at it in its first 5 days.  This is among the biggest opening in the history of China, and is easily the biggest among Warner Bros. films to open there.  So, really that $53 million Pacific Rim took this past weekend is mostly China.  But, wait, there’s more – it’s still got Japan on Friday.  With this sudden infusion of $53 additional million in foreign gross, Pacific Rim – which will likely struggle to get at $100 million domestic – has made $200 million foreign.  Wow.  News of the performance in China spread so fast mid-week last week that it’s already been reported that a sequel is now back on the table.


What Left the Top 10?

After one week spend at #10, Fruitvale Station slipped back to #12, and the movie-we’ll-now-forever-pretend-doesn’t-exist R.I.P.D. plummeted 60% in its third weekend to end up at #13.  It currently stands at only $48 million worldwide compared to its approximate $130 million budget.  The Way, Way Back stayed at #11 on the list for the second week in the row, falling only 21% from last weekend.  However, the other wide-release indie from last week, Aubrey Plaza’s The To Do List, is not enjoying nearly the level of word-of-mouth, dropping over 60% as well as 3 spots in the Top 20 in its second week of release.  Ruh-roh.

What’s Up Next?: 

There are 4 movies opening wide this upcoming weekend and 2 opening in limited release, meaning there should be some big changes in the Top 10 next week.  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and We’re the Millers, courting rather different demographics, both open on Wednesday (8/7) while the Matt Damon sci-fi action film Elysium and was-supposed-to-go-direct-to-video-but-they-decided-why-not-open-in-theaters-instead Cars spin-off Planes both open on Friday (8/9).  In a World and Lovelace both open in limited release on the same day, and indie darlings Blue Jasmine and The Spectacular Now continue to add extra locations.  

Oy, enough with the numbers already.

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