Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office Decoded: Insidious: Chapter 2 Accounts for Nearly Half of All Business in Top 10, Almost Sets Several Records

To see older or more recent box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.

So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Insidious: Chapter 2 was the latest R-rated horror film to open huge, The Family had director Luc Besson’s biggest opening since 2006, and Riddick‘s long-term chances suddenly look bleak.

Let’s break it down:

Top 10 Estimates for the 9/13-9/15 Weekend Box Office (Domestic)


Insidious 2 trailer  (Screengrab)

1. Insidious: Chapter 2 (Opening Weekend)
  • Opening Weekend Gross=$41 million
  • Budget=$5 million

Foreign: Also opened in the U.K./Ireland this weekend.  No estimate at the moment as to how much it made over there.

Let’s get all of the near-records out of the way, all of which were originally reported by BoxOfficeMojo:

  • Second highest opening for a film in September, behind Hotel Transylvania‘s $42.5 million opening from last year.  If you adjust for inflation, it would only be the fourth highest opening, behind Transylvania as well as Sweet Home Alabama and the first Rush Hour.
  • Third highest opening weekend for a supernatural horror film, behind only The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity 3.
  • Insidious/The Conjuring director James Wan is now only the second (well, I guess, technically third) director to have two R-rated films open at $40+ million in the same year, after the Wachowski siblings did the same with the two Matrix sequels they co-directed in 2003.

The original Insidious ended up with a $54 million domestic gross, which Chapter 2 will surpass in just its first 10 days. Like the first Insidious, Chapter 2 cost practical peanuts to make ($5 million), and its opening weekend has pulled in eight times its budget.  However, almost exactly half of Chapter 2‘s total weekend gross came from its Friday the 13th screenings, 10 percentage points higher than how much of The Conjuring‘s opening weekend came from its first Friday.  This indicates a potential bump in business from the horror film associations with the day Friday the 13th, and also that word-of-mouth tailed off over the weekend harder than it did earlier this summer for The Conjuring.  As such, even with this huge opening Chapter 2 looks set to fade faster than The Conjuring due to weaker word-of-mouth.  One can’t help but wonder, though, how they managed to keep the budget for the sequel so low, only adding $3.5 million in additional budget above what the first film cost to make.  Did stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne receive modest bumps in salary, or have they maybe negotiated to receive a percentage of back-end profits?

2. The Family (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$14.5 million
  • Budget=$30 million

Foreign: Also opened in Iceland and Lithuania, although there is no estimate as to gross in those territories at the time of this writing.

This opening is actually among the strongest in director Luc Besson’s career, but the Fifth Element director is mostly known for his producing now, specifically the Taken and Transporter films.  On that side of his career, the $14.5 million for The Family is almost his career average for opening weekends, an average skewed by the $49.5 million opening of Taken 2 last year.  In fact, The Family had Besson’s best opening ever for a non-Taken/Transporter film.  However, get a good look at this one while you can.  Bad reviews and horrible word-of-mouth, as indicated by its C grade on Cinemascore, seemingly guarantees The Family will be re-admitted into the witness relocation program again rather soon.

3. Riddick


  • Weekend Gross=$7 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$31.2 million
  • Budget=$38 million

Foreign: $9.6 million this weekend for a new foreign gross total of $22 million and combined worldwide gross total of $53.2 million.

Riddick had a pretty decent opening weekend, pulling in around $18-19 million and finishing at #1.  This weekend?  Not so much.  At 63%, it dipped even further in its second weekend than either of the prior films in the Riddick franchise did in their second weekends, Chronicles of Riddick dropping 61.2% in 2004 and Pitch Black dropping 38.4% in 2000.  Remember that Chronicles actually came out in June 2004, at which point it had much tougher competition (Dodgeball, Shrek 2, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban), yet it managed to hold stronger in its second weekend (albeit just barely).  The interesting thing to watch now will be whether or not Riddick will get enough of a boost overseas to double its production budget and thus reach profitability, which is only possible thanks to its incredibly modest budget.

4. Lee Daniels’ The Butler


  • Weekend Gross=$5.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$100 million
  • Budget=$30 million

Foreign:  Has now opened in Portugal and France, but no information on gross at the moment.

Well, quit your lying if you said you saw The Butler racing to $100 million domestic gross in 5 weeks.  Films aimed primarily at African-American audiences simply do not make this much money unless they say Tyler Perry Presents in front of the title.  Well, that’s not completely true.  The Help did just what The Butler has done, only bigger when it was released August of 2011.  After 5 weeks, The Help had actually grossed $137 million.  So, fine, The Butler is no Help, but it’s done incredibly well for itself.  However, it darn well had to.  American race-relations films typically struggle just as much as westerns and baseball movies overseas (e.g., less than 20% of The Help‘s worldwide gross of $211 million is foreign).

5. We’re the Millers

We're the Millers Haan Aniston

  • Weekend Gross=$5.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$131.6 million
  • Budget=$37 million

Foreign: $14.6 million in foreign gross this past week for a new foreign gross total of $69.7 million and combined worldwide gross total of $201.3 million.

We’re the Millers is darn close to being a bigger hit than the last R-rated Jason Sudeikis/Jennifer Aniston comedy from Warner Bros./New Line, 2011’s Horrible Bosses, which has a domestic/foreign/worldwide slash of $117 million/$92 million/$209 million.  At this rate, We’re the Millers will surpass that worldwide total within the week with still plenty more to come from overseas, where it has had later openings than its domestic release.  This is now the third-highest grossing film of Jennifer Aniston’s career, fourth after you adjust for ticket-price inflation. The highest-grossing?  2003’s Bruce Almighty, which earned $242 million domestic (which would be like making $328 million now).     

6. Instructions Not Included


  • Weekend Gross=$4.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$26.5 million
  • Budget=N/A

Foreign: Still only playing domestically, though it is scheduled for its Mexican release this upcoming Friday (9/20).

Its distributor, Lionsgate Films saw Instructions Not Included’s phenomenal $11,297 per-screen-average last weekend, and decided to add 216 more screens this weekend upping its total to just over 900 (the lowest number of screens for any film in the top 20).  However, instead of continuing to build with an even wider release Instructions Not Included dropped nearly 50%, albeit with a still exceptional per-screen-average of $4,555.  At its current pace, it will still likely end up as the fourth-highest domestic grossing foreign language film since 1980, although probably just barely in the top 10 after you adjust for inflation.

7. Planes


  • Weekend Gross=$3 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$82.8 million
  • Budget=$50 million

Foreign: $10.7 million in foreign gross this past weekend in 40 different territories for a new foreign gross total of $55.8 million and combined worldwide gross total of $138.7 million.

In that late summer glut of family movies (Smurfs 2, Planes, Turbo), Planes has been the one with staying power at the domestic box office.  For example, it’s still in the top 10 after 6 weekends whereas Turbo was just barely in the top 20 after its first 6 weekends.  Yeah.  Get ready to die a little inside, though: Smurfs 2 is already at $220 million foreign for a worldwide gross of $288.3 million.  Plus, Turbo was facing so much competition that it faded, but it still grossed enough in its early weeks to end up with $159 million worldwide.  However, in terms of total gross vs. budget, Planes has been the more profitable film of those two while Smurfs 2 has shown them both the mothersmurfin’ door.

8. One Direction: This Is Us


  • Weekend Gross=$2.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$26.8 million
  • Budget=$10 million

Foreign:  $5 million in foreign gross this past week for a new foreign gross total of $31 million and combined worldwide gross total of $57.8 million.

Score one for a big opening weekend and then not completely and utterly plummeting down the charts.  Well, actually, that last part is kind of what is happening with This is Us, although it stopped the bleeding by only dropping 40% after spelunking down 74% last weekend.  If the manufactured boys in One Direction had any ambitions of making more money than Miley Cyrus, Michael Jackson, and Justin Bieber did with their music concert films then they better come to accept the bitter taste of defeat.  However, This is Us has now made more money than Katy Perry’s music concert film, thus placing it as the fourth highest grossing music concert film since 1984.  Its worldwide gross is nearly 6 times the size of its budget.

9. Elysium 


  • Weekend Gross=$2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$88.3 million
  • Budget=$115 million

Foreign: $16.9 million foreign gross this past week for a new total foreign gross of $144 million and combined worldwide gross of $232.3 million.

So, there you have it.  Elysium has crossed the $230 million mark in worldwide gross, thus passing the “doubling its $115 million production budget” threshold for profitability.  It has now stuck around for a respectable six weeks in the top 10 on the domestic chart while continuing to play well overseas.  While its domestic total is a disappointment, Elyisum will at the very least end up out-grossing Oblivion‘s $89.1 million domestic total, though not by much.  It seems unlikely that it will match or surpass Oblivion‘s $197 million foreign total, though.  This is Matt Damon’s highest-grossing film since Ocean’s Thirteen in 2007.

10. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters


  • Weekend Gross=$1.8 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$62 million
  • Budget=$90 million

Foreign: $10.1 million foreign gross this past week for a new total foreign gross of $102.6 million and combined worldwide gross of $164.6 million.

It’s managed to hang around in the domestic top 10 for six weekends, and is riding a decent run at the foreign box offices toward an eventual worldwide gross in the $180-190 million territory. Plus, the failures of films such Mortal Instruments and Kick-Ass 2 around it make it look that much better.  However, Sea of Monsters will still end up having failed to perform on par with hits predecessor, The Lightning Thief.


What Left the Top 10?

Blue Jasmine continued its yo-yo act in and out of the top 10, sipping from #9 to #11 a week after it charged back into the top 10. It’s per-screen-average is still fifth best among all films in the top 20.   The World’s End dropped from #10 to #12, currently standing at a domestic gross of $23.9 million on its $20 million budget.  Elsewhere outside the top 10, the studios who re-released films to push them over a certain mark for future cable rights reasons smiled as This is the End passed $100 million and World War Z passed $200 million.  Lake Bell’s voice-over industry comedy In a World continues to pack in the crowds in limited release, earning a better per-screen-average across its 144 screens than all but 3 films in release (wide or limited) right now.  

What’s Up Next?: 

For most markets, only two films will factor into the mix this upcoming weekend: dance competition drama Battle of the Year and Oscar-hopeful Prisoners, the latter starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.  Opening in limited release are the last James Gandolfini film Enough Said (9/18) and the Mark Ruffalo/Gwyneth Paltrow sex addiction dramedy Thanks for Sharing (9/20).  

Oi, enough with the numbers already.

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