Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office Decoded: Bad Grandpa Deflates Gravity, Counselor Flops

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: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa spoiled the Gravity/Captain Phillips #1-2 punch, which both continued to perform exceptionally well.  Meanwhile, The Counselor flopped ala Runner Runner, but the Fifth Estate reminded us what a true flop looks like by dropping out of the top 10 in just two weeks.   

Let’s break it down:

Top 10 Estimates for the 10/25-10/27 Weekend Box Office (Domestic)

1. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa  (Opening Weekend)

Bad Grandpa

  • Opening Weekend Gross=$32 million
  • Budget=$15 million

Foreign: $8.1 million from 16 foreign territories for a combined total worldwide gross of $40.1 million.

Here’s something you may not have realized: prior to this weekend’s release of Bad Grandpa, the Jackass film franchise (Jackass: The Movie, Jackass Number 2, Jackass 3-D) had grossed a combined $254 million at the domestic box office with a combined production cost of $36.5 million.  Of course, they never have quite caught on overseas, grossing a combined $82 million from foreign sales meaning they are uniquely American hits.  However, in domestic, unadjusted dollars Jackass has made more than film franchises like Godfather, Predator, Pink Panther, National Lampoon, King Kong and just behind Rambo and Exorcist while costing comparatively little to make.

So, with that context maybe it’s nowhere near as surprising that Bad Grandpa, a genuinely funny-looking Borat-style movie on top of everything, managed to easily dethrone Gravity this weekend.  It’s $32 million opening was the second best opening in franchise history, third best after you adjust for ticket price inflation.  However, CinemaScore polled viewers only gave it a B, and RottenTomatoes has it at a tepid 62% fresh rating, which is almost exactly the average fresh rating for all films in the franchise.  Based upon the performance of prior Jackass films, Bad Grandpa can be expected to lose over half of its audience next weekend, but at this point what do they care – they’ve already made their money back with this big opening.

2. Gravity


  • Weekend Gross=$20.3 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$199.8 million
  • Budget=$100 million

Foreign: $36.6 million from over 50 foreign territories this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $164.4 million for a  worldwide total of $364.2 million.  This (i.e., $36.6) is the highest combined foreign gross from a single weekend for Gravity to date.  It has yet to open in China, the U.K., and Japan.

So, the era of Gravity as #1 is over, but it only fell 32% in its fourth weekend.  That’s a better fourth-weekend hold than some of this summer’s mega-blockbusters (Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, World War Z, Fast & Furious 6).  It has helped Gravity to become the 9th highest grossing film of 2013.  As it loses IMAX and 3D screens in the coming weeks to Ender’s Game and Thor: The Dark World, Gravity will continue to slide down the chart, but it is still going to make quite a bit more, domestically and especially internationally.

3. Captain Phillips


  • Weekend Gross=$11.8 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$70 million
  • Budget=$55 million

Foreign: $12.1 million from 20 foreign territories this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $26.7 million for a  worldwide total of $96.7 million.  It is now playing in 20 foreign territories after expanding into countries like the Denmark and Greece this weekend. It continues to perform exceptionally well in the U.K.

And the “that’s good, but it must suck coming out so close to Gravity” prize goes to Captain Phillips.  It actually managed a stronger hold this weekend than last, dropping just 28%, which has put it right back on path to end up around $100 million.  It’s still not going to match or best the $136 million Argo ended up with last year nor will it come anywhere near the $200+ million domestic grosses of director Paul Greengrass’ Bourne films.  But based upon past box office performance from director Greengrass and star Tom Hanks this film is breaking from recent trends and turning out to be a true hit whose real profit will come from the addition of overseas gross.

4. The Counselor


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$8 million
  • Budget=$25 million

Foreign: Only opened in the United States, Canada, and Brazil this weekend.  No word yet on how well it did in Brazil.

It’s Runner Runner all over again, except worse.  Runner Runner had some star power behind it with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, but appeared to have an incredibly familiar plot audiences weren’t overly curious to see the latest iteration of.  The same goes for The Counselor except its known stars were many (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt) and it had an all-star director (Ridley Scott) and writer (Cormac McCarthy).  The end result is the same, though.  Runner Runner had the 15th worst opening of all films to open on more than 3,000 screens since 1982, and The Counselor was just behind it with the 18th worst such opening.  Ouch.  Don’t feel bad for the stars, though.  Multiple reports have indicated they all mostly only did the movie at diminished fees for the chance to work with legendary director Ridley Scott.  Based upon the D score from CinemaScore indicating unbelievably toxic word-of-mouth, look for this one to perform a real disappearing act in the coming weeks.

5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2


  • Weekend Gross=$6.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$100.6 million
  • Budget=$78 million

Foreign: $17.9 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $49.2 million and combined  worldwide total of $149.8 million.  It is now playing in 24 foreign territories after expanding into countries like the U.K., Russia, and Germany this weekend.  Releases in major markets like China, Japan, and France are not scheduled until the end of December and into early 2014.

Again, the basic story with Cloud 2 is to make comparisons to other films from same studio, Sony Animation.  It’s $30 million behind the pace of last year’s Hotel Transylvania, but only $8 million behind the pace of the first Cloudy in 2009.  These gaps, of course, widen a bit more when you adjust for ticket price inflation.  Compared to other 2013 animated films, Cloudy 2 is not even in the same league as Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University, but it has already made more than Escape from Planet EarthPlanes and Turbo, will surpass Epic but fall short of The Croods.  It will receive its first direct competition in the animated film market this coming weekend when Free Birds comes out.

6. Carrie

Carrie Chloe Grace Moretz

  • Weekend Gross=$5.9 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$26 million
  • Budget=$30 million

Foreign: Currently playing in 21 foreign territories; however, as of yet there is no estimation as to performance in those markets.

Generally, horror movies these days can weather the storm of significant drop-offs post-release because they’ll have opened so huge so as to insure profitability.  So, to see Carrie drop 63% in its second weekend is no shock; that’s the exact same percentage drop suffered by The Evil Dead and around the same as Insidious Chapter 2 earlier this year.  The problem?  Those films had amazing to respectable opening weekends whereas Carrie‘s was below average.  There was some hope it might have held better than some horror films as it got closer to Halloween, but with so many other home viewing options available Carrie hasn’t been enticing enough.

7. Escape Plan


  • Weekend Gross=$4.3 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$17.4 million
  • Budget=$70 million (estimated)

Foreign: $14 million this past week for a new total foreign gross of $28.1 million and combined total worldwide gross of $45.5 million

In dropping 56% in its second weekend and grossing $17.4 million in its first 10 days Escape Plan continues to outperform stars Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s earlier 2013 financial failures Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand respectively.  However, that’s a pretty low bar.  Plus, it’s not exactly blowing those films out of the water in box office performance, only at around $7 million higher than The Last Stand after its first 10 days.  If an estimated $70 million production budget is to be believed, even Escape Plan‘s slightly more positive performance overseas isn’t nearly enough to spin this thing into anything other than a flop.  Whoever authorized/procured such a budget must have clearly thought they were getting an Expendables-style hit.  Oops.

8. 12 Years a Slave


  • Weekend Gross=$2.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$3.4 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: Outside of film festivals, it’s only played in the US and Canada.  It does not currently have many foreign country releases planned anytime soon; e.g., the U.K. won’t get it until the end of January.

Last week, playing on only 19 screens 12 Years a Slave made nearly $1 million and managed a per-screen-average on par with that enjoyed by Lost in Translation, American Beauty, Precious, and Michael Clayton when they also opened on a similar number of screens as part of platform (i.e., slow roll-out) releases.  However, such things can be horribly misleading; e.g., Rush enjoyed a similar per-screen average when it opened on 5 screens earlier this year.   Awards season contenders playing well on a handful of screens in Los Angeles and New York often means next to nothing.  Well, 12 Years a Slave said nuts to that this weekend, expanding to 123 total locations and pulling in over $2 million with a fantastic per-screen average of over $17,000.  That’s not quite Instructions Not Included $29,000 per-screen average good, but it was enough to easily be the best among all films this weekend.

9. Enough Said

  • Weekend Gross=$1.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$13 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: It’s foreign gross from it’s only other territories (U.K./Ireland, Turkey) is less than $500,000.

Fox Searchlight keeps adding more locations, up to over 800 now, for Enough Said, and it keeps on making around the same amount of money each weekend, falling off less than 12% this past weekend.  At this rate, it will surpass 2006’s Friends with Money to become the highest grossing film of director/writer Nicole Holofcener’s career, though not by much and not after you adjust for ticket price inflation.

10. Prisoners


  • Weekend Gross=$1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$59.1 million
  • Budget=$46 million

Foreign: $8.1 million this past week from 29 markets for a new total foreign gross of $42.4 million and a combined total worldwide gross of $101.5 million.  The only new market which is both awaiting its release and could boost the foreign gross considerably higher is China, which gets the film next week.

This was a definite tough sell due to its subject matter, graphic violence, and long running time.  Even with that, it’s managed to improve upon the take of a recent kidnapping film like 2007’s Gone Baby Gone ($19 million domestic) but not come anywhere near a kind of spiritual predecessor like 2003’s Mystic River ($90.1 million domestic).  At this point, let’s wait to see if this yields any acting nominations thus potentially influencing some of those who skipped it at the theaters to check it out on home video months from now.


What Happened Outside of the Top 10?

Insidious Chapter 2, The Fifth Estate, and Runner Runner fell out of the top 10 for the first time, although in the case of Fifth Estate its more liked it took a giant nosedive, premiering at #8 last weekend and coming in at #15 this weekend.  It has only grossed $2.8 million domestic/$4.4 million worldwide on a $28 million budget.  Ouch.  Well, the good news for star Benedict Cumberbatch is that his next movie is literally already in theaters (12 Years a Slave), and this should do nothing to diminish his Sherlock fandom.  In fact, Sherlock fans are probably secrety rooting for him to fail just a little bit to heighten the chances of him being available to do more seasons of Sherlock beyond the upcoming one.

In limited release, the Robert Redford-at-sea flick All Is Lost is not exactly lost but definitely not doing the type of early business for an awards contender that portends mainstream box office success.  It’s $500,000 from 81 screens equates to the third best per-screen-average among films in release this weekend, but it is a far, far cry from what 12 Years a Slave is doing.

What’s Up Next?: 

Oh, nothing much.  Just a little movie called Ender’s Game.  You know, that Harrison Ford-trains-the-young-soldiers film.  No one probably wants to see that, right?  Well, actually, the other studios are not scared of Ender’s Game.  CBS Films is counter-programming with the older-age skewing Hangover-starring-old-people Last Vegas which combines the talents of Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Robert De Niro.  Moreover, Relativity Media is running out Free Birds, a Thanksgiving-themed animated family film featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson.  All three new films open on Friday (11/1).

Jeez, enough with the numbers already.

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