Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office Decoded: Ender’s Game Has Just-OK $28 Million Domestic Opening, Thor Has Amazing $109 Million Foreign Opening

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: Ender’s Game proved yet again that finding the next Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, or Bella Swan remains a mostly failed endeavor for Hollywood, Bad Grandpa had the second-best second week hold in Jackass film franchise history, and newbies Last Vegas and Free Birds opened soft.  Oh, yeah, also, at the worldwide box office Thor: The Dark World pulled in over $100 million.  Can next Friday please get here now so those of us in the domestic market can see it?  Please?

Let’s break it down:

Top 10 Estimates for the 11/1-11/3 Weekend Box Office (Domestic)

1. Ender’s Game  (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$28 million
  • Budget=$110 million

Foreign: Opened in 5 markets over the past two weeks, adding 4 more this weekend to coincide with its domestic debut.  So far, it has grossed $9.1 million from the foreign market for a combined total worldwide gross of $37.1 million.

Ender’s Game has been described as Harry Potter meets Hunger Games.  Of course, that’s more a description of the plot, not box office potential.  After all, the average Harry Potter movie opened with $108 million, and Hunger Games had a monster debut north of $150 million last year.  Ender’s Game is not in the same league.  Not even close.  Instead, it opened in the same ballpark as 2013’s other big sci-fi films, i.e., Oblivion ($37 million opening/$87 million domestic total), After Earth ($27 million opening/$60 million domestic total), and Elysium ($28 million opening/$92 million domestic total).  The problem, though, is that each of those films made over two-thirds of their overall money from the international box office, eventually positioning Oblivion and Elysium as financial success stories and After Earth just barely failing to break even.  Ender’s Game already has a disappointing sub-$2 million opening in the U.K. to its name, and some serious direct competition from Thor: The Dark World and Hunger Games: Catching Fire on the way.  Harrison Ford can’t grumble the film’s way past that.

At the very least, Ender’s Game managed to open far higher than recent YA-novel adaptations like Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and The Host.  In factits $28 million is the biggest opening for a non-Harry Potter-Twilight-Hunger Games YA-novel adaptation since the first Percy Jackson made $31 million in 2008.  Of course, Ender’s also cost quite a bit more to make than most of those, but let’s ignore that and let them have a happy moment.

2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Bad Grandpa

  • Weekend Gross=$20.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$62 million
  • Budget=$15 million

Foreign: So far, it has $17.6 million total foreign gross from 10 foreign markets for a combined total worldwide gross of $79.6 million.  Its most notable markets have been the U.K. and Germany.

Well, shut my mouth.  The history for the most recent two Jackass sequels is one of larger-than-expected opening weekends followed by an at least 50% drop in the second weekend on the way toward a healthy but quickly fading box office intake.  Well, Bad Grandpa just re-wrote the script, dropping a mere 36% in its second weekend (the second-best hold in franchise history, behind only Jackass: The Movie).  As a result, Bad Grandpa is now on track to easily end up the second highest-grossing Jackass movie of all time, above the $64 million of Jackass: The Movie and $72 million of Jackass: Number Two but south of the $117 million for Jackass: 3D.  The same is still true even after you adjust for ticket price inflation.  Wow.  All this brand apparently needed was a central storyline to streamline the hijinks ala Borat.

3. Last Vegas (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$16.5 million
  • Budget=$28 million

Foreign: Only playing in 2 foreign markets (Turkey and Hungary); no estimate as to box office performance yet.

As star Michael Douglas has joked when promoting the film, Last Vegas was basically pitched as a sexagenarian version of The Hangover.  Those films averaged domestic openings of $57 million.  That sure makes Last Vegas‘ opening look bad.  However, expecting Last Vegas to actually do business on par with The Hangover, though, would be foolish.  Actually, considering Last Vegas‘ modest budget a near $17 million opening is not bad.  Heck, it’s better than Robert De Niro’s other 2013 films (The Big Wedding, The Family) but only around half the business Morgan Freeman’s other 2013 film (Now You See Me, Oblivion, Olympus Has Fallen)s earned on their opening weekends.  You wouldn’t think to compare any of those other than Big Wedding to Last Vegas if not for the stars involved, though, would you?

4. Free Birds (Opening Weekend)


  • Opening Weekend Gross=$16.2 million
  • Budget=$55 million

Foreign: Playing in 15 different foreign markets; no estimate as to box office performance yet.

There have now been 9 computer animated films to open wide at the domestic box office this year (Escape from Planet Earth, The Croods, Epic, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, Turbo, Planes, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Free Birds).  Unfortunately, Free Birds now has the distinction of having the second worst-opening weekend of all of them, making just barely more than Escape from the Planet Earth’s $15.8 million from February.  Considering that they both also have sub-30% RottenTomatoes approval ratings, Planet Earth’s $57 million final domestic total is good guide as to Free Birds‘ likely end total.  Free Birds will likely struggle overseas as well where an animated film centered around a unique American holiday (i.e., Thanksgiving) should be a tough sell.

5. Gravity


  • Weekend Gross=$13.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$219.1 million
  • Budget=$100 million

Foreign: $27.1 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $207.5 million and combined  worldwide total of $426 million.

Gravity is starting to lose its IMAX screens to Ender’s Game, and will lose plenty of 3D and IMAX screens to Thor: The Dark World next week.  Yet it remains a money-making machine, dipping only 34%, a very strong hold for a film in its fifth week of release.  At this point, it’s simply a matter of keeping track of where exactly Gravity ranks among the top-grossing films of the year.  It is currently the 8th highest domestic grossing film of 2013 (ahead of: World War Z ; behind: Star Trek Into Darkness), 10th highest worldwide grossing (ahead of: The Wolverine; behind: Star Trek Into Darkness).  It is among only 9 films to gross over $200 million at both the domestic and foreign box office on the year.

6. Captain Phillips


  • Weekend Gross=$8.5 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$82.5 million
  • Budget=$55 million

Foreign: $10 million from 32 foreign territories this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $43.4 million for a  worldwide total of $125.9 million.

Captain Phillips is continually compared to last year’s Best Picture winner Argo (both thrilling, action movies based on a true story, came out in October, awards aspirations).  A side-by-side comparison of how much each film made after their first 24 days reveals that Captain Phillips has leapfrogged Argo, grossing $82.5 million in the same timespan Argo only grossed $75.8 million.  However, Phillips continues to fall off at a slightly higher percentage than Argo did last year drawing into question if it has the legs to equal Argo‘s $137 million domestic total.  Similar to Argo, though, it is certain to be remembered during the awards season.

7. 12 Years a Slave


  • Weekend Gross=$4.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$8.7 million
  • Budget=They’re Not Telling

Foreign: Outside of film festivals, it will not make its international debut until mid-December.

The award for the “it actually had the highest per-screen-average of all films in the top 10” goes to 12 Years a Slave this week, which has now grossed just south of $9 million in limited release in three weeks. It expands nationwide next weekend, but will it manage to make any kind of impact with Thor: The Dark World tracking to absolutely dominate the box office?

8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2


  • Weekend Gross=$4.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$106.1 million
  • Budget=$78 million

Foreign: $11.5 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $70.3 million and combined total worldwide gross of $176.4 million

Faced with its first real competition from another family-friendly animated film in the form of Free Birds, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 went about business as usual in dropping off (33%) in the same range as its drop-offs over the recent competition-free weekends (38%, 34%, 29%, 35%).  It’s still not doing quite as well as the first Cloudy and definitely well behind last year’s performance of Hotel Transylvania, but it’s among the highest grossing animated films of the year.

9. Carrie

Carrie Chloe Grace Moretz

  • Weekend Gross=$3.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$31.9 million
  • Budget=$30 million

Foreign: $5.7 million from 29 foreign markets for a combined total worldwide gross of $37.6 million.  Carrie added a handful of new markets this weekend, but so far it does not appear as if you can count on the foreign market bailing out Carrie‘s under-performance at the domestic market.

The Carrie remake is now only around $2 million short of the 1978 Carrie‘s final domestic gross total of $33.8 million.  Yay!  At 2013 ticket prices, the 1978 Carrie would have made $127.7 million meaning the Carrie remake is actually nowhere near equaling the business enjoyed by the original.  Boo!   The good news, though, is that while Carrie will fall well short of the business of recent horror film remakes like Evil Dead, The Woman in Black, A Nightmare on Elm-Street, Friday the 13th, and My Bloody Valentine it’s already made more than other recent horror remakes like The Thing, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Fright Night, Let Me In, The Stepfather, Halloween 2, The Last House on the Left.  Incidentally, how much of a boost did Carrie get this past week from being the only horror film out during Halloween?  Business went up 8% on Halloween; other than that, Carrie‘s business dropped off at least 40% every day over the past week.

10. The Counselor


  • Weekend Gross=$3.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$13.3 million
  • Budget=$25 million

Foreign: $3.4 million from 3 foreign markets for a combined total worldwide gross of $16.7 million.

Heck, after The Counselor‘s horrible reviews and D grade from CinemaScore last weekend a drop-off of only 60% in its second weekend is arguably not nearly as bad as expected.  Maybe there are still just enough stragglers around swayed by the film’s high quotient of star power to prevent it from dropping out of the top 10 after just one week.


What Happened Outside of the Top 10?

Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: Escape Plan (from #7 to #11) and Enough Said (from #9 to #13).

Notable Performances from Films In Limited Release: Richard Curtis’ time-travel-themed romantic comedy About Time made little noise with $1.1 million for a per-screen-average over $6,000 from 175 screens. This is notably worse than the business taken in from limited release 2013 indies like Blue Jasmine, Enough Said, Instructions Not Included, and The Way, Way Back.  About Time may be a non-entity when it expands wide next weekend.  However, About Time is a U.K.-import, and has already grossed over $30 million in the international marketplace.


Notable Performance from the International Box Office: Thor: The Dark World opened with a combined total of $109.4 million from 36 different foreign markets.  As a point of comparison, in 2011 the first Thor opened over the May Day holiday to $89.2 million from 56 foreign markets.  However, the fairer comparison is to look at individual markets.  As per, Thor: The Dark World’s 8 leading markets were the U.K. ($13.4 million), France ($9.4 million), Mexico ($8.2 million), Brazil ($8.1 million), Germany ($7.9 million), Russia ($7.8 million), South Korea ($7.6 million) and Australia ($6.9 million).  When compared with how well the first Thor opened in those same 8 markets two years ago, The Dark World opened 27% higher.  

That’s great, but it’s no Iron Man 3, which opened with $198.3 million from foreign markets its opening weekend earlier this year.  However, Iron Man is Marvel’s most lucrative film character, and Iron Man 3 had the benefit of being the first big release of the summer movie season and first Marvel movie since The Avengers.  Thor is Marvel’s second most lucrative film character, and The Dark World is the second-post-Avengers movie and is coming out in November.  As such, The Dark World was never going to do Iron Man 3-level business.  Instead, they’re likely just happy that it is outpacing the first Thor, and should certainly now end with a higher total foreign gross than Thor‘s $268 million from two years ago.

What’s Up Next?: 

Thor: The Dark World expands to the domestic market (11/8) while rival studios attempt to employ counter-programming by expanding romantic comedy About Time (11/8) wide and grim, serious awards contender 12 Years a Slave (11/8) nationwide.

Jeez, enough with the numbers already.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: