To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.
So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein bombed, as everyone expected. Otherwise, the list stayed almost exactly the same, Ride Along, Lone Survivor, and The Nut Job repeating their 1-2-3 act atop the chart. Frozen passed $800 million worldwide, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’s probably won’t re-start that franchise for Paramount, American Hustle continues chugging away nicely for Sony, and August: Osage County has become a nice mid-tiered performed for the Weinstein Company. Let’s break it down:
Top 10 Actual Domestic Totals for the 1/24-1/26 Box Office
1. Ride Along
- Weekend Gross=$21.2 million
- Total Gross to Date=$75.5 million
- Budget=$25 Million
Foreign: It is not scheduled to open anywhere else until early March.
This Kevin Hart-Ice Cube buddy comedy opened bigger than expected last week, as in it had the biggest ever performance for a film opening over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. This made Ride Along the second African-American-targeted comedy in as little as 2 months to open huge after Best Man Holiday put up $30 million over its opening weekend in November despite having to contend with Thor: The Dark World. However, Best Man Holiday fell off by nearly 60% in its second weekend, and ended with a total domestic gross of $70 million. Ride Along might have longer legs, having already surpassed the $70 million mark in its second weekend, falling only 49% from its huge opening.
Kevin Hart has spent the past couple of years building up his audience through the stand-up circuit and making appearances in films like This is the End. He turned his stand-up concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain into a quiet box office winner this past summer ($32 million domestic, which is excellent for a film of that type), but also starred in the mostly ignored Grudge Match. Now, he has two more movies due out in 2014, the romantic comedy About Last Night in February and Think Like a Man Too in June. Plus, he just sold a semi-autobiographical pilot to ABC. All of a sudden, 2014 is the year of Kevin Hart.
2. Lone Survivor
- Weekend Gross=$12.9 million
- Total Gross to Date=$93.9 million
- Budget=$20 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $4.6 million (almost entirely from France and Spain) which now adds up to a worldwide total of $98.5 million.
Lone Survivor was a passion project for star Mark Wahlberg, and marks a career turnaround for director Peter Berg after crashing and burning last year with Battleship (at least as far as the domestic box office is concerned). It was eligible for Oscar nominations, but went mostly ignored outside a couple of technical categories. However, there is enough demand for this movie that Universal actually expanded into nearly 200 more screens this weekend, kind of a big deal since they were already playing on nearly 3000 screens. It will have passed $100 million at the domestic market alone by this time next weekend.
3. The Nut Job
- Weekend Gross=$12.1 million
- Total Gross to Date=$40 million
- Budget=$30-42 million ($30 million after tax breaks)
Foreign: There is no current estimate as to foreign gross; it made its international debut in at least 4 countries this weekend.
Open Road Films and its South Korean partners on Nut Job already commissioned a sequel, scheduling it for a January 2016 release. That might seem a bit odd since altogether The Nut Job hasn’t really made a ton of money as far as the going average for an animated film these days. However, for two weeks in a row it has managed to pry kids away from Frozen, and its opening was the second biggest in Open Road’s history behind The Grey. It fell 36% this weekend, which is good but not great for an animated film.
- Weekend Gross=$9.1 million
- Total Gross to Date=$347.9 million
- Budget=$150 million
Foreign: $20.2 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $462.5 million which now adds up to a worldwide total of $810.4 million.
Will Frozen ever stop? Every week we look up, and it has crossed some other milestone, falling off around 20% at the domestic market every weekend and absolutely killing it overseas. The milestone this time? It’s now passed $800 million worldwide, making it the second biggest original animated film of all time behind only Finding Nemo. Plus, its $9 million domestic gross for this its 9th weekend of wide release is the best such 9th weekend behind only My Big Fat Greek Wedding, E.T., Home Alone, Avatar, and Titanic. That’s right – Frozen has officially become as unstoppable as such beloved box office behemoths as E freakin’ T. Thirsty for more, Disney will now be releasing a sing-a-long version of the movie in theaters across the country. Plus, it still has China and Japan. Frozen will never stop. It will be like a president we keep wanting to elect, eventually voluntarily removing itself from theaters like setting term limits or something.
5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
- Weekend Gross=$9 million
- Total Gross to Date=$30.3 million
- Budget=$60 million
Foreign: $14.3 million this weekend for a new total foreign gross of $46.5 million which now adds up to a worldwide total of $77 million.
Maybe Frozen could spread that wealth around a little because Shadow Recruit is dying out there, man. Sure, it only fell 43% this weekend, which is actually pretty good, but a 10-day domestic gross of $30 million after costing $60 million to produce does not a new franchise make. Paramount would very much so like this to kickstart their Jack Ryan franchise, with tentative plans to also begin a sister series of films about Tom Clancy character Jack Clark, the two franchises connected by the character played by Kevin Costner in Shadow Recruit. The only way that still has a remote shot of happening is if Shadow Recruit continues performing as well as it has overseas.
Prior to Shadow Recruit, the average Jack Ryan movie averaged a total domestic gross of $92 million, $168 million after you adjust for inflation.
6. I, Frankenstein (Opening Weekend)
- Opening Weekend Gross=$8.6 million
- Budget=$65 million
Foreign: Concurrent to its domestic debut, I, Frankenstein also opened in 17 foreign countries most notably Russia. We don’t yet know how much it made over there.
For all the good things to be said about Ride Along, Lone Survivor, and The Nut Job, what I, Frankenstein just did is more in line with what you’d expect from a January release. January is normally a month dominated by carryover business from December releases and awards contenders. Beyond that, the month is a dumping ground for troubled films for which the studios have low to non-existent expectations. As a result, January is usually the lowest cumulative grossing month of the year for Hollywood. The last time that wasn’t true was in 2009 thanks mostly to Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Taken. Recent January stinkers include Parker, The Last Stand, Haywire, Man on a Ledge, Extraordinary Measures, Leap Year, Mad Money, and this year’s The Legend of Hercules.
However, even with all of that, what I, Frankenstein just did was…horrible. Based upon Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel, the incredibly crappy looking I, Frankestein features Aaron Eckhart most likely openly wondering what gypsy he crossed to curse him to have once been Two-Face in The Dark Knight but now starring as Frankenstein’s monster in a film whose trailer audiences openly laughed at. Last January’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters looked pretty bad, too, but it actually made $19 million its opening weekend on the way toward a domestic/worldwide gross of $55 million/$225 million. Three of the four Underworld films were January releases, and they all looked pretty schlocky yet they managed to make at least $20 million in their opening weekends. The point is there have been many similar films to be dumped in January, and they managed to kind of flourish. Frankenstein just flat out tanked. It didn’t even manage to at least make as much as The Legend of Hercules, which pulled in $8.8 million earlier this month despite playing on nearly 1,000 fewer screens than Frankenstein.
According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, it might be even worse than it looks: around 60% of Frankstein‘s gross is attributable to 3D ticket sales. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter it’s not that bad because Frankstein‘s distributor, Lionsgate, only covered the marketing costs and a very minuscule portion of the budget. Still, thank Katniss they’ve got Hunger Games because after Frankstein and Ender’s Game they’re have two high profile duds in a row.
7. American Hustle
- Weekend Gross=$7 million
- Total Gross to Date=$127 million
- Budget=$40 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $35.3 million from limited release which now adds up to a worldwide total of $162.4 million.
Within days, American Hustle will have passed David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook ($135 million) to become the highest domestic grossing film of his career. Hustle has been the rare Hollywood film as of late to gather an all-star cast (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner), and turn into a box office winner. 2013 was littered with the corpses of films who couldn’t pull that off (Runner, Runner, The Counselor, Out of the Furnace, etc.).
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
- Weekend Gross=$5.4 million
- Total Gross to Date=$98.4 million
- Budget=$100 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $77 million which now adds up to a worldwide total of $175.5 million.
This is a 3-hour film featuring people we like (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill) doing horrible, hedonistic stuff, yet it continues to be among the big box office winners of the late December releases. It’s also had some huge openings overseas as of late, and will cross the $100 million at home in a couple of days.
9. August: Osage County
- Weekend Gross=$5.04 million
- Total Gross to Date=$26.5 million
- Budget=They’re Not Telling
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $8.9 million from very limited release which now adds up to a worldwide total of $35.4 million.
Audiences continue turning out for Osage County, which features Meryl Streep delivering a now Oscar-nominated performance Vulture recently described as being so big you can practically see it from space.
10. Devil’s Due
- Weekend Gross=$2.7 million
- Total Gross to Date=$12.8 million
- Budget=$7 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $5.8 million from limited release which now adds up to a worldwide total of $18.7 million.
It’s the second weekend of a horror film. You know what that means – it’s time for a game of HOW-FAR-DID-IT-DROP?
That’s around on par with what Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones did earlier this January. It’s not rocket science – make the horror movie on the cheap, market it at the right time of the year, get a big opening weekend, and bada bing, bada boom your profit margin will be astronomical. The problem is what happens if your opening weekend kind of sucks. Well, that’s Devil’s Due which will probably be gone from theaters soon, destined to either be completely forgotten or someday found and cultishly adored on home video.
What Happened Outside of the Top 10?
Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: Her (#10 to #11).
Who Won the Race of Awards-Contenders?: Isn’t this hilarious – this year’s best picture race at the Oscars is too close to call, especially after the Producers Guild couldn’t decide and gave it to both Gravity and 12 Years a Slave in a tie. Well, the same thing kind of just happened at the box office. Dallas Buyers Club (not considered a serious Best Picture contender, though), Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave have all been re-released, Buyers Club actually receiving its first nationwide release. How much did they each make this weekend? That’s right – the tied with $2 million a piece. Buyers Club‘s domestic total is now up to $20.4 million, Gravity‘s is $261.2 million, and 12 Years has $43.5 million.
What’s Up Next?: A relatively quiet weekend featuring a new guys-being-guys romantic comedy That Awkward Moment starring Michael B. Jordan and Zac Efron, and director Jason Reitman’s (Juno, Up in the Air) would-be awards contender Labor Day getting dumped in January with little fanfare and rather tepid critical acclaim, even if Kate Winslet is her reliably solid self in it. Both come out on Friday (1/31).
NOTE: The above box office figures were updated 1/28/2014 to reflect the actual totals as opposed to estimated totals. The major change? Wolf of Wall Street actually finished 8th instead of 9th, as previously estimated.