To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.
So, here’s what happened this weekend at the domestic box office: Lego Movie held better than any recent animated film released at this time of the year, About Last Night won the war of Valentine’s Day romances, RoboCop learned overseas audiences are far cooler with the idea of a RoboCop remake than domestic audiences, and Winter’s Tale needed its own magical white horse to fly away from us as fast as possible. Let’s break it down:
Top 10 Estimated Domestic Totals for the 2/14-2/16 Box Office
1. The LEGO Movie
- Weekend Gross=$50.1 million
- Gross to Date=$130.3 million
- Budget=$60 Million
Foreign: $27.2 million for a new total foreign gross of $51.2 million which adds up to a worldwide gross of $181.5 million
After its huge debut, LEGO Movie dipped mere 27% thist weekend, a fan-freakin’-tastic hold for an animated film at this time of the year. The last major January-April released animated films (Ice Age, Ice Age 2, Monsters Vs. Aliens, The Lorax) dropped an average of 43.5% in their second weekends. Moreover, by the end of President’s Day LEGO Movie ended with a four-day gross of $62.4 million, falling just short of besting Valentine’s Day‘s $63.1 million opening in 2010 which remains the biggest ever President’s Day box office performance.
Since Frozen is now the creme de la creme of animated films, you might be curious to see how LEGO Movie stacks up. Well, it’s not really a fair comparison since Frozen opened over Thanksgiving opposite of Hunger Games while LEGO Movie is prowling the hinterlands that is February for new films meaning they faced very different markets. So, take this with a grain of salt as in the long term LEGO Movie is highly, highly unlikely to replicate the historic performance of Frozen, but…Frozen dropped 55% in its second wide weekend, and its 10-day wide release gross of $109 million is inferior to LEGO Movie‘s 10-day gross of $130 million. So, at the very least LEGO Movie is a stronger starter, but it’s not the start but the longevity of Frozen that has made it historic.
2. About Last Night (Opening Weekend)
- Opening Weekend Gross=$25.6 million
- Budget=$12.5 million
Foreign: Currently scheduled to make its international debut next month.
This is the biggest debut for a Kevin Hart/Michael Ealy/Regina Hall film since the last one they did, Think Like a Man, which put up $33.6 million during its opening weekend in April of 2012. Probably not coincidentally, this is also the best debut for a romantic comedy since Think Like a Man, and it’s also the best debut for any romantic film, drama or comedy, to open over Valentine’s Day since Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams powered The Vow to a $41.2 million opening in 2012.
In other word, this is a strong debut but ever so slightly lower than some might have expected. As already shown above, we don’t have to go back very far to find similar films which did better. Of the recent African American-targeted comedies to enjoy success (Think Like a Man, Best Man Holiday, Ride Along) About Last Night’s debut is the weakest. Perhaps the competition from other new releases (Endless Love, Winter’s Tale) or holdovers (That Awkward Moment) courting the Valentine’s Day audience hurt. It sure couldn’t have helped that Kevin Hart still has another popular movie (Ride Along) out and doing well in theaters. However, by doubling its budget in its opening weekend alone About Last Night is set to be a profitable film for Sony. They’ll take that.
BTW, for those who actually remember the original Rob Lowe/Demi Moore About Last Night from 1986, at 2014 ticket prices its opening weekend would have been $7 million while playing on around 1600 fewer screens than the new About Last Night. Did you know the remake was originally written with a Caucasian cast in mind, and when they cast mostly African-American actors they made almost no changes to the script to reflect the race change? Check out About Last Night‘s screenwriter Lesley Headlines’ guest essay in the Hollywood Reporter for similar insight.
3. RoboCop (Opened on Wednesday)
- Fri-Sun Gross=$21.7 million
- Wed-Sun Gross=$26.4 million
- Budget=$100 million
Foreign: It opened in foreign markets, notably the UK, last weekend. This weekend, it made $35 million for a new foreign total gross of $70 million which adds up to a worldwide gross of $96.6 million.
How does the $21.7 million weekend compare to the original RoboCop? – In 1987, RoboCop debuted with $8 million in over 1,500 theaters (vs. the 3,370 theaters for the new RoboCop) which is like making $17.1 million at 2014 ticket prices.
How does the $21.7 million weekend compare to recent action movie re-makes? – Way ahead of Dredd ($6 million), comfortably in front of Red Dawn ($14.2 million), sadly behind Total Recall ($25.5 million)
How does the $21.7 million weekend compare to recent action films released over the President’s Day holiday? – Slightly worse than A Good Day to Die Hard ($24.8 million), Ghost Rider ($22.1 million), almost even with Unknown ($21.8 million), slightly better than I Am Number Four ($19.4 million)
Their counter-programming worked in the sense that as the sole new “guy movie” out over Valentine’s Day RoboCop managed to beat most of the competition. However, as an event film carrying a budget of exactly $100 million a $21-26 million debut is not quite good enough. Luckily, they are cleaning up overseas, making more from combined international markets than any other movie this weekend. Plus, they still have releases in China, Brazil, and Japan on the horizon. For an analysis as to why Hollywood keeps cranking out remakes like RoboCop even though most fail check out this Vulture article.
4. The Monuments Men
- Weekend Gross=$15.5 million
- Gross to Date=$44.1 million
- Budget=$70 Million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $8.9 million which now adds up to a worldwide gross of $53 million.
Monuments Men is a failed Oscar contender which now represents the worst reviewed film of George Clooney’s career as a director. However, after declining a mere 30% this weekend Monument’s Men has passed Ides of March‘s $40.9 million to become the highest domestic grossing film to feature Clooney behind the camera. That sure sounds impressive, but it’s really not since until now the average Clooney-directed film ended with a domestic gross of $32.7 million. As a point of comparison, the Ocean’s 11 trilogy in which Clooney merely starred without writing, directing, or producing averaged a domestic gross of $142 million. He’s an appealing actor who tends to direct passion projects with limited box office appeal. Monuments Men is winning over audiences, and it’s going to keep having to do so considering its $70 million budget.
5. Endless Love (Opening Weekend)
- Opening Weekend Gross=$13.2 million
- Budget=They’re not telling
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $3.9 million which now adds up to a worldwide gross of $17.1 million.
Although a 1980s remake, Endless Love appealed almost exclusively to young women, its opening weekend audience 80% female, 75% below the age of 25. However, its appeal was predominantly isolated to actual Valentine’s Day, with 55% of its weekend gross coming on Friday. This makes it one of the most lopsided debuts of all time, joining the ranks of One Direction: This is Us, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows 2 , Paranormal Activity 4, and all but 1 of the Twilight films as other releases to make over 50% of their opening weekend total on Friday alone. Overall, $13.1 million is a noticeably lower debut than the last romantic drama to open over Valentine’s Day, Safe Haven’s $21.4 million opening just last year.
6. Ride Along
- Weekend Gross=$8.7 million
- Total Gross to Date=$116.1 million
- Budget=$25 Million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $3.4 million which now adds up to a worldwide gross of $119.5 million.
You’d expect About Last Night to somehow impact the performance of Kevin Hart’s other film in the top 10, but instead Ride Along dipped a mere 9.1%, a very strong hold for a film its 5th weekend of wide release. Ride Along is now among the biggest buddy comedies of the past 14 years, soon to pass The Other Guys ($119 million). How Did This Get Made podcast listeners might be interested to learn Jason Mantzoukas is one of Ride Along‘s 4 credited screenwriters, yet he’s still not on Twitter, you guys.
7. Winter’s Tale (Opening Weekend)
- Opening Weekend Gross=$7.2 million
- Budget=$57 million
Foreign: Concurrent to its domestic debut, Winter’s Tale opened in over 40 international territories. Box office estimates for those territories have yet to be released.
This is longtime screenwriter Akiva Goldsman’s directorial debut, but perhaps like his protagonist in Winter’s Tale he’ll find himself randomly presented with a magical white horse to literally fly him away because he’d likely welcome the escape from the grim box office figures. This $7.2 million opening is not Vampire Academy-level embarrassing, but it is at least $1 million less than the openings for 2014 bombs like I, Frankenstein, Devil’s Due, and The Legend of Hercules. It’s not surprising. The trailer were absolutely puzzling, the Valentine’s Day competition was feirce, and critics and audiences alike have greeted Winter’s Tale with barely stifled laughter, particularly during Will Smith’s surprise cameo. It’ll be hard for Warner Bros. to ever spin this into a positive, though we don’t know for sure how bad this is because various sources have reported the budget was as low as $46 million and as high as $75 million ($57 million is according to The Hollywood Reporter).
- Weekend Gross=$6.2 million
- Total Gross to Date=$376.4 million
- Budget=$150 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $579.7 million which now adds up to a worldwide gross of $956.1 million.
Frozen continues not going away, padding its box office stats as precursor to its inevitably huge home video sales upon its Blu-Ray/DVD release and likely long-running, beloved Broadway musical a little further down the role. With $955.7 million worldwide, it seems set to soon pass Despicable Me 2‘s $970.7 million, which would make it the second highest grossing film released in 2013, trailing only Iron Man 3.
9. Lone Survivor
- Weekend Gross=$4 million
- Total Gross to Date=$118.4 million
- Budget=$40 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $9.2 million (almost entirely from France, Spain, and the UK) which now adds up to a worldwide gross of $127.6 million.
Lone Survivor is already, by a relatively wide margin, the highest domestic grossing film to fictionalize events related to the recent American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you widen that net, it has also made more than Black Hawk Down ($108 million), though not so much after you adjust for ticket price inflation ($156 million).
10. That Awkward Moment
- Weekend Gross=$3.4 million
- Total Gross to Date=$21.5 million
- Budget=$8 million
Foreign: Currently, its total foreign gross is $3.1 million (almost entirely from the UK) which now adds up to a worldwide gross of $24.6 million.
Awkward Moment is the first Focus Features release of the Peter Schlessel era of the art-house division of Universal, who brought him in as the new President to transition away from prestige pictures like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Moonrise Kingdoom, and Dallas Buyer’s Club to highly profitable micro-budget affairs like his Insidious at FilmDistrict. Awkward Moment hasn’t quite delivered the huge gross over budget Schlessel delivered with Insidious, but Focus Features’ investment was a minimal $1.5 million purchase fee since Awkward Moment was actually produced independently. It has thus far performed slightly ahead of the pace of last year’s vaguely similar Don Jon, and studio reported demographic figures indicate over half of their audience has been female.
What Happened Outside of the Top 10?
Who Fell Out of the Top 10?: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (#9 to #12), Vampire Academy (#7 to #13), The Nut Job (#8 to #15), and Labor Day (#10 to #17)
Who Won the Race of Awards-Contenders?: American Hustle hung on to the #11 spot for the second week in a row, pushing its domestic total to $141.5 million. Elsewhere, due to huge overseas business The Wolf of Wall Street has now become the highest worldwide grossing release of director Martin Scorsese’s career.
What’s Up Next?: Kevin Costner tries to do the Liam Neeson in Taken thing with 3 Days to Kill, and the director of the Resident Evil films (Paul W.S. Anderson) gives us a volcano erupting real nice like in Pompeii. If Doctor Who‘s fourth season episode “Fires of Pompeii” is any indication we can expect a madman in a blue box to save one individual family while allowing all others to turn to ash.