Friday Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
August 11, 2012

Bond or Bourne? You seem to have a vested interest in both.

As The Dark Knight Rises entered its fourth week in theaters, three major releases attempted to unseat the Batman movie. The titles in question are The Bourne Legacy, Hope Springs and The Campaign. With this much star power, Batman 7 was expected to fall out of first place after 21 days at the top of the box office. In the end, this is exactly what transpired, with the most obvious movie usurping the throne.

The Bourne Legacy is North America’s choice as the number one film on Friday. Jeremy Renner, fresh off his heroic turn as Hawkeye in The Avengers, followed in Matt Damon’s footsteps in the Bourne franchise. BOP chronicled the time frame during which the Bourne trilogy became the most popular espionage franchise on the planet, overtaking the storied James Bond franchise in the process. The Bourne Supremacy opened to $52.2 million while The Bourne Ultimatum accrued a dazzling $69.3 million over its first three days.

No one could reasonably expect a similar opening weekend from The Bourne Legacy, yet another studio-driven attempt to cast a cheaper actor and thereby reboot a franchise that did not need rebooting. We just witnessed Sony struggle mightily with the same premise as The Amazing Spider-Man disappointed. That title opened to $62.0 million, only about 41% of what Spider-Man 3 managed.

The news is better for Universal Pictures. The Bourne Legacy debuted to $14 million on Friday and is positioned to garner $40 million this weekend. This performance would be almost 58% of The Bourne Ultimatum’s $69.3 million. Given that Jeremy Renner is just starting his career as an action hero, there is plenty of room for growth here.

Alas, audiences are lukewarm about the quality of the fourth Bourne film. Only 52% of critics enjoyed the film enough to recommend it. And its B Cinemascore is mediocre at best. Consumers continue to send Hollywood a clear message that cheaper actors are almost never better. Still, enough of them have given the movie a chance that The Bourne Legacy will win the weekend.

Finishing in second place this weekend but potentially winning the box office war is The Campaign. The Will Ferrell/Zach Galafianakis frenemy comedy (is there such a thing?) exceeded expectations on Friday with a $10.3 million debut. As we have seen with Ted, popular comedies have a tendency to excel indefinitely. The timeliness of The Campaign during this election season could lead to its lingering in the minds of consumers over the next couple of months. There is cause for concern over its B- Cinemascore, though. I have always been a bit higher on this film than most, and I anticipate a $30 million estimate tomorrow before actuals reveal it falls a bit shy of that mark.

I discussed the struggles of Hope Springs in Thursday’s Daily Box Office Analysis. The Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones project continues to confound. After a disappointing Wednesday total of $2,265,292, Hope Springs followed with a solid Thursday hold of $2,187,765, down only 3% from its opening day. Hope Springs expanded an impressive 115% to $4.7 million on Friday.

Since Hope Springs has earned $9.2 million through three days, its five-day total should wind up in the $18 million range. Given the lackluster start, this is almost a best case scenario result. The attempt to build word-of-mouth on Wednesday and Thursday appears to be working. Of course, Hope Springs also has a middling B Cinemascore, which means that audiences were largely in a grumpy mood this week.