Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
August 21, 2012

I am an Academy Award nominated screenwriter.

There were four new movies released last weekend. In combination with the three titles released the previous week, 70% of the top ten at the box office is fresh blood. This gives us a lot of new topics to discuss after a month of Batmania.

The number one movie in North America for the straight day was The Expendables 2, the movie that represents the comeback of steroids to such a degree that Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Sammy Sosa should un-retire any day now. Wait, is Canseco currently retired? He tries to announce comebacks more often than Jeff George. I have really moved away from the point here, which is that Sylvester Stallone is back.

The Expendables 2 earned $2,792,129, bringing its current domestic revenue total to $31,383,499. A solid increase on Tuesday would bring the second Expendables movie within an eyelash of the three-day total of the first film. The Expendables attained $34,825,135 on opening weekend, which is more than its successor will manage in five days.

Before we start badmouthing a bunch of old dudes who can still beat us senseless, we should consider that the $100 million production budget is only 22% more than the original cost to create. Given that The Expendables accrued $165 million internationally and the splits have increased over the past two years, the sequel should wind up being a box office winner. Personally, I was expecting quite a bit more from its opening weekend, but that was my mistake.

The Expendables 2 does not have the same level of demand as the original. Acknowledging this, it falls squarely into the “plenty good enough” category right now. Lionsgate did a solid job in estimating the movie’s opening weekend relative to its actual total, so there was nothing disappointing about its weekend splits. This is refreshing after what feels like an entire months of “terrible estimates” by which I mean studio lies. Thank you for being above the fray, Lionsgate.

As expected, $10,494,145 on Friday proved to be best day at the box office for The Expendables 2 with Saturday virtually duplicating that performance with another $10,210,399. There was only a 23% decline to $7,886,826 on Sunday. For comparison, The Expendables fell 11% on Saturday then 19% on Sunday before dropping 59% on Monday. Its Monday gross represented 33.1% of its Saturday income. For The Expendables 2, a 65% Sunday-to-Monday decline is indicative of 27.3% of Saturday’s total. Obviously, The Expendables 2 is slipping a bit faster, as is expected of a sequel.

What we can conclude from the data thus far is that this film will probably behave as most major 2012 sequel releases have. The Expendables 2 will not do as well domestically but its international revenue will be at least as good if not better. This is the new normal for box office.

The features in second and third place yesterday were the titles that were our primary conversation points last week, The Bourne Legacy and The Campaign. I had mentioned last week that the fourth Bourne movie and the Will Ferrell sequel were both trending downward in an alarming manner. I was actually encouraged by the fact that the films only fell 55% and 51% respectively during their second weekends at the box office.

With $1,707,615 yesterday after a $17,057,385 weekend, The Bourne Legacy has now earned $71,326,080. It should be around $86 million after next Sunday, which secures its candidacy for the $100 million club. Made for a relatively frugal $125 million, it has already passed $100 million worldwide. So I struggle to see any downside here.

The Campaign has some rather lackluster word-of-mouth. A 51% second weekend drop is also mediocre for a comedy. Still, $13,127,289 over the weekend plus another $1,531,586 yesterday gives The Campaign a running total of $52,967,412. I mentioned last week that Ferrell rarely has movies that reach $60 million but fail to join the $100 million club. The Campaign is definitely going to be one of those.

ParaNorman finishes in what I consider to be a disappointing fourth place. If you want proof that kids are back in school across North America, look no further than here. ParaNorman’s 64% Sunday-to-Monday decline rivals The Expendables 2 and is worse than every other title in the top 10 save for Sparkle. Family movies should not behave this way during the summer. Then again, we are only technically in the summer at this point.

Even though there is another month left in the season, Hollywood marks the end of the season by when kids return to school. This is when weekday revenue begins to slide. With $1,455,868 yesterday, ParaNorman has now earned $15,542,918. Laika Studios, if the consolation helps any, I absolutely adore your first two films. Coraline was one of my first Disc to Digital purchases in the cloud.

The fifth spot in the top ten is held by The Dark Knight Rises. I mentioned last week that I expected the film to surpass $400 million on its 29th day in theaters. This is exactly what transpired. It wound up earning a respectable $11,011,349, down only 42% from the previous weekend. Another $1,374,465 yesterday gives Batman 7 a running total of $411,161,725.

Consumers do appear to be giving it a look later in its release pattern as they overcome the depression stemming from the events of Aurora, Colorado. The movie has now earned $900 million worldwide and appears all but certain to become the 14th billion dollar earner of all-time. While The Dark Knight will reign supreme domestically, I like the sequel’s chances of being the stronger performer in terms of global revenue. Also, here is a final bit of box office trivia. The Dark Knight Rises is the only movie in the top ten released in July.

Sixth and seventh place are occupied by a pair of recent Wednesday openers. The Odd Life of Timothy Green attempted the same release pattern as Hope Springs. The latter film earned $19,103,178 over its first five days, $14,650,121 of that stemming from weekend revenue. Timothy Green’s first five days of box office were $15,100,918. Interestingly, this is roughly the amount that Hope Springs earned during its second week, $15,960,143. In other words, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is no Hope Springs.

Evaluating the movies individually, Timothy Green grossed $1,276,554 on Monday. This brings its running total to $16,377,472. The movie appears fated for a box office total in the $35-$45 million range, an acceptable amount for a $40 million production. If the Disney feature does any business overseas, it will exit theaters in the black. If not, its modest losses will be counterbalanced by its secondary marketplace revenue from home video release.

Hope Springs is another The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The John Madden release earned $45,592,328 domestically. Hope Springs will surpass that total. The movie fell only 38% during its second weekend. Its Monday box office of $915,393 represents the first time that Hope Springs has earned less than a million dollars on a single day. Still, it has now grossed $35,978,714 after 13 days in theaters. I calculate its final box office performance just north of $50 million. I also could be low-balling that if Hope Springs continues to maintain at the same level in weeks four and five. This is a tremendous result for a $35 million production about sex between old people.

I already mentioned Sparkle’s troubles earlier in this column. The number eight movie in North America earned $874,812 yesterday. As I said, the 69% Sunday-to-Monday drop is the worst in the top ten. The movie’s Sunday total of $2,820,133 was cause for optimism before it fell off a cliff on Monday. I’m not going to read too much into either data point right now. What I will say is that I thought Sparkle had a real chance of breaking out this past weekend. With only $12,518,154 after four days in theaters, it is clearly not a box office factor.

Rounding out the top ten are two of the older titles still hanging around. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days fell a substantial 52% to $3,834,737 over the weekend. On Monday, its drop of 52% to $513,746 is ostensibly modest. Still, its $39,260,804 represents most of its final domestic box office. Dog Days will fall short of Rodrick Rules as expected.

Total Recall’s situation is even grimmer. The Colin Farrell action flick is earning only $409,193 on weekdays now. It is done. After 18 days in theaters, the film has grossed only $52,164,465 against a $125 production budget and negative cost at least $40 million beyond that. While international revenue doubles the overall earnings of the movie, this one will not put a smile on the face of anybody at Sony.

Combined box office revenue for the top ten yesterday was $12.9 million. This is a 10% decline from last Thursday’s $14.3 million. In case you are wondering, there is a Wednesday opener this week that will boost box office. Alas, the film is the Dax Shepard/Bradley Cooper monstrosity, Hit and Run. So, anybody holding out for a hero is going to be every bit as disappointed as Bonnie Tyler.