Friday Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
August 25, 2012

Jazz knife hands!

Last weekend was one of the best in the history of August box office. For only the second time ever, seven titles earned over $10 million in a single August weekend. For a month that is historically the summer’s dumping ground, this was quite an impressive feat. Alas, seven days ago feels like forever now. As we learned from Friday’s box office, summer is over; The Avengers feels like forever ago.

Let’s start with the shameful. There were three new openers this week. Judging by their box office performances, you must not have known this. The BEST performer of the three was Premium Rush, which earned just under $2 million on Friday. It finished in eighth place. Yes, seven titles already in release all surpassed the strongest debut. Premium Rush is probably looking at a $6 million weekend and the box office equivalent of the lifespan of a fruit fly.

Hit and Run is the next most popular new title. It finished in tenth place yesterday with $1.4 million. After three days in release, it has a running total of $2.6 million, which is truly pathetic. It should earn $6 million over five days, meaning it needs two days longer to match Premium Rush’s paltry total. And the producers of The Apparition would kill for that total. Its $1.2 million on Friday isn’t even good enough to make the top ten. The movie is looking at a $3 million weekend as well as a “Say something funny about…” topic in Monday Morning Quarterback.

The number one film for the second consecutive Friday was The Expendables 2. The Sylvester Stallone and Friends action flick earned $3.8 million. This is a 64% drop from last Friday’s $10,494,145. The glass half-full aspect of The Expendables 2 is that its current box office is $42.6 million. The glass half-empty thought process is that The Expendables had already grossed $53,321,946 after eight days. In case you are wondering, that movie’s first-to-second Friday decline was a similar 63%.

The Expendables 2 has earned an additional $23 million internationally so its current global take is around $65 million. The first Expendables feature had a 3.43 weekend multiplier (weekend box office divided by Friday box office) during its second frame. I do not expect such a strong hold for The Expendables 2. A $12.3 million is my current expectation.

Finishing in second and third place yesterday are the same titles from last Friday, The Bourne Legacy and ParaNorman. The fourth Bourne movie accrued $2.75 million yesterday, a 48% decline from last Friday’s $5,310,495. The Jeremy Renner action flick has a running tally of $78.9 million after 15 days. It is in line for an $8.8 million second weekend. Yes, after seven titles finished with $10+ million last weekend, there will only be one movie in double digits this frame unless The Bourne Legacy holds extraordinarily well. ParaNorman earned $2.3 million yesterday, almost exactly a 50% drop from last Friday’s $4,598,833. It should earn $7.6 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total to $27.2 million.

With so many failures at the box office this weekend, the biggest story is the fourth place release. Rarely do we focus our discussion upon titles outside the top three. We have a rare exception this week. Obama’s America 2016 is a film I evaluated in Thursday’s Daily Box Office Analysis column. At the time, I emphasized the fact that this documentary will probably perform better than expected for an expanding film due to its free advertising in the news and various social media forums.

This is exactly what transpired as the Rocky Mountain Pictures release earned $2.28 million on Friday with a per-location average of $2,087. I mentioned in the prior conversation that its per-location average was $7,365 in 169 venues last week. Its Friday average in 1,090 play dates was the three-day equivalent of $6,261. This would be only a 15% drop in the face of expansion over a factor of six.

Realistically, the movie should be frontloaded a great deal this weekend as those most passionate about seeing Obama’s America 2016 went on Friday. I am anticipating a 2.5 weekend multiplier and a total of $5.7 million. I had mentioned on Thursday that I expected a weekend in the range of $5.2 million so this is a bit better than anticipated.

The story, of course, is the fact that the documentary will finish in fourth place this weekend. This gives the right wing media a chance to trumpet the movie’s tremendous appeal to movie goers. In reality, the $2.28 million tally would have been good enough for ninth place last Friday. This is a scheduling quirk more than anything else. The failure of the openers combined with the overall weakness of the top ten has led to a higher placement than normal for a relatively weak performer. Of course, by documentary standards, this is a massive hit and that aspect should not be overlooked.