Friday Box Office Analysis
By Tim Briody
January 21, 2012
The fourth entry in the Underworld franchise opens to $9.4 million on Friday, more than enough to lead the pack. The Kate Beckinsale-less Underworld 3 opened on this weekend three years ago to $20.8 million after an $8 million Friday. Underworld: Evolution was on this weekend in 2006 and started with $10.2 million on its way to a $26.8 million weekend. So what we've got here is a tired franchise that got a slight bump by the return of its lead actress and a 3D hook. That offset diminishing returns somewhat, but not enough to beat out Evolution, which I'm sure is what they were hoping for. The previous two entries in the franchise make life easy when trying to figure out where Awakening will end up, as it should follow both of those films with a 2.6 multiplier, giving it a $24.6 million weekend.
The Lucasarts produced Red Tails comes in second on Friday with $6 million. The lousy reviews (33% on Rotten Tomatoes) will prevent this story of the Tuskegee Airmen from finding a wider audience. It's in store for a $16.8 million weekend, but don't anticipate a lot of staying power.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Expanding to wide release after playing to six theaters for the previous four weeks, the 9/11-themed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close earned $3.2 million on Friday, placing fourth. The release pattern and sudden jump to 2,600 theaters was probably based on some major awards attention which never materialized. Also deemed "not very good" by most critics, every dollar it makes in wide release is a credit to the power of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Give it a weekend estimate of $9.2 million.
Inexplicably the best reviewed wide release of the weekend, Haywire, starring MMA fighter Gina Carano and directed by Steven Soderbergh, earns $2.9 million. It's going to finish the weekend with $8.5 million for the weekend, but with reviews like that, expect it to find a huge following on Netflix in a couple of months.
Last weekend's winner, Mark Wahlberg's Contraband, drops 57% from last Friday to $3.7 million. That kind of feels about right for that film, because it's really just there. A second weekend of $11 million is in store.
The Beauty and the Beast 3D re-release drops 62.5% to $2.1 million. It might have shot most of its wad with the holiday weekend last week, but it pretty much remains the only good option for families out there right now. It should come in with another $7.1 million for the weekend.
Finally, Joyful Noise loses 50% from last weekend, which is actually not all that bad. Give it a second weekend of $5.7 million.