Vow, Safe House on fire at the box office
By John Hamann
February 12, 2012
Journey 2: Thy Mysterious Island is third this weekend, as The Rock manages to breathe life into a questionable franchise. Journey 2 managed to exceed the gross that the Brendan Fraser version of Journey to Center of the Earth earned in 2008 (when 3D was still a fairly new concept). The 3D sequel took in $27.6 million this weekend from 3,470 venues, and had a venue average of $7,943. It also had a remarkably strong Friday-to-Sunday multiplier of 4.11, so it clearly became the choice for families as the weekend progressed. Because it was competing with The Phantom Menace for 3D screens, Journey 2 had a lot going against it, but the solid casting of The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) and Michael Caine put this one back into the money. Journey 2 cost about $80 million to make - $35 million more than the original - but with this opening, along with $40 million in overseas grosses already counted, this Warner Bros. release will make out just fine.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is back, this time in 3D, and will likely pay for any losses George Lucas took with Red Tails. Like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast polishes, The Phantom Menace also played to its legions of fans, taking in an extremely solid $23 million this weekend. Out to only 2,655 venues, the 3D conversion earned an average of $8,663. This re-release is not all that un-similar to the re-release of A New Hope back in January 1997, where the film was spruced up and earned $36 million. It stayed on top for three consecutive weekends in 1997, and brought in more than $120 million. Thankfully, the same thing won't happen here.
Fifth spot goes to last weekend's winner Chronicle (that's what happens when four big films all overperform). After earning $22 million in its debut last weekend, Chronicle gets knocked back down to size this weekend, as it can only manage a weekend gross of $12.3 million. That gives the Fox release a drop of 44% compared to last weekend, but let's remember that the budget here is only $12 million, which means Fox has likely seen a profit already. Chronicle will likely see $60 million before all is said and done, and will probably see big business on home video. Its current total is $40.2 million.
Sixth is Daniel Radcliffe and The Woman in Black, last weekend's number two film at the box office. Like Chronicle, this one also got knocked down this weekend, as it earned $10.3 million and dropped 51% compared to last weekend. For CBS Films, The Woman in Black is going to be an even better investment than Fox had with Chronicle. While Woman cost $17 million to make, CBS Films picked up the domestic rights for only $3 million and will likely earn just short of 20 times that amount. So far, the spooker has earned $35.4 million.
The Grey lands in seventh, as the Liam Neeson flick fails to find any traction. The Grey earned $5.1 million in its third weekend, and was off a hefty 45% compared to the previous frame, where it fell 53%. While no hit, Open Road is not going to eat it on this one, as the upstart spent only $8 million acquiring domestic rights to a film that has so far grossed $42.8 million. Had the product released in the weekend after The Grey hit screens not been so powerful, I think this one would have lasted somewhat longer.