Weekend Wrap-Up

Marvel's Avengers Sink Universal's Battleship

By John Hamann

May 20, 2012

Black Widow has a contemplative moment amidst the destruction.

New at BOP:
Share & Save
Digg Button  
Print this column
Third goes to Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator, a film obviously not for everyone's taste, but then neither was Borat (Bruno was for no one's taste, save maybe the Little Nicky fanclub). The Dictator opened Wednesday to an okay $4.2 million, but really at that point we knew The Dictator was not going to break out. It dropped to $2.9 million on Thursday, and then as expected bounced up to $5.7 million on Friday. The Dictator finished the weekend with a gross of $17.4 million, well back of the first weekend for Bruno ($30.6 million) and Borat ($26.5 million). Since opening on Wednesday, The Dictator has grossed $24.5 million.

Why didn't this one work? Awareness was high, as Cohen is the best marketer I've ever seen for a movie (just this week, he rode a camel through Paris and threw George Clooney's ex-girlfriend off a yacht in a body-bag). Were North American audiences not ready for this one? Borat didn't seem as dangerous as The Dictator – was that it? Reviews for The Dictator were not nearly as good as that of Borat (91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) or even Bruno (67%), as the rating for The Dictator came in at 61% fresh. One thing these films seem to be is hit and miss. We have moments of hilarity, but we also have long periods of waiting. Maybe audiences are tiring of the schtick. Paramount bet $65 million that this one would open to at least $25 million, and now it will have to work very hard – at home and abroad – to make up for that budget.

Fourth spot goes to last weekend's Avengers roadkill, Dark Shadows. After not getting off the ground very well last weekend with a $29.7 million opening, the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp comedy got hammered again this weekend, grossing only $12.8 million and dropping 57%. Dark Shadows is now in some serious trouble. Let's not forget that Dark Shadows was a $150 million production, and it now appears like $75 million might be a stretch at the domestic box office. That puts a lot of pressure on this one to perform overseas, as it will have to wildly outgross its North American take to even hope to earn a profit. Unfortunately, it's getting creamed by The Avengers worldwide, with an overseas gross so far just over $35 million. Domestically, Dark Shadows has earned $50.9 million.

Fifth is What to Expect When You're Expecting, a movie guaranteed to cut out half the moviegoing population. Based on a self-help book, What to Expect was certainly no Think Like a Man, as the opening weekend gross came in at a soft $10.5 million (Think Like a Man was based on a self-help book and opened to $33.6 million). From Lionsgate, What to Expect opened at 3,021 venues and had a per location average of $3,476. With a Valentine's Day/New Year's Eve type casting strategy (robocalls to any actor looking for work), Lionsgate found Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Banks and Anna Kendrick doing little else and hired them on. Brooklyn Decker also joined the cast, and ends up in two disappointments this weekend as she starred both in this movie and Battleship. She now has two good choices to go with her Golden Raspberry for Just Go With It. Tracking was looking for $20 million from What To Expect, which would have been a solid opening against its $40 million budget (the actors must have been paid in fish). However, with about half the tracking estimate, all of a sudden this one is in some real trouble going forward. The real surprise here is that What to Expect received even worse reviews than Battleship, as it was only 22% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes.


The rest of the top ten are a group of also-rans. Sixth, seventh and eight are the good news stories. Seventh is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is now in 354 theatres. It earned $3.3 million this weekend and had a venue average of $9,181. The Fox Searchlight release has earned $8.2 million domestically, and over $75 million overseas. Seventh is The Hunger Games, which earned another $3 million this weekend and dropped 33%. The Lionsgate release has now earned $391.6 million. Eighth goes to Think Like A Man, the now five-weekend old comedy from Screen Gems. Think earned another $2.7 million and dropped 54%. It now has a running total of $85.9 million.

Ninth and tenth go to The Lucky One and Pirates! Band of Misfits. The Lucky One took in $1.8 million and dropped 57%; while Pirates! took in $1.5 million and dropped 54%. Respectively, they have totals of $56.9 million and $25.4 million.

Overall this weekend, the box office is off against last year. Over the same weekend in 2011, the top 12 films rang up $158 million thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which earned $90.2 million. This weekend, the top 12 pulled in $135 million. Next weekend, Men In Black 3 hits screens, along with the Chernobyl Diaries, with Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom opening in limited release.

Top Weekend Box Office for 5/18/12-5/20/12 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Avengers $55,057,000 - 47% $457,078,000
2 Battleship Universal $25,350,300 New $25,350,300
3 The Dictator Paramount Pictures $17,415,000 New $24,456,000
4 Dark Shadows Warner Bros. $12,770,000 - 57% $50,908,000
5 What To Expect When You're Expecting Lionsgate $10,500,000 New $10,500,000
6 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Fox Searchlight $3,250,000 + 22% $8,247,441
7 The Hunger Games Lionsgate $3,000,000 - 33% $391,631,110
8 Think Like a Man Screen Gems (Sony) $2,700,000 - 54% $85,888,000
9 The Lucky One Warner Bros. $1,765,000 - 57% $56,921,000
10 The Pirates! Band of Misfits Columbia Pictures (Sony) $1,450,000 - 54% $25,362,000
11 The Five-year Engagement Universal $1,075,125 - 68% $27,067,760
12 Chimpanzee Disneynature $702,000 - 60% $27,043,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Crooked Arrows Branded/peck Films $280,390 New $280,390
  Hysteria Sony Classics $40,829 New $40,829
  Elena Zeigeist $9,393 New $13,598
  Virginia Entertainment One $6,311 New $6,311
  Girl In Progress Lionsgate $460,000 - 67% $2,138,014
  Where Do We Go Now? Sony Classics $26,089 + 70% $50,247
  Bernie Millennium $511,067 + 133% $1,144,203
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
Continued:       1       2       3



Need to contact us? E-mail a Box Office Prophet.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
© 2018 Box Office Prophets, a division of One Of Us, Inc.