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Weekend Wrap-Up

MIB3 Bumps Avengers, But Cools Box Office

By John Hamann

May 27, 2012

Is the green screen on fire?

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The Memorial Day weekend is just that at the box office this weekend, as Marvel's The Avengers – the much-hyped, well loved, box office super-hit, is forced to make way for Men In Black 3, a film that most of our movie collective could really give a rat's ass about. The day had to happen for The Avengers, and it came on its 22nd day of release after taking in more than $485 million in North America alone – it fell to number two. That leaves us with the shrug that is MIB3 – so we wait until Prometheus opens in two weeks, or we might have something if Snow White and the Huntsman is as good as Charlize Theron looks in the trailer.

Our number one film of the weekend is Men In Black 3, which failed to rise to the heights it needed to, but didn't out-and-out collapse the way Battleship did last weekend (and did again this weekend). Over the three-day portion of the Memorial Day Weekend frame (Friday-to-Sunday, and including midnights) Men in Black 3 could only muster $55 million, not all that far away from what the first two films opened to over July 4th weekends in 1997 and 2002, respectively. The first Men in Black took in $51.1 million from 3,020 venues in 1997 (and $84 million over five days); MIB2 took in $52.1 million from 3,557 venues in 2002 (and $87 million over five days).




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Over four days, MIB3 will take in about $70 million, but there is no way it will be $80 million plus after five days of release. Not only is it not going to match its predecessors, bu let's remember that MIB3 opened at 4,248 venues, or 1,228 more than the original Men in Black, and 691 more than the sequel. This one was also released in 3D, so likely at least 50% of the tickets sold for the three-quel had the 15% 3D/IMAX premium added. Is MIB3 an epic fail? No, that's Battleship and Dark Shadows. Is it a disappointment? Yes, it certainly is.

One thing that Men in Black 3 was looking for was the family audience. After a Friday number of $18 million (reduced to $16.4 million due to $1.6 million in midnight Thursday sales), The Hollywood Reporter said that 57% of the audience was over 25 (uh-oh). Sony, the studio that put up the $230 million to finance this one (Avengers cost $10 million less to make), was hoping younger audiences would show up on Saturday and Sunday. Did they? Once we take the $1.6 million out of the Friday-to-Sunday total, the weekend becomes $543.4 million. When we divide the $16.4 million adjusted Friday total into the adjusted weekend total, we get a weekend multiplier of 3.25. That means that kids did show up for the PG-13 release, and could be an indication of legs going forward. The Memorial Day weekend has a tendency to skew the normal multiplier due to the long weekend, and the school-set being more available for showings on Sunday night. Over a normal weekend, a sequel like MIB3 would have a multiplier more in the 2.6-2.7 range, which would have given it a Friday-to-Sunday in the mid-$40 millions.


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