Audience for The Dark Knight Fails To Rise
By John Hamann
July 29, 2012
Ice Age: Continental Drift is one of the bright spots at the box office as it finishes in second place. After a $20.4 million frame last weekend that carried a 56% drop, Ice Age 4 bounced back a bit from last weekend, earning $13.3 million and falling a much, much better 35%. The last film in this franchise, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, enjoyed only a 34% dip in its second frame, but that was because it opened on a Wednesday and had two big days before getting to the weekend proper, thus helping to prop up that second weekend hold. Ice Age 2: The Meltdown had a 50% decline in its second weekend, so you can see that these Ice Age films are frontloaded regardless. We shouldn't make too much of big percentage declines in their second weekends. Ice Age 3 previously had the best third weekend drop of the franchise at 36.4%, so this weekend's result is clearly good news for Fox. Ice Age 4 has a gross so far of $114.8 million, crossing the $100 million mark on this last Thursday, its 14th day of release.
I don't know if The Dark Knight Rises shooter kept people away from The Watch, or if it might have been the Olympics, or if audiences finally woke up to what a bad film looks like, but The Watch is a good old-fashioned car accident. Despite a cast that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, The Watch stumbled badly this weekend. The comedy with a sci-fi twist almost got beaten by a dance film, earning only $13 million from 3,168 venues. Tracking was never looking for this one to break out, as audiences had seen this one coming even before the Colorado shootings. Tracking was estimating the opening between $14 and $16 million, so weekend total this low isn't really a surprise. The fact that 20th Century Fox put this up against the second weekend of The Dark Knight Rises was telling enough, as they knew they were scheduling a turd. The Watch (formerly known as The Neighborhood Watch prior to George Zimmerman) cost $70 million to make, and has zero chance of even matching that production budget stateside.
Ben Stiller isn't used to his films opening so poorly, even though he doesn't often make very good films. The last time Stiller had a wide release movie debut this low was in 2004, when he released Envy with Jack Black. That film started with only $6.2 million in early May of 2004. Since then, Stiller has been good for $25 million or much more over opening frames. For Vince Vaughn, the deal is the same. His last film, The Dilemma, opened to $17.8 million, his lowest since Old School in 2003, which opened to $17.5 million. This tells me that the 14% fresh rating for The Watch (12 positive reviews out of 72 possible) was spot on, and there is nothing to see here. Still, this is late July, and usually, one could make a film called Feces with Stiller and Vaughn and at least get to $20 million over opening weekend, so it leaves me wondering if The Dark Knight decay is spreading through the box office.
Finishing fourth is Step Up Revolution, the fourth film in the urban dance franchise, and the first where Summit Entertainment is driving the bus without the help from their friends at Disney. Step Up 3 opened to $15.8 million, Step Up 4 stepped back, earning only $11.8 million. These movies are fairly inexpensive to make, have strong opening weekends, and believe it or not, make a ludicrous amount of money overseas (the last, Step Up 3D earned over $100 million outside of the US). Likely costing in the $35 million area, Summit will make money, but it will probably have to wait until overseas grosses are counted.