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Weekend Wrap-Up

The Expendables 2 Flushes Bourne From Top Spot

By John Hamann

August 19, 2012

Chuck Norris inhales carbon monoxide and exhales oxygen.

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With the original Expendables, Lionsgate paid about $20 million of the film's $80 million budget for distribution in North America and Great Britain, and also put up another $40 million to market it. Avi Lerner's Millennium and NuImage Films fronted the production budget's remaining $60 million. This time out, Lionsgate is investing $35 million as well as marketing costs, with Lerner's companies picking up the $65 million balance. At its core, The Expendables franchise is simply that of a B movie, but with the costs and profits at stake, it is much more than that. The press may hammer the fact that the sequel didn't out-gross the original; however, with the action stars involved, the original was like a sequel, with this picture behaving more like a third film in the series.

The Bourne Legacy drops hard this weekend, as it has seen a series of knocks over the last week. After having an estimated opening weekend of $40.3 million, that number got knocked down to $38.1 million on Monday, with Universal surprising no one with their ridiculous over-estimate last weekend. It had an okay Monday-to-Thursday, but earned only $5.3 million on its second Friday, not that much of an uptick from its $3 million Thursday. The Bourne Legacy completed its second weekend with a gross of $17.0 million, off a large 55% from its opening frame. This is not good news for Universal or the studio's planned continuation of the franchise that made Matt Damon a superstar. The first film in the series, The Bourne Identity, opened to a much smaller $27.1 million in 2002 and dropped 44% in its second weekend. That drop brought the gross down to $15.1 million, only a few million away from what Legacy earned this weekend. By next weekend, the original – from a decade ago - will be out-grossing the Jeremy Renner version. Not good.




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The Bourne Legacy cost Universal $125 million to make, and likely another $100 million to market. With the drop this weekend, this Bourne is looking even worse than The Amazing Spider-Man, the other odd reboot release from summer 2012. Spider-Man opened on a Wednesday, so it didn't see the punishing drop that The Bourne Legacy did, falling 44%. However, it did fall 68% in its third weekend, when The Dark Knight Rises opened (and the Aurora shootings took place). The Bourne Legacy does appear to be headed for a $100 million domestic finish, but it's not going to be much more than that, which means Universal will have to rely heavily on foreign grosses to keep the franchise going. On the domestic side, The Bourne Legacy has earned $70 million.

Finishing third is ParaNorman, the latest film from Laika, the makers of Coraline. Out to 3,429 theaters (the highest count ever for Focus Features), ParaNorman did quite well this weekend, earning $14 million and garnering a venue average of $4,085. ParaNorman followed the Coraline trend perfectly. Coraline opened to $4.5 million over its first Friday, whereas ParaNorman earned about $100,000 more. Because Coraline was released in February, it had a strong multiplier at 3.6, as kids aren't as available to see movies on Friday as they are in August. ParaNorman's multiplier came in at 3.11, which leads to the slightly lower opening weekend than Coraline's $16.8 million. ParaNorman was 87% fresh at RottenTomatoes, compared to 90% fresh for Coraline. The biggest similarity that Focus will want to see is legs. Coraline was ridiculously leggy, with an opening-to-total multiplier of 4.46, staying in the top ten for seven weekends, but that may have been a product of the weaker box office season. Travis Knight, who owns Laika with his father, Nike's Phil Knight, said that the budget for Coraline was overstated at between $60 and $70 million, and that ParaNorman cost no more. Should the cost on this one be $60 million, Focus and Laika appear to have another hit on their hands.


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