Weekend Wrap-Up

Doldrums Hammer the Late Summer Box Office

By John Hamann

August 26, 2012

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Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanakis held onto fourth spot with The Campaign, the film that all those people who paid for the anti-Obama doc should have attended. The Campaign, which finished with $13.1 million last weekend, took in $7.4 million this weekend, dropping 43%. Warner Bros. spent $56 million making The Campaign – an expensive gamble in my mind – but with the two stars promoting it endlessly, it has turned into a small hit for the studio, as it has a gross so far of $64.5 million.

That puts The Dark Knight Rises into fifth spot this weekend, as the Bat enjoys its sixth weekend in the top five. The Christopher Nolan film earned another $7.2 million this weekend, but dropped 34% as it lost about 500 venues. This is the fourth consecutive weekend The Dark Knight has kept the drop better than 50%, but still seriously lags behind its predecessor in the Dark Knight series (the second film earned $10.5 million in its sixth weekend). The $250 million blockbuster has now earned $422.2 million domestically, but has now out-grossed The Dark Knight at overseas cinemas, which was a goal for Warner Bros. prior to the opening. The film will also enter the all-time domestic top 10 as early as tomorrow.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green moves up the top ten from its seventh place finish last weekend to sixth this weekend, as a better hold than most propels it up the top ten. After a $10.8 million debut last weekend, the Jennifer Garner film fell only 34%, pulling in a gross of $7.1 million. Sometimes these somewhat manipulative adult fantasy flicks play very well with women and families, which might be the case here. Whatever the case, this is good news for Disney, as Timothy Green is a $40 million budgeted film, and now looks like it might have a chance of getting there. So far, The Odd Life of Timothy Green has earned $27.1 million.

New films dominate the lower ranks of the chart this weekend. The first of them is Premium Rush, the new cycling movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. One didn't need to be rocket scientist to tell this movie wasn't going to work. Gordon-Levitt may have a following, but if Robert Pattinson can't make it happen outside of Twilight, this man-child isn't going to do it either. Premium Rush earned only $6.3 million this weekend, not enough to send it towards its $35 million budget. It had good reviews (75% fresh) but just not enough to get people out to see it.

2016 Obama's America is eighth, as the conservatives find their Michael Moore in the form of Dinesh D'Souza and Gerald R. Moren. Strategically released prior to the Republican Convention, 2016 earned $6.2 million from 1,091 venues, giving it a venue average of $5,717. This "documentary" from Rocky Mountain Pictures (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the Ben Stein discussion about intelligent design) actually finished fourth on Friday, but slipped down the top ten as the weekend went on. It's nice that the conservatives will have something to celebrate this weekend prior to Mitt Romney putting his foot in his mouth at the RNC.


Sony's Hope Springs is ninth, and has an excellent hold again this weekend. The Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones flick took in another $6 million and dropped a slim 34% compared to its $9.1 million finish last weekend. The David Frankel feature cost only $30 million to make, and has now grossed $45 million – not bad for a comedy aimed at the older demographic.

Tenth is Hit and Run, from real-life boyfriend/girlfriend Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell. Hit and Run earned only $4.7 million, and while that may be less than what Premium Rush did this weekend, Hit and Run will end up being more successful. While Premium Rush cost $35 million to make, Hit and Run cost $2 million. The problem for distributor Open Road is that they spent another $20 million to market it, but Premium Rush likely cost twice that for advertising.

The other new release this weekend was the laughably bad The Apparition, but audiences caught the smell before putting their money down. Released to only 810 theaters, The Apparition grossed only $3 million this weekend, finishing 12th. At the time of this writing, The Apparition was 0% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, one of the few films to receive that score this year. Dark Castle paid $17 million to make The Apparition, so hopefully Joel Silver makes stars Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan work at McDonald's to make that money back.

Overall this weekend, the box office is on a similar pace to where it was last year, but that weekend wasn't all that successful either. Over the same weekend in 2011, The Help repeated on top despite being in weekend three, and the top twelve films combined for $74.8 million. This year, the top 12 took in $83.4 million, and 11% increase over last year. Will things improve next weekend? No, no, no, no, no. Next weekend brings the Labor Day frame, and films that are opening include Lawless with Shia LaBeouf, a horror film called The Possession (sounds a lot like The Apparition), and something called The Oogieloves.

Top Weekend Box Office for 8/24/12-8/26/12 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Expendables 2 Lionsgate $13,500,000 - 53% $52,313,944
2 The Bourne Legacy Universal Pictures $9,281,160 - 46% $85,467,375
3 ParaNorman Focus Features $8,545,883 - 39% $28,274,234
4 The Campaign Warner Bros. Pictures $7,440,000 - 43% $64,543,000
5 The Dark Knight Rises Warner Bros. $7,155,000 - 35% $422,188,000
6 The Odd Life of Timothy Green Walt Disney Pictures $7,100,000 - 34% $27,100,000
7 Premium Rush Sony/Columbia $6,300,000 New $6,300,000
8 2016 Obama's America Rocky Mountain $6,237,517 + 401% $9,075,393
9 Hope Springs Sony/Columbia $6,000,000 - 34% $45,000,000
10 Hit & Run Open Road Films $4,675,026 New $5,868,060
11 Sparkle Sony/Columbia $4,200,000 - 64% $18,900,000
12 The Apparition Warner Bros. $2,955,000 New $2,955,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Sleepwalk With Me IFC Films $75,000 New $75,000
  Samsara Oscilloscope $73,792 New $73,792
  Little White Lies Mpi Pictures $26,500 New $26,500
  Somewhere Between Long Shot Factory $7,877 New $7,877
  Cosmopolis $153,420 + 118% $447,240
  Robot & Frank Samuel Goldwyn $290,950 + 791% $342,259
  Compliance Magnolia $48,000 + 192% $73,344
  Death By China Area 23a $3,100 - 46% $10,386
  2 Days in New York Magnolia Pictures $102,000 + 2% $290,674
  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Twentieth Century Fox $2,225,000 - 42% $42,862,600
  Total Recall Sony/Columbia $1,850,000 - 47% $55,263,000
  Ice Age: Continental Drift 20th Century Fox $1,660,000 - 45% $153,408,775
  Ted Universal Pictures $935,685 - 39% $214,751,060
  Beasts of the Southern Wild $460,000 - 18% $8,856,593
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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