Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
August 30, 2012
In the month of August, only three movies had captured the number one spot on the box office charts. Yesterday, an unlikely title became the fourth as Lawless upended The Expendables 2. Do not get excited by this turn of events.
Yes, Lawless was the most popular film in North America yesterday. Its less than massive take was $1,136,084. We have reached a point at the end of summer where this amount is good enough for first place. If you think this is a harsh evaluation, please consider that I am simply being consistent with my commentary.
I was nonplussed by the debuts of two other Wednesday openers in August. Those films, Hope Springs and The Odd Life of Timothy Green, grossed $2,265,292 and $2,303,636 respectively on their first day in theaters. Lawless’ $1,136,084 is barely half of those two amounts. Lax standards are becoming an issue as fall box office approaches.
For the box office nerds among us, this creates a solid piece of 2012 summer movie trivia. Since the debut of The Avengers, here are the films that have finished in first place at least one day: Men in Black 3, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Madagascar 3, Brave, Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2 and now Lawless. One of these is not like the others.
The question is whether Lawless joins Prometheus as one of only two movies to spend a single day at the top of the box office. I’m inclined to say no. The aforementioned Hope Springs and The Odd Life of Timothy Green fell 3% and 14% respectively on their second day in theaters. If Lawless behaves similarly, it should win by the narrowest of margins today. To a larger point, Lawless is by all accounts a good film that probably deserves a better box office fate. Edwin Davies’ review the other day convinced me to watch it in the theater rather than waiting for home video. The numbers suggest you will not be joining me in this decision, though.
The much funnier story at the box office yesterday was The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure. No, I have not just strung a few random words together. This is a real thing that exists. I have been jokingly describing it as “soon to be a minor motion picture” and the box office results support the claim.
By earning only $102,564 from 2,160 locations yesterday, The Oogieloves became THE WORST opener of all-time among wide releases. I am not being hyperbolic. It somehow threw under Delgo, a 2008 animated film you do not know. Delgo grossed $127,440 from an identical 2,160 exhibitions. Delgo’s per-location average was $59. This is not a typo.
The Oogieloves garnered almost $25,000 less from the same number of play dates. Its per-location average was $47. Again, this is not a typo. If you bought John Madden Football this week, you paid more at $59.99 than the average theater playing The Oogieloves earned for a day of exhibitions. The performance boggles the mind. The average ticket price right now for a non-3D/IMAX title is roughly $8. At $47 per location, we are talking about a North American average of six tickets sold FOR THE ENTIRE DAY. This performance redefines box office failure. I am still not being hyperbolic.
Combined box office revenue for the top ten yesterday was $7,406,878. This signifies a decline of 23% from Tuesday’s $9,608,453. I blame The Oogieloves.