Evil rules the weekend
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
September 16, 2012
Why did Finding Nemo, one of the best-loved Pixar projects, not match up to the box office heights achieved by The Lion King exactly a year ago? First off, since The Lion King was released in the early ‘90s and had a lot of stunning visuals, it did have a lot to gain with a 3D release. Finding Nemo was already a beautiful, colorful film at the time it was first in theaters, so the addition of 3D didn’t necessarily bring a lot of additional enticement for potential viewers. More important, though, The Lion King is a remarkably beloved film for people who are now in their 20s and early 30s, THE prime target for studios who are looking to excite people enough to get them into theaters. Less than a decade old, Finding Nemo simply doesn’t offer the same nostalgia factor.
Regardless, Disney is going to be very pleased with the additional box office receipts from Finding Nemo. As Pixar’s highest-grossing non-Toy Story property, the re-release will serve to add a nice revenue stream for the studio for very little effort in either financial outlay or advertising cost.
Our third place film is The Possession, which had finished at the top spot each of the previous two weekends as it took advantage of some truly weak competition. This weekend, the Lionsgate release took in an additional $5.8 million, down only 38%. This decline is actually quite exemplary for a horror film, and gives the Sam Raimi production two consecutive weekends with drops under the 50% mark. The movie does have a few proponents championing it (among them horror writer Joe Hill), so perhaps there is a word-of-mouth effect happening amongst aficionados of the genre. It surely cannot be attributed to good reviews, because the film sits at only 37% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. Either way, Lionsgate has to be thrilled with the results. The Possession has so far earned $41.2 million domestically and will be a solid money-maker for the studio once all ancillary revenue is added in.
Lawless, the Shia LaBeouf/Tom Hardy/Guy Pearce bootlegger outlaw film, finishes in fourth place with $4.2 million. At any other point in the box office schedule, this title would have been long forgotten and out of the top ten. Instead, it takes advantage of circumstances to remain in the top five even with its small weekly take. Lawless declined 30% from the previous frame, and now brings its total to $30.1 million.
Fifth place (if estimates hold up) goes to ParaNorman, the well-reviewed stop-motion animated film from Laika and Focus Features. Dropping an excellent 28%, ParaNorman had a weekend take of just over $3 million and brings its domestic total to $49.3 million. It has international box office of just over $20 million. Although it’s not going to finish quite so strongly as Laika’s Coraline did ($75.3 million in 2009), ParaNorman still is looking pretty solid considering its subject matter and the fact that it does not have the benefit of a built-in fan base like its predecessor did.