Audiences are Paranormal but not Cross
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
October 21, 2012
Capturing second place once again is Argo, which held up spectacularly in weekend two. After debuting last weekend with $19.5 million, Ben Affleck’s historical thriller dropped only 15% to $16.6 million. We’ve been talking over the last week about Argo’s wide-ranging appeal, as both critics and audiences at large are raving about the film. Ten days in, it continues to have a 95% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, while its Cinemascore was an A+. Clearly, the word is getting out that this film is worth the time and money it takes to get out to the theater. So far, Argo has earned $43 million. All of these factors bode very well for the movie’s awards potential, too. Right now, Argo is the front-runner in the Best Picture discussion, though we obviously have a lot of movies yet to be released before the race can truly shape up.
Taking advantage of its holiday and family-friendly nature, Hotel Transylvania was able to move up a spot to third place. The CGI animated film from Sony Pictures was down only 22% as it earned $13.5 million this weekend. After a couple of missteps, Adam Sandler finds himself back on track thanks to his voice work in Hotel Transylvania. He can add it to his collection of films that have earned $100 million or more, as Hotel Transylvania now has a cumulative total of $119 million.
Fourth place goes to Taken 2, which actually holds up decently in its third weekend. Down 39% to $13.4 million, it’s not showing the same staying power as the original film did, but that was more or less going to be impossible given the less enthusiastic word-of-mouth and much larger opening weekend. Taken 2 becomes the 20th film of 2012 to join the $100 million club, as its domestic total is now $106 million. With a worldwide gross of more than $240 million, it has already surpassed the original’s $225 million by a long shot, with plenty more to come. Go Liam, go!
Vaunted writer/director Tyler Perry struggled this weekend. The fifth place movie, Alex Cross, is his first attempt to anchor a major motion picture that he did not create. Perry embraced the role made (somewhat) famous by Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.
Those movies released in 1997 and 2001 debuted to $13.2 million and $16.7 million, respectively. Even before adjusting for inflation, Alex Cross falls short of those performances, grossing an estimated $11.8 million. After only two days (and a Sunday estimate) in theaters, Alex Cross has already become a discussion of what went wrong.
Perry’s most recent release, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, debuted to $25.4 million on its way to a domestic take of $65.7 million. This was less than four months ago. Fast forward to now and a title with neither Tyler Perry nor Madea in the title has become the second lowest opening weekend of his career, barely edging Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls at $11.2 million.
This turn of events is troublesome. One of the most recognizable talents of this generation is starring in an adaptation of one of the best-selling novels of the 2000s. Why then is Alex Cross looking up at the opening weekend of, say, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days? The obvious answer is that consumers were not ready to accept Tyler Perry as a serious actor. This evaluation is unfortunate in that few people in Hollywood have established their talent as demonstrably as Perry.