A Decent Holiday to Die Hard
By John Hamann
February 17, 2013
It’s a box office weekend on steroids, fuelled by action (A Good Day to Die Hard), romance (Safe Haven), comedy (Identify Thief), and something sweet for the kids (Escape from Planet Earth). The overall news isn’t great, but at least we have a battle for number one over a weekend that included Valentine’s Day on Thursday and President’s Day on Monday.
It all started Wednesday night when A Good Day to Die Hard had its late night previews, and took in $840,000 from 2,328 locations. That was a softer midnight that I was expecting, and it meant the race was going to be close moving forward. Thursday was Valentine’s Day, so my money was on Nicolas Sparks, whose Safe Haven opened just in time for Hallmark’s day of the year. Surprisingly, the race was much closer than anyone expected, as Safe Haven beat Die Hard 5 by only $600,000, with the romance earning $8.8 million and the actioner taking in $8.2 million. This tells me that had A Good Day to Die Hard forgone the late night previews on Wednesday, it could have won Valentine’s Day. Maybe I’m the only one that finds that odd.
The other odd thing on Valentine’s Day was the 14-day old Warm Bodies eking out a victory over the opening day of Beautiful Creatures, which we can add to the pile of failed Twilight wannabes that we will see over the next few years. Warm Bodies proved the power of Valentine’s Day at the box office, as the zombie rom-com was up from the previous day by more than 300%. Last weekend’s opener, Identity Thief also had a big Valentine’s, ringing up $5.4 million, up 160% over the previous day. All of these things foreshadowed the weekend.
That led us to Friday, where the top two movies switched spots, and Identity Thief continued to grow. A Good Day to Die Hard was the number one film with $7.2 million, and Safe Haven was second with $7.15 million. Both films were off from their opening Valentine’s Day grosses by 12% and 20% respectively. Going the opposite way was Identity Thief, which increased from Valentine’s Day by 21%, taking in $6.5 million. Also, waiting until Friday to debut was the kids flick Escape from Planet Earth, which drew $3.7 million. Escape didn’t care about Valentine’s Day, but it did care about President’s Day, as distributor Weinstein knew the weekend multiplier (opening three-day weekend gross divided by Friday gross) was going to be in the 4.0 range. The showdown was set for an extremely tight weekend.
Saying that there was a winner at the box office this weekend is silly, as there are really three. However, studio estimates are telling us this morning that winner is A Good Day to Die Hard, as the Friday-to-Sunday estimate for the Bruce Willis sequel came in at $25 million. When we add Thursday’s amount, that number becomes $33.2 million from Thursday-to-Sunday. Released to 3,553 venues, Die Hard 5 had a venue average of $7,036, the second best in the top ten. A Good Day to Die Hard did miss tracking estimates, which had it opening between $45 and $50 million over five days.