Weekend Wrap-Up

A Decent Holiday to Die Hard

By John Hamann

February 17, 2013

Two out of three guys are too old for this sh!t.

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The Die Hard franchise has had its ups and downs. The first movie remains the high point; however, throwing Justin Long into the last entry, Live Free or Die Hard, breathed new life into the series after it struggled with parts two and three. I had hoped that the franchise would find a way to continue with Justin Long, but instead went with John McClane travelling to Russia to see his wayward son… and yeah, I lost interest at that point too. Reviews were by far the worst of the series, coming in at only 17% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, and the site’s "top critics" hating it even more at only 10%.

Fans of the Die Hard series are not 15, they are more likely between 40 and 50, and more prone to read a newspaper. 20th Century Fox needed to make a good film if they were to hand the reigns of the series off to John McClane’s son Jack, but that is not the case here, and the Die Hard series may come to an end with this one. A Good Day to Die Hard cost $92 million to make, a number it likely won’t see domestically. Still, given the location this time around, international audiences will almost certainly come out. Live Free or Die Hard earned $135 million stateside, but found $250 million overseas. This entry did manage a B+ Cinemascore, but then qtqinThe Last Stand also earned a B.


Finishing second is last weekend’s number one film, Identity Thief. After a decent Valentine’s Day and a stronger Friday, Identity Thief completed the weekend with a three-day $23.4 million take, down a not bad 32% from its $34.6 million debut. Last weekend, Identity Thief matched is production budget ($35 million) with its opening weekend take, so to have a strong Valentine’s and follow-up weekend only adds fuel to its fire. This is another movie that was not made very well, but it opened to a similar amount as say the 11% fresh Couples Retreat, which went on to earn almost $110 million domestically. Identity Thief is currently on a very similar trajectory, and the holiday Monday’s gross will only push that forward some more. All of a sudden, Mellissa McCarthy may be in two $100 million comedies (Bridesmaids being the other) and may be the next big thing. Identity Thief now has a running total of $70.7 million, and has the comedy demo to itself for the new few weekends.

Third place goes to Safe Haven, the latest in what has become a very long list of often popular Nicolas Sparks movies (The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John, The Notebook). After a strong Valentine’s Day, Safe Haven faded a little, but not much, as it earned a powerful $21.4 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, and $30.3 million since opening. The amount for the three-day portion of the weekend was not far off that of The Lucky One, the last Sparks romantic drama, which opened to $22.5 million in April of last year. Like most of these movies, critics got their hate on for this one, too, as reviews for this were even worse than that of Die Hard 5. Only 12 out of a possible 93 found something to like, giving the Lasse Hallstrom flick a 13% fresh rating. Of course, the difference between the Die Hard blockbuster and Safe Haven is budget, as the romance cost only $28 million to make, which means it will be profitable by the end of next weekend. What it doesn’t have that a Die Hard sequel does have is an international audience. As an example, Dear John earned $80 million stateside, and picked up only $35 million overseas.

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