Weekend Wrap-Up

Oscar Doesn’t Bring Out the Best at Box Office

By John Hamann

February 24, 2013

How did that bat get in here?

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Third place does not go to either A Good Day to Die Hard or Safe Haven. Instead, the Weinstein Company’s animated release Escape From Planet Earth, tops both of those one-week-old films. After quietly winning the President’s Day Monday race with $5.1 million and a four-day total of $21.1 million, Escape From Planet Earth earned $11 million in weekend two, falling just 31% from a total that had the benefit of holiday inflation. This project cost that crafty Weinstein Company only $40 million to produce, meaning they should see a domestic profit on it. So far, Escape has earned $35.1 million thanks to smart placement on the release schedule.

Fourth also does not go to last weekend’s winner A Good Day to Die Hard. Instead, it goes to last weekend’s third place finisher, Safe Haven, the romance from writer Nicolas Sparks. Obviously chicks dig Sparks more than guys dig this version of Die Hard, as Safe Haven earned $10.6 million this weekend. It did follow the Sparks trend, though, declining a nasty 50% compared to last weekend. So far, the $28 million Relativity release has earned $48.1 million, $9 million of which came on Valentine’s Day.

That puts last weekend’s winner, A Good Day to Die Hard, way down in fifth this weekend after a five-day opening last weekend of $36.9 million. The Bruce Willis follow up to Live Free or Die Hard did a disappointing $24.8 million over last weekend proper, and this weekend, the 20th Century Fox sequel earned only $10 million, falling a hurtful 60%. Remember, Die Hard 5 cost its studio $92 million to make, and after this weekend, it has no hope of achieving that mark. The good news for this latest failure from an aging action star is the overseas box office. Away from home, A Good Day to Die Hard has already crossed the $80 million mark, so the overall score won’t hurt Fox too much. Its domestic total so far is $51.8 million.


New release Dark Skies shows up way down the list in sixth, as it struggles for some sort of relevance. Apparently, being from “the producer of Paranormal Activity” is NOT an effective marketing strategy. The horror (?) flick earned an okay $8.9 million from 2,313 venues this weekend, as it only had to show up to earn a profit for its producers. Because it’s from the producers of Paranormal Activity, that means it cost very little to make. In this case, that amount is $3.5 million, or about the amount it had earned by early Saturday afternoon. This one could have gone straight to airplanes and found a profit. It received the kind of reviews we might expect (poor) and earned a C+ Cinemascore, but given the cost, none of that really matters. With four new releases coming next weekend, this could be out of the top ten by next Sunday. Fingers crossed.

Silver Linings Playbook, our only Oscar nominated film in the top ten this weekend, is seventh. Now in its 15th weekend of release, the Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper flick earned another $6 million and dropped only 1%. Silver Linings Playbook faces some seriously long odds to walk away with the Best Picture trophy tonight (30-1), but could do okay with some of the acting awards. That could give it another couple of weekends of playability, which will only add to its outstanding gross so far of $107.5 million. Give some credit to the Weinstein Company, who showed a lot of faith in this $21 million release.

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