Minions Rout Ranger at the Box Office
By John Hamann
July 7, 2013
Wild Wild West cost Sony $170 million to make in 1999, and took in only $41 million over five days. It finished with $113.8 million domestically and $108 million from overseas theaters. It was another western with a bloated budget and a huge star, and cratered over the Independence Day weekend. Disney chose not to heed this lesson, instead spending a lot more for a similar result. The Lone Ranger was also a bad film like Wild Wild West (20% fresh, versus Ranger’s 24% fresh rating), as the filmmakers heaped on the violence in what is essentially a family movie. Then Disney put their film up against Despicable Me 2, which was the death knell.
You simply cannot position a $250 million film against a sequel whose original earned $250 million domestically. This is a bravado that shouldn’t be ignored by Disney shareholders. It speaks to an inflated ego amongst an executive group who (presumably) dismissed a number of warnings and chose to proceed regardless. This is a disaster, and Depp, Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney deserve it. I haven’t been more pleased with a flop (respective to budget) in all my years.
Third place goes to The Heat, which is just that as it narrowly misses the dubious mark set by The Lone Ranger. After a fantastic opening weekend of $39.1 million, the biggest for both Sandra Bullock and Mellissa McCarthy, the duo kept the heat on this weekend. The Heat earned another $25 million in its second frame, dropping a not bad 36% compared to opening frame. Remember, this Fox release cost only $43 million to make (about $207 million less than The Lone Ranger), and has now brought in a remarkable $86.4 million. It should cross the $100 million mark next weekend, and will continue to propel Melissa McCarthy toward super-stardom.
Monsters University takes fourth place as somewhat laughably, Disney takes two hits to the chin from Despicable Me 2 this weekend. Not only do the minions KO The Lone Ranger, they also knock down Monsters University. After a second weekend of $45.6 million where it beat The Heat by about $6 million, the Pixar production falls to fourth this weekend, grossing $20 million, and dropping an expectedly severe 57%. Brave didn’t fall more than 50% until weekend nine, Toy Story 3 not until weekend 13, Up fell 50.1% in weekend six (which was the highest drop of its run), and WALL-E went 24 weekends before cratering more than 50%. Disney’s scheduling of both Monsters U and The Lone Ranger was simply terrible. Don’t get me wrong. Monsters University is still a huge success, having crossed the $200 million mark on Friday. It has a running total so far of $216.1 million domestically, and a further $184 million from overseas venues.
World War Z has a bounce back weekend in its third frame, as it grosses $18.2 million and drops 39%, a decent improvement over last weekend’s 55% plunge. The $190 million Paramount blockbuster has now earned $158.8 million stateside, and should approach the $200 million mark. It will find its profit overseas, as it has a gross so far of more than $200 million.