Pacific Rim: Down But Not Out
By John Hamann
July 14, 2013
Just because a film called Grown Ups 2 is out this weekend, it doesn’t mean we have new films for adults at the box office.
Vying for top spot this weekend are openers Pacific Rim, the well-reviewed teen-boy monster mash-up from Guillermo del Toro, Grown Ups 2, the sequel to the oddly popular original about boy-men and their problems, surrounded by a chorus of jokes about vomit and urination, and last weekend’s mega-champ, Despicable Me 2. Of course, the two films aimed at the younger set have strong word-of-mouth and great reviews, while the other, from Adam Sandler, is getting some of the worst reviews of the comedic actor's career. Then again, he will always have Jack and Jill. In a perfect world, Grown Ups 2 would finish third or worse this weekend, but a perfect world it isn’t. At least it’s not Twilight.
The race to the top was fabulously close this weekend. Several positions in the top ten could even change come Monday afternoon. For now, our number one film is Despicable Me 2, which earned $143 million over five days last weekend and $83 million over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the July 4th long weekend. With $184.4 million already in the bag domestically before the weekend began, one had to wonder how far the sequel would drop in its second frame. The Friday gross came in at $13.4 million (a 50%+ drop from the previous Friday), and over the weekend, the sequel earned another $44.8 million. Despicable Me 2 dropped 46% from the previous weekend, and while that is high for a family film, remember that the sequel crossed the $200 million domestic mark on Saturday, only its 11th day of release. It took the original minion movie 28 days to reach $200 million in 2010, so this is simply a case of more people seeing the film earlier in its run.
Also important to remember is that Despicable Me 2 did not carry the Lone Ranger’s $250 million cost, or Pacific Rim’s $190 million. The Universal sequel cost only $76 million, which means the studio likely spent more money marketing this one than making it. Even if those global marketing costs were $125 million, Despicable Me 2 has already earned the production and marketing amounts back domestically. Sure, they will give a lot of that back to theaters, but the animated event film has now rung up $229.2 million in sales, and is definitely looking for at least $300 million domestic, if not a lot more. Overseas cinemas are finding Gru and his minions to be no slouch either, as the foreign total has already reached $243 million. Despicable Me 2 won’t be the biggest earner of the summer, as Iron Man 3 crossed the $400 million mark a couple of weekends ago, but it cost $125 million less before marketing. On a budget versus worldwide gross scenario, this animated product from suddenly hot Universal is likely the season’s big winner.
Second spot unfortunately goes to Grown Ups 2, Adam Sandler’s first sequel, as he tries to wash away the disasters that are Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy from the “minds” of his core audience. The trick worked, and by bringing back his friends Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade, the audience came back as well – despite the warnings. Grown Ups 2 earned $42.5 million from 3,491 venues. Grown Ups 2 earned more in its first day ($16.3 million) than That’s My Boy earned over its entire opening weekend ($13.5 million). It gives Sandler one of his bigger openings, but not as much as the The Longest Yard, which opened to $47.6 million in 2005. This debut was on par with the original Grown Ups, which took in $40.5 million in 2010. The opening also falls into the Sandler wheelhouse, as his films tend to start between $35 and $43 million. Oddly enough, Pacific Rim may have stolen some of the thunder from Grown Ups 2, as Sandler’s fanbase tends to be teen boys, which is Pacific Rim's target demographic. At the time of this writing, Grown Ups 2 had garnered only five positive reviews out of a possible 70, leaving it 7% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, the second lowest rating of Sandler's career (Jack & Jill at 3% fresh will follow him forever). Grown Ups 2 cost Sony and Happy Madison $80 million to make, and if the original is any indication, it should be a $250 million worldwide hit before all is said and done.