Weekend Wrap-Up

Box Office Sputtering as Wolverine Fades

By John Hamann

July 28, 2013

Why does he even need that sword?

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Was four years not enough time following the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Despite being awful, the 2009 release opened to $85 million, and for many, it rightfully soured fans on a character that many followed (including me). The Wolverine at least is a better film, with a 68% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes versus Origins’ 38% fresh (though not near the awesomeness of X-Men: First Class at 88%). This Wolverine also earned an A- Cinemascore, so at least the perceived quality of the brand is improving. In the end, though, The Wolverine will likely make $120 million domestically, and a similar amount overseas (or more), so Fox will make out fine.

Our only good news story from the ugliness that was last weekend, The Conjuring, slips to second, but for a horror release, it performs much, much better than its brethren usually do over the second weekend of their box office run. The Conjuring earned a solid $22.1 million in its second weekend of release, and was off a not bad 47% compared to its opening frame. Usually, horror films fall 55-60% (or more – see The Purge at 76%) in their second weekends, so this kind of hold should be considered fabulous for Warner Bros.


Obviously, word is getting out as to how good and how scary this film actually is – and how old school, with no torture porn this time around. Add to that a single opener that under-performed this weekend, and all of a sudden Warner Bros. is going to have a highly successful film, given The Conjuring’s $20 million budget, and domestic gross so far of $83 million. It's now the highest grossing horror film of the year. The only question now is how far beyond $125 million this one goes on the domestic side, and whether or not it can gain any traction in overseas markets. Regardless, The Conjuring is going to make up for some Warner Bros. mistakes they had earlier in the year, like Jack the Giant Slayer, Gangster Squad, and Beautiful Creatures, which had a combined cost of $315 million, and a domestic gross of only $130 million between them.

Despicable Me 2 continues to be one of the big stories of the summer, as Universal’s $75 million minion movie crosses the $300 million mark at the domestic box office this weekend. Only in its fourth weekend, Despicable Me 2 earned another $16 million and dropped a slim 36% considering its gargantuan overall gross. Gru and friends crossed the $300 million mark on Saturday, only its 25th day of release, and is the 18th fastest to $300 million ever. It got to the $300 million mark three days quicker than it took Star Wars: The Phantom Mistake and it was nine days faster than Shrek the Third. Despicable Me 2 did not open big and die off quick as some sequels do. Instead, it has opened big and held on, and now looks to finish with as much as $350 million at the domestic box office. So far, those lovable minions have lapped up $306.4 million – let’s hope its success doesn’t crash when Smurfs 2 opens on Wednesday.

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