Friday Box Office Analysis

By David Mumpower

August 17, 2013

Ah. The empty room prank again.

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Three years later, the idea of 16-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz assassinating many, many people is slightly less horrifying. It is definitely not as scary as the presence of Jim Carrey in a role that causes most Hollywood insiders to try to pinpoint exactly where his career fell apart. Whatever the answer, the producers of Kick-Ass 2 accomplished an impressive feat. They maintained the $28 million budget of the original while adding an arguably more famous washed up A-list actor. Oddly, this maneuver did not help the bottom line any.

Kick-Ass 2 totaled $5.8 million on Friday, 25% less than the $7.66 million of its predecessor. Part of this can be explained by the fact that the original Kick-Ass was such a divisive movie due to its violent content/concepts. The other sticking point is that the sequel did not have the novelty of the first movie, whose popularity was largely concept driven. Catching up with those same characters a few years down the line is a nice touch. It is not however, as fresh as Kick-Ass, which did claim the strong selling point of real people trying to be actual superheroes. Still, unlike last weekend’s disappointment, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, its financial outlay was so modest that there is nothing but upside to an opening weekend of $15 million. Kick-Ass 2’s frugality will carry the day.

The bloom is off the rose with regards to Steve Jobs. A beloved entrepreneur throughout his life, the recently departed innovator was by all accounts a monster in his professional interactions. All of the people who were unwilling to speak out against such a powerful man when he was alive lined up en masse to dance on his grave. Since I never met him and really love my iPad, I find such behavior uncouth, but the key words are “never met him."


In the wake of those stories about Jobs the person, Hollywood rushed to create a signature biopic about this complicated genius. Ashton Kutcher famously took the role so seriously that he wound up hospitalized after discovering the downside of a sudden change to a fruitarian diet. Despite his chameleon-like attempt to recreate the humanity (or lack thereof) of Jobs, Kutcher’s boldest acting attempt will not be a box office winner. Jobs debuted to an apathetic $2.6 million on Friday. While modestly produced for only $12 million, the Jobs project has claimed heavy buzz for the body of a year now. A single digits weekend of $7 million is by no means financially disappointing. Jobs is a blueprint example of opportunity cost revenue loss instead of actual money loss, though. A LOT of money has been left on the table. No movie that receives so many free headlines should debut to such a paltry amount.

Finally, the fourth new movie this weekend is an unmitigated failure. Paranoia, an impressively cast movie about corporate intrigue, was a non-factor on Friday, grossing a paltry $1 million. The Harrison Ford/Gary Oldman/Liam Hemsworth movie somehow proved to be less than the sum of its parts. Claiming arguably the least engaging trailer of calendar 2013, Paranoia aspired to be a modern version of Disclosure, a 1994 hit about sexual harassment and cheap third world technology manufacturing (no, really). Instead, Paranoia is even looking up at Antitrust, a 2001 box office disappointment that I happen to love. A weekend total in the range of $3 million is indicative of a project unlikely to earn $10 million domestically. A couple of years from now when the new Star Wars movie comes out, Harrison Ford is going to try to pretend that this movie never existed. The only other thing we learned from this travesty is that Ford is NOT good looking as a bald man.

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