Summer Box Office Doesn’t End – It Implodes
By John Hamann
August 25, 2013
One new release that is falling flat this weekend is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the $60 million release from Constantin Films (big risk financier) and Screen Gems (no risk distributor). The teen-targeted film has struggled since opening on Wednesday, when it found only $3 million, and the writing was on the wall for a troubling opening frame at the domestic box office. On Thursday, it dropped 42% to only $1.7 million before earning $3.1 million on Friday. Over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the opening, The Mortal Instruments earned only $9.3 million, which means over five days, the YA release earned $14 million. Twilight this is obviously not.
Why studios think they can simply turn a young adult novel with a following into a hit movie without really trying mystifies me. Like Twilight, this film is awful, coming in at only 13% fresh at RottenTomatoes. These films can be bad (teens don’t seem to mind that), but they can’t be boring. The Mortal Instruments clocks in with a 140 minute run time, and in the age of ADD and smart phones, boring simply isn’t going to work. You can throw whatever budget and cast you want at it (in this case, Lily Collins,the daughter in The Blind Side, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers), but without a script, it’s going nowhere. At this point, I think The Mortal Instruments will be lucky to earn $25 million domestic, so Constantin is going to need a big overseas haul to find a profit.
The new release that offers some good news is This World’s End, the new comedy from Edgar Wright, which stars, amongst others, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The pub crawl slash Invasion of the Body Snatchers comedy posted a weekend estimate of $8.9 million from only 1,549 venues, giving it a decent venue average of $5,773. From the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (which also stars Pegg and Frost), as well as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (a personal favorite), the Edgar Wright comedy received fantastic reviews. At the time of this writing, At World’s End is 91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, which is oddly the same score that both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz received. It also received a B+ Cinemascore.
None of Edgar Wright’s films have blown the cover off the box office. Scott Pilgrim was his highest opener at $10.6 million, but was also his most expensive picture at $60 million. It earned $31.5 million stateside and $16 million overseas, although home vid probably turned it into a win for Universal. Wright’s British films were more successful. Shaun of the Dead cost $6 million, and earned $30 million worldwide. Hot Fuzz cost $12 million and earned $80.5 million worldwide. At World’s End cost $20 million to bring to the screen, and with the $15 million already earned overseas, this one will be a profitable venture. Next up for Wright is Ant-Man for Marvel.
Fifth spot this weekend goes to Planes, Disney’s rip-off of their own Pixar property. Now in its third weekend, Planes earned another $8.6 million and fell 36%. The $50 million animated release (that was supposed to go direct-to-video) has now earned $60 million.