Prisoners Escape the Competition
By John Hamann
September 22, 2013
The good news at the box office begins and ends with Prisoners. Second place goes to last weekend’s number one film, Insidious Chapter 2. After a big opening frame buoyed by a Friday the 13th, Chapter 2 did the usual for horror sequels and collapsed in its second weekend. After opening to $40.3 million, Insidious Chapter 2 took in $14.5 million in its second frame, good for the expected drop of 64%. Given the mediocre reviews, the Thursday midnight screenings and an opening Friday falling on the 13th, this one was destined to drop roughly and did. What it didn’t do, though, was fall 76% like The Purge did, so there is an upside. Additionally, let’s remember that Chapter 2 cost Blumhouse Productions and FilmDistrict only $5 million to make (although back end revenue deals will increase that cost considerably). Insidious Chapter 2 has already earned $60.9 million, compared to the first film, which finished with $54 million. I also expect Chapter 2 to do some hefty business overseas, much like the first Insidious ($43 million foreign take).
Third this weekend goes to The Family, the Robert DeNiro mob comedy executive produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Luc Besson. With those names, one might think the hold this weekend would be fantastic, but that’s not the case. After opening last weekend to $14 million, The Family lost half its opening weekend audience. The budget for The Family is listed at $30 million, but I can only believe that number if the three big leads (DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones) worked for free. So like Insidious Chapter 2, one has to think that a revenue sharing deal is in place, which artificially lowers that budget amount. The Family has earned $25.6 million thus far, and is going to struggle to make $40 million stateside. However, given Luc Besson’s name and the actors above the title, it might do okay overseas.
Fourth is Instructions Not Included, the upstart Spanish language comedy released by Pantelion Films, a Latino-focused distributor backed by Lionsgate. The studio continues to add screens for this one, and the move appears to be paying off, as it has now spent four weekends in the top ten. This weekend, Instructions Not Included pulled in another $5.7 million, up a surprising 17%. So far, this small, $5 million film has taken in $34.3 million, and is now the sixth biggest foreign language film ever in terms of North American release.
Screen Gems’ opener, Battle of the Year, went down in flames this weekend. Released to just 2,008 venues, Battle grossed only $5 million, taking in a hurtful opening weekend venue average of $2,490. Battle cost $20 million, a number that might be okay for a Step Up release, but not as a standalone title. Stomp the Yard this is not, and Battle of the Year will be in the $1.99 bin in no time.
Sixth goes to We’re the Millers, the top ten stalwart that’s been with us now for seven weekends, after opening August 7th. Since then, the Millers have not seen a drop higher than 40%, and the trend continues this weekend. We’re the Millers earned $4.7 million in its seventh frame, good for another small drop of 14%. The $37 million comedy has now pulled in $138.2 million stateside and $70 million overseas, making it one of the bigger success stories of the summer. We’re the Millers is now the 39th biggest film to never hit number one, as this weekend it passed The King’s Speech ($135.5 million) and Live Free or Die Hard ($134.5 million) on that list.