Friday Box Office Analysis

By David Mumpower

August 23, 2014

Oh heavenly cello.

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The big story of the week is neither the number one movie nor the number one release. Instead, it is the shocking failure of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which would have been more aptly titled as A Dame to Ignore. The sequel to the current #173 movie on the IMDb top 250 has been released half a dozen years too late for anyone to care. Because of this inexplicable delay, a project that easily could have opened to $50 million in 2007-2008 debuted to $2.6 million yesterday. And I should add that this number is inflated by a half million dollar pittance earned during Thursday night screenings.

Sin City was arguably the hottest film of the spring and summer of 2005. As other titles disappointed, people kept circling back to the stylish comic book adaptation. It became a global blockbuster as well, then entrenched itself on DVD sales charts for many months. For no apparent reason, a sequel project never moved forward, which is especially odd since there were plans for a Sin City television series at one point in late 2005. The would-be franchise idled for the body of a decade before director Robert Rodriguez finally decided to start again in 2012.

By then, a new generation of movie-goers was driving movie sales. A Sin City sequel targets people who are less familiar with the first project and harder to impress with regards to now-ubiquitous comic book adaptations. In addition, the project has been saddled with a marketing campaign that lacks any sense of urgency. The presumption had been that the Sin City brand name would be enough to carry the day. Instead, A Dame to Kill For is poised to earn about $6.5 million this weekend, barely half of the $11.9 million that the original movie earned on its first day in theaters in April of 2005.


The only thing that the Sin City franchise accomplished this weekend is that it joined the list of horrific sequels in the 2000s, ones people have already forgotten such as Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. Suffice to say that this is not a list anybody wants to be on.

The “winner” yesterday is If I Stay, a Warner Bros. drama about a slightly dead woman who has the option to leave this realm or return to life. The teen audience is always up for melodrama, so the success of this project is expected. If I Stay has been marketed as a The Fault in Our Stars clone, which was the right move under the circumstances. It earned $6.8 million yesterday and is fairly well positioned to win the weekend. A 2.6 weekend multiplier would represent a $17.7 million weekend.

Yesterday’s number one movie will be in a photo finish with Guardians of the Galaxy, which grossed $4.8 million on Friday. Despite the initial $2 million gap, Guardians would need a 3.7 multiplier to win the weekend. Last frame, it claimed a 3.62 multiplier on larger numbers, so such a result is possible. Personally, I expect If I Stay to win. If Guardians of the Galaxy does return to the top spot, this would only mark its second weekend in first place. Remember that it promptly fell out of first place with the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Meanwhile, the latest hopeful sports movie of the year had its dreams crushed yesterday. Following on the heels of Draft Day and Million Dollar Arm, When the Game Stands Tall similarly disappointed. It earned only $3.1 million yesterday, and should gross about $9.6 million for the weekend. Simply stated, there was virtually nothing in the marketing for this film that differentiated it as a worthy sports movie. The intent was to create a Friday Night Lights type of film. In terms of box office, it looks to fall 50% short of Gridiron Gang, which definitely was not a hit. Jim Caviezel is a wonderful actor whose movie career is still best described as Jesus Christ and a bunch of other soundly ignored roles.



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