Beauty, Beast, Baby Face Off Again While Audiences Wait for Furious
By John Hamann
April 9, 2017
So, after abusing audiences (twice!) with the first two films, did anyone come out for the third? You betcha - kids love the little blue creatures with the cute voices, but the law of diminishing returns was active again as I would assume parents were quick to get off this horrific bus. Opening day for the first Smurfs came in at a wild $13.3 million, likely due to the nostalgia factor, the second film got cut sharply (nostalgia was replaced with horror) earning $5.2 million on a first day Wednesday, and $5.5 million on opening Friday. Smurfs: The Lost Village earned $4.2 million on opening day, continuing the steps down.
As for opening weekends, the first came in at $35 million and the second is recorded as a $17 million opening, but it had a five-day debut at $27.1 million. The latest release, which is a bit of a reboot, opened to a lazy $14 million, as the road just gets steeper and steeper for this franchise. However, with a much reduced $60 million budget, Sony has a chance to make some money. On the first film, France and Germany alone turned in box office of $58 million $43 million on the second. The first two films earned $700 million overseas, and the legs compared to opening weekend stateside have been ridiculously good, so there is no reason to call this a failure other than the negative impact to humanity overall and our children's well-being.
Warner Bros.' Going in Style is filler for blockbuster season, carrying a low budget ($25 million), so it provides effective relief for audiences not interested in Furious 8 (is anyone else struggling with The Fate of the Furious?). Given the warm and fuzzy feelings brought on by a remake of a 70s release and stars like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, this movie should be senior citizen bait for weeks. For these types of films, opening weekend is less important; word-of-mouth is the key (it's a bit of an oxymoron - needing word-of-mouth, but not needing an opening weekend). Going In Style actually opened better than expected, clearing the $10 million mark with a three-day take of $12.5 million. This is a pretty solid start for a film that looked to be opening significantly lower.
So Warners and New Line got off to a better start than they were planning on, but would they get the word-of-mouth? Reviews did not foretell good news in the WOM category, as only 41 of 94 critics liked this one, leaving it a 44% fresh. However, the studio was likely looking for a result similar to 2013's Last Vegas as a comparison, which came in at 46% fresh (but top critics were nasty at 29%). The opening for the Robert De Niro/Morgan Freeman comedy was $16 million, and it had legs to $63.9 million on the domestic side. It also earned $70 million overseas, all likely thanks to an A- Cinemascore - audiences liked what was served up and told their friends. Going In Style's Cinemascore came in at a B+, not far off of Last Vegas or even Grumpy Old Men, which also earned an A. That film turned a $3.9 million opening into a domestic score of $70.2 million, and Going in Style will be looking for a similar result domestically. It will also hope to match that score overseas. With this opening and a $25 million budget, it looks to be a minor hit for Warner Bros.