Box Office Guru Wrapup: Expendables Defeats Weak Batch of New Films

Vampires second. Piranha drowned. Nanny fired. Switch out.

by | August 23, 2010 | Comments

The arrival of five new enemies didn’t stop
Sylvester
Stallone
and his band of mercenaries from topping the North American box
office with their action hit
The Expendables
.
A variety of new titles were met with weak to moderate results as the
end-of-summer funk dragged the marketplace down to its worst showing of the
season.

Despite the expected large decline,
The Expendables

still ruled the charts with an estimated $16.5M in its second mission falling an
understandable 53% from its muscular debut. The R-rated kill-a-thon has pulled
in an impressive $64.9M in ten days and looks headed for the $100M mark. It was
the first time in 17 years that Stallone spent back-to-back weekends at number
one with a live-action film. 1993’s
Demolition Man

was his last. Expendables did, however, post the second lowest gross this year
for a number one film beating just the $15.4M of
How
to Train Your Dragon
in its fifth weekend over the April 23-25 frame.


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For Stallone, who at 64 is witnessing a career resurgence, Expendables
will outgun the $42.8M of 2008’s
Rambo
and the
$70.3M of 2006’s
Rocky Balboa
. He directed and starred in all three. While the last two
films relied on well-known characters to attract business, Lionsgate’s
Expendables
used the starpower of an army of action heroes to grab audience
attention. It could become Stallone’s first film in a lead role to break $100M
since 1985’s Rocky IV.

Leading the five-pack of new releases was the spoof comedy
Vampires Suck

which debuted to an estimated $12.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $18.6M
over the five days since its Wednesday launch. Crucified by critics, the Fox
release managed a mild $3,774 average over the weekend but with a very wide
opening in 3,233 locations, was able to slide into the number two spot. The
PG-13 pic actually debuted at number one on Wednesday before falling to third on
Thursday after the upfront teen audience had already come out. Suck,
which makes fun of the
Twilight
saga
plus other pop culture favorites of the moment, earned some of the worst reviews
of any film this year.

Julia
Roberts
took third place with her Italy-India-Bali travelfest
Eat Pray Love

which dropped 48% in its second weekend to an estimated $12M. Produced for about
$60M, the Sony release is headed for the vicinity of $75M from North America
which would make it the highest-grossing live-action film for the actress in a
lead role since 2001’s
America’s
Sweethearts
which grossed $93.3M nine summers ago.


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Debuting to solid results in fourth was the comedy
Lottery
Ticket
which grossed an estimated $11.1M from 1,973 theaters for a good
$5,639 average. The Warner Bros. release enjoyed the second best opening among
the new films despite having the fewest theaters. Starring
Bow Wow,

the PG-13 pic attracted lackluster reviews.
Will Ferrell
and Mark Wahlberg
fell to fifth with the action-comedy
The Other Guys

which took in an estimated $10.1M, off 42%, for a $88.2M total in 17 days. The
Sony release will break $100M before Labor Day weekend.


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Close behind with an estimated $10M opening was the horror remake
Piranha 3D
which
averaged a decent $4,063 from 2,470 sites. The R-rated Weinstein Co. release won
strong reviews and connected with an audience that had no other scary films to
see. Still it did not come close to last year’s late-August horror pics

The Final Destination
(which also had higher 3D ticket prices) and
Halloween 2

which opened against each other with $27.4M and $16.3M, respectively.

Family audiences showed little interest in the
Emma Thompson
sequel Nanny
McPhee Returns
which debuted to an estimated $8.3M from 2,784 theaters
for a weak $2,985 average. Despite today’s higher ticket prices, the average was
less than half of the $7,270 that the first
McPhee

generated in January 2006 when it bowed to $14.5M. But the $35M Returns
has already grossed $62.9M overseas from its international release which began
in March. Reviews were generally good.


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Opening softly in eighth place was the
Jennifer
Aniston
Jason
Bateman
artificial insemination comedy
The Switch

which bowed to an estimated $8.1M. The Buena Vista release averaged $4,026 from
2,012 theaters and attracted mixed reviews.


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Inception took a
dive down to number nine but its weekend gross slipped only 32% – the lowest for
any wide release – to an estimated $7.7M. Total for Warner Bros. stands at
$261.8M putting the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer at number 50 on the list of
all-time domestic blockbusters. Rounding out the top ten was Universal’s comic
disappointment
Scott
Pilgrim vs. The World
which dropped 53% to an estimated $5M for a weak
ten-day tally of $20.7M. The verbal love from fans is not translating into box
office sales. The final domestic take for the $60M production should reach only
$30-35M.


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Among the major summer hits outside of the top ten, new totals include $403.7M
for Toy Story 3
which has tied
Spider-Man
for number nine on the all-time list, $297.2M for
The Twilight Saga:
Eclipse
which has surpassed
New Moon
,
$237.7M for Shrek Forever
After
, $230.7M for
Despicable Me
,
$159M for Grown Ups,
$130.1M for The
Last Airbender
, and $109.9M for
Salt
.


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The top ten films grossed an estimated $101.1M which was off 5% from last year
when
Inglourious Basterds
opened in the top spot with $38.1M; but up 22% from
2008 when Tropic
Thunder
remained at number one with $16.3M.

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