A pair of new R-rated films dominated the North American box office sending ticket sales soaring to a new record for the biggest June weekend in history. The comedy Ted and the drama Magic Mike both overperformed and connected with their target audiences while Tyler Perry’s latest effort Madea’s Witness Protection delivered his usual potent numbers. Overall, it was the third best weekend of 2012 as success came from a handful of original movies and not from one big franchise juggernaut opening. The marketplace is now in great shape entering what will be a gigantic July.
Family Guy fans came out in droves for creator Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut Ted which debuted at number one with an estimated $54.1M from 3,239 theaters for a sizzling $16,705 average. The raunchy buddy comedy about a man and his talking teddy bear scored the third largest opening ever for an R-rated comedy behind two major brand-based hits – The Hangover 2 ($85.9M) and Sex and the City ($56.8M). An original story not based on a well-known brand doing this level of business is incredible and reinforces the starpower of MacFarlane. Actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis also added star wattage and positive reviews helped too.
The Universal release cost $50M to produce and skewed towards men as expected. Studio research showed that males made up 56% of the crowd while 52% were 30 and older. The CinemaScore grade was a good A-. While distributors only retain a portion of the gross, and marketing costs are additional expenses, it is always good news to a studio when its opening weekend gross is higher than its film’s budget. Friday saw a spectacular $20.7M bow, Saturday dipped 14% to $17.9M, and Universal is optimistically projecting a 13% slide on Sunday to $15.5M. Most other studios are estimating 20-30% declines for their films on Sunday. But with the Independence Day holiday falling on Wednesday and many young adults having extra leisure time this week, Ted should find its way to a solid showing in its first full week even though Tuesday sees the debut of the summer tentpole The Amazing Spider-Man which will start damaging competitors on Monday night when it begins its first midnight shows.
Channing Tatum scored his third hit of the year with the much-talked about male stripper movie Magic Mike which opened in second place with an estimated $39.2M from 2,930 locations for a sturdy $13,363 average. Women dominated the audience and business was incredibly front-loaded thanks to girls-night-out crowds that planned opening day outings. Friday premiered to a dazzling $19.4M which eventually accounted for half of all the weekend sales. Saturday tumbled by an alarming 41% to $11.4M while Warner Bros. expects Sunday to dip down 26% to $8.4M.
But the promise of beefcake with the likes of the red hot Tatum and co-star Matthew McConaughey was enough to spark excitement and good reviews didn’t hurt either for the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama loosely based on producer/star Tatum’s real-life stint as an exotic dancer. Studio data showed that 73% of the crowd was female and 57% was under 35. The CinemaScore grade was just a mediocre B. 2008’s Sex and the City also saw a massive opening day rush from its audience of adult women. Its Saturday decline was 34% and its female share was 85%. If Magic Mike can hold up and keep attracting customers, it will become Tatum’s third $100M+ grosser in six months. He’s already seen his February romance hit The Vow reach $125M and his March buddy cop comedy 21 Jump Street make $138.3M.
Ted and Magic Mike offered a one-two punch of raunchy fun which paying audiences found irresistible as the overall box office broke the record for the biggest June weekend in history beating the last frame of June 2009 which saw the massive launch of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Even more impressive was that the top three films this weekend were not sequels and the top five had no action tentpoles. The R-rated newbies proved that young adults will still come out and pay for original stories that truly excite them.
Those looking for clean family-friendly entertainment found it in the Disney/Pixar hit Brave which dropped from first to third place with an estimated $34M. The 49% decline was sizable given how the film is not a sequel and that the new releases provided virtually zero competition. It also pleased crowds on opening weekend earning an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore. Brave has grossed $131.7M in its first ten days and has performed much like Pixar’s 2008 offering WALL?E which debuted in late June to $63.1M, fell 49% in its sophomore session to $32.5M for a ten-day start of $127.2M. Brave had the advantage of some 3D surcharges while the robot pic had the Independence Day holiday help it. With a big holiday week coming up, Brave may find its way to the neighborhood of $235M by the end of its domestic release.
Tyler Perry scored yet another hit film with the Lionsgate comedy Madea’s Witness Protection which debuted in fourth with an estimated $26.4M from 2,161 theaters for a potent $12,193 average. The filmmaker’s fourth movie with Madea in the title played to his loyal fan base which continued to come out. This was Perry’s first summer release as most of his offerings went out in the spring or fall. Witness Protection’s debut was in line with the $25.1M bow of the last Madea pic Big Happy Family.
Holding up well again in its fourth round was Paramount’s animated sequel Madagascar 3 which collected an estimated $11.8M, off just 40%. The DreamWorks Animation hit has now taken in $180M domestically matching the gross of its 2008 predecessor. Europe’s Most Wanted will surpass the $193.2M of 2005’s original Madagascar next weekend and find itself going past $200M too. International markets saw an estimated $16.2M pushing the overseas haul to $244.2M for a global take of $424M.
In its second weekend, the action-horror-history mashup pic Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter suffered a steep 63% tumble to an estimated $6M for $29M in ten days for Fox. Four films rounded out the top ten falling into the $4-5M range. Fox’s sci-fi epic Prometheus took in an estimated $4.9M, down 50%, raising its total to $118.3M. The global haul now stands at $284.8M. Wes Anderson’s indie hit Moonrise Kingdom jumped into the top ten for the first time thanks to an expansion from 395 to 854 theaters with an estimated $4.9M as well. The Focus release averaged $5,706 and has banked an impressive $18.4M to date with much more to come as its cume should double in the coming weeks.
Universal’s effects-heavy fairy tale adventure Snow White and the Huntsman dropped 46% to an estimated $4.4M with $145.6M domestic to date. Disney’s uplifting drama People Like Us was dead on arrival in its debut just barely making the top ten with an estimated $4.3M from 2,055 locations for a pitiful $2,095 average. With mixed reviews, the PG-13 pic starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks failed to excite any demographic and should fade away quickly.
Two big July tentpoles kicked off their global releases this weekend overseas ahead of their U.S. openings. Fox’s animated comedy Ice Age: Continental Drift – the fourth installment in the franchise and second in 3D – debuted to an estimated $78M from 34 markets ranking number one in all of them. In some Latin American markets like Argentina and Columbia it broke the all-time opening weekend box office record. Drift is the latest chapter in a lucrative franchise that has now broken the $2 billion mark this weekend in global box office. Though results in North America have been mostly flat over the years, overseas growth has been mammoth with international grosses soaring from $207M to $461M to a stunning $691M for the last film Dawn of the Dinosaurs which accounted for 78% of its global tally. All signs indicate that interest for the Ice Age franchise – overseas at least – remains quite high. It opens domestically on July 13.
Over in Asia and parts of Europe this weekend, Sony’s reboot The Amazing Spider-Man set off fireworks of its own with a $50.2M debut from 13 territories led by Korea’s $13.4M and Japan’s $11.4M. The results were phenomenal with the 3D webslinger crushing the opening for Avengers in both Korea and India by more than 70%. The Andrew Garfield starrer hits U.S. screens this Tuesday one day before the 4th of July holiday. Sam Raimi’s trio of Spider-Man films – all in 2D – grossed a combined $2.5 billion worldwide from 2002 to 2007.
After eight long weeks in the domestic top ten, the super hero sensation The Avengers finally dropped from the list finishing in eleventh place with $4.2M and a total of $606.3M from North America and $1.45 billion worldwide. Following in the footsteps of other recent franchises, Sony’s newest alien installment Men in Black 3 will end up as the lowest-grossing pic in the series domestically, but will be the top title globally thanks to growth in international markets for action and 3D films. Will Smith’s comeback vehicle stands at $169.6M from North America and will conclude with $175-180M including 3D surcharges and today’s higher ticket prices. The first two MIB flicks did $250.1M in 1997 and $190.4M in 2002. But the overseas tally on MIB3 rose to $429.8M putting the global take at $599.4M with the $600M barrier ready to fall on Monday. The first Agent J pic sold more tickets but its worldwide gross from fifteen years ago was $589M.
Summer moviegoers continued to flock to new independent films as Fox Searchlight’s Sundance award-winner Beasts of the Southern Wild debuted to terrific results in its platform bow in New York and Los Angeles with an estimated $169,000 from four locations for a powerful $42,309 average per theater. Cume since the Wednesday launch was $220,000. It was especially impressive given that it had no stars and was from a first-time director. The critically acclaimed drama adds more markets this week on Wednesday and Friday and then goes much wider on July 13.
Woody Allen’s latest European postcard To Rome with Love fared well in its second weekend expansion grossing an estimated $750,000 from 29 playdates (up from five last week) for a $25,862 average. The Sony Classics title has banked $1.3M to date and is scheduled to widen across the country this Friday. With Moonrise Kingdom heading to $35M+ and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel already above $40M, independent films this summer have carved out solid sales from upscale moviegoers interested in movies with more substance in a sea of mindless popcorn flicks.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $189.9M which was up 2% from last year when Transformers: Dark of the Moon opened at number one with $97.9M; and up 6% from 2010 when The Twilight Saga: Eclipse debuted on top with $64.8M. Both of those frames were helped by the 4th of July holiday.
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