With Hollywood busy preparing for the Academy Awards, studios dumped out lame new releases which not surprisingly led to a soft session at North American multiplexes allowing former chart-topper Identity Thief to reclaim the number one spot. Universal’s hit comedy declined by a reasonable 40% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of last weekend’s Presidents’ Day frame and grossed an estimated $14.1M leading all films. After 17 days, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman pic has now collected $93.7M and will hit the $100M mark next weekend – a big achievement for an original R-rated comedy.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got his busy 2013 started with a decent opening for his action offering Snitch which bowed in second place to an estimated $13M from 2,511 theaters for a good $5,177 average. The PG-13 film about a father becoming an informant in order to save his son played more to older men as studio research showed that 53% of the audience was male and 57% was over 30. Reviews were mixed and the CinemaScore grade was a mediocre B. The Rock will reappear in the top ten monthly with G.I. Joe: Retaliation opening March 29, Pain and Gain on April 26, and Fast and Furious 6 debuting May 24.
The Weinstein Co. enjoyed a terrific hold for its 3D animated offering Escape From Planet Earth which slipped only 31% to an estimated $11M in its second weekend. With no competition at all for kids, and with many schools closed last week for winter breaks, the PG-rated comedy-adventure has banked a solid $35.1M in ten days and will continue to face no competitors over the coming week.
The critically-panned romance Safe Haven fell 51% to an estimated $10.6M taking fourth place while the action sequel A Good Day to Die Hard tumbled 60% to an estimated $10M in fifth. Relativity has taken in $48.1M in 11 days for its love story while Fox’s more expensive franchise film has banked $51.8M over the same number of days. International results were strong for Bruce Willis with $35.7M from 67 markets for an overseas total of $133.1M (led by Japan’s $13.3M) and a global gross of $184.8M – 72% from offshore audiences.
Supernatural thriller Dark Skies had a soft debut in sixth with an estimated $8.9M from 2,313 locations for a weak $3,826 average. Earning dull reviews from critics, the PG-13 fright flick was also rejected by paying consumers receiving a disappointing C grade from CinemaScore. Competition was light, but the target audience had little interest in this Weinstein Co. release.
The top grossing Best Picture contender this weekend was once again Silver Linings Playbook which eased a scant 3% to an estimated $6.1M upping its cume to $107.5M. That’s a healthy $71.7M more than the $35.7M it had in the bank when it earned its nominations last month. Zombie romance Warm Bodies followed with an estimated $4.8M, off 46%, for a $58.2M total for Summit and Lionsgate.
Dropping 44% was Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects with an estimated $3.5M followed closely by the teen flop Beautiful Creatures with $3.4M, down a troubling 55%. Totals are $25.3M for Open Road and $16.4M for Warner Bros.
Most Best Picture contenders continued to rake in last-minute ticket sales from interested movie fans before Hollywood’s big night. Front-runner Argo dipped 10% to an estimated $2M for $129.8M to date. That is an exceptional hold given that the Ben Affleck-directed film just hit multiple home entertainment platforms this past week. Life of Pi eased just 1% to an estimated $1.6M for $113.5M domestic and a towering $584.5M worldwide. Lincoln took in an estimated $1.5M, down just 9%, for cumes of $178.6M from North America and $245.1M worldwide.
Some nominees suffered larger drops. Zero Dark Thirty fell 25% to an estimated $2.3M giving Sony $91.6M to date while the musical Les Misérables dropped 24% to an estimated $657,000 with $146.6M thus far for Universal. Declining by 32% was Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained with an estimated $1M and $158.8M overall.
Sony Classics added some screens to the run of Amour which surged 16% to an estimated $816,000 for a total of $5.2M. Together, the nine Best Picture nominees have now grossed a stellar $942.8M domestically with seven of those titles surpassing $90M each. Worldwide, the nine films have been thriving this awards season collecting over $2 billion.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $85.3M which was down 21% from last year when Act of Valor climbed into the number one spot with $24.5M; and down 8% from 2011 when Hall Pass debuted in the top spot with $13.5M.