It was a sluggish session at the North American box office as Hollywood offered just one new movie which was rejected by audiences allowing the top five to be filled by the same faces as last week. The action-horror thriller I, Frankenstein flopped while the hit buddy comedy Ride Along once again took first place for a second weekend in a row with a reasonably good hold. Moviegoers did spend some time sampling the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture as eight of the nine contenders found themselves in the Top 20.
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube once again ruled the box office with their runaway hit Ride Along which collected an estimated $21.2M in its sophomore round easily beating all competitors. The Universal hit dropped 49% which was a decent hold considering it was coming off of a holiday weekend when Sunday numbers were stronger than usual. With a robust $75.4M grossed in the first ten days, look for the PG-13 film to end up with roughly $125M which would be a career high for each star in a lead role, and also five times bigger than its $25M production cost. Ride Along is also set to soar higher than many of last year’s big comedy titles like This is the End, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and The Hangover Part III and will reach the same vicinity as Anchorman 2.
Mark Wahlberg and his fellow soldiers held their ground in second with Lone Survivor which fell back 43% to an estimated $12.6M in its third round of wide release. The Universal hit has grossed an impressive $93.6M and will cross the $100M mark before the Super Bowl. The studio is off to a fantastic start in 2014 topping the charts over the last three weeks with two films about to join the century club.
Advertising itself as the #1 family movie in America, the animated comedy The Nut Job finished its second weekend in third place with an estimated $12.3M after a good hold that saw sales drop just 37%. The Open Road release has banked $40.3M in ten days and could be headed for a $75M final. A sequel has already been announced and will follow the same release pattern opening over the Martin Luther King holiday in 2016.
Toon juggernaut, and double Oscar nominee, Frozen enjoyed great stamina again dipping only 23% to an estimated $9M in its ninth weekend of wide release boosting the remarkable domestic haul up to $347.8M. Next weekend, Disney will replace over 1,000 of the runs with a new sing-along version of the popular film in hopes of generating even more repeat business.
Frozen now sits at number 27 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just two spots behind last year’s sensation Despicable Me 2 which had the added advantage of being a sequel playing in summer when kids were out of school. The snow sisters will surpass the Minions in a couple of weeks to steal away the animated box office crown for 2013. Frozen also zoomed past the $800M global mark this weekend with a worldwide tally of $810.3M and counting. With China and Japan still to open, breaking the billion dollar mark is looking more and more likely.
The CIA reboot Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit followed its weak opening weekend with a moderate 43% decline to an estimated $8.8M for a disappointing ten-day take of $30.2M. With a reported production cost of $60M, the Paramount release should end its domestic run with only $50M or so. Overseas sales, though, are at a respectable $46.5M early in its run with nearly half coming from China.
Moviegoers showed no interest in paying to see the new monster movie I, Frankenstein which opened poorly in sixth place with an estimated $8.3M. Averaging a weak $3,006 from 2,753 locations, the PG-13 film starring Aaron Eckhart failed to generate much heat and the higher-priced 3D and IMAX options did not seem to be premium experiences that ticket buyers felt like spending cash for on this particular title. The opening was even worse than the $11.2M debut of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from back in 1994 when tickets cost half as much as today.
Films like I, Frankenstein used to be able to count on teen males to turn out. But that demo’s lower attendance today (especially for non-tentpoles) is once again hurting big-budget action films. This one reportedly cost $65M to produce. Lionsgate research showed that 60% of the audience was over 25 and 62% was male. The CinemaScore grade was a B which was decent for this genre of action-horror fare. But past films of this category have opened much better like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’ $19.7M from this same weekend last year and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s $16.3M.
A handful of Oscar nominees caught business from the public led by American Hustle with an estimated $7.1M, off just 28%, for a strong $127M cume to date for Sony. The Weinstein Co. added 360 theaters to the run of August: Osage County and saw sales dip 32% to an estimated $5M. Sum to date is $26.5M.
Paramount’s The Wolf of Wall Street followed dipping 29% to an estimated $5M as well raising the total to $98M. Later this week it will become the fourth consecutive $100M+ grosser for the dynamic duo of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Dicaprio.
Rounding out the top ten with an estimated $2.8M was the fright flop Devil’s Due which tumbled 67% in its second weekend. The Fox release has scared up a lousy $12.9M in ten days and should end off with only $17M.
The seven remaining Oscar nominees for Best Picture not in the top ten were all still out in national release looking to cash in on the awards attention with some adding screens. Dallas Buyers Club expanded by 691 theaters more than doubling its run and saw a 117% spike to an estimated $2M this weekend and $20.4M to date for Focus. Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave, seen by many as the one to beat, widened by 470 locations and grossed an estimated $2M, up 31%. Total is now $43.5M.
Adding 316 runs was Gravity which rose 8% to an estimated $2M for a new total of $261.2M. The Warner Bros. smash earned the prestigious DGA Award on Saturday for director Alfonso Cuaron. Paramount’s black-and-white film Nebraska more than doubled its run adding 560 extra screens and collected an estimated $1.4M – the biggest weekend gross yet of its 11-week run. Cume is $11.6M.
The offbeat romance Her with Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson lost 404 locations and fell 43% to an estimated $2.3M giving Warner Bros. $19.2M overall. Judi Dench’s Philomena held steady in 505 locations and took in an estimated $1M, off 18%, for a $25.8M total. After an expansion last weekend, Captain Phillips lost two-thirds of its screens and collected an estimated $328,000, down 37%, for a $106.3M cume.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $92.1M which was up 13% from last year when Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters opened at number one with $19.7M; but up 1% from 2012 when The Grey debuted in the top spot with $19.7M as well.