Weekend Box Office Report: February 15-17 2013

TOP 5(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)

1. A Good Day to Die Hard ($25 million)2. Identity Thief ($23.4 million)3. Safe Haven ($21.4 million)4. Escape from Planet Earth ($16 million)5. Warm Bodies ($9 million) It was a good few days for the latest Die Hard sequel, just not that great. The Bruce Willis action pic opened to only $25 million for the weekend (with around $33 million since opening Thursday). That's very good for the dregs of February, but not for such a legendary franchise. Reviews were extremely harsh and while audiences probably enjoyed it (I know I did), it likely won't do big repeat business. Still, it's likely to become the franchise's highest grossing entry overseas as the film debuted strongly in many foreign markets. While Safe Haven was neck-and-neck with Die Hard on Valentine's Day, it ended up ceding second place to Identity Thief. The crime comedy dropped about 32 percent (a stellar number for any comedy) and could be on its way to $90 or even $100 million, which would be the first of 2013. But the Nicholas Sparks romance was no slouch itself, taking in about $30 million since Thursday. It's unlikely to match the $80 million threshold of Sparks' two biggest hits (Dear John and The Notebook), but could easily pass the $60 million mark to get into the second tier (where his last two flicks topped out). The weekend's final lesson taught us about what age group to bet on. Always, always, always, bet on kids. Escape from Planet Earth, which received almost no marketing push, managed to open in 4th place with $16 million. The Weinstein Company's animated alien escape pic took advantage of being the only new wide release marketed directly at kids and made a tidy sum. Plus, with its small price tag ($40 million, compared to the $150-200 million spent at Pixar and DreamWorks), Harvey and Bob will be wiping away their tears from The Master's hard flop with $20 bills. On the other end of the spectrum was Warner Bros., who learned the hard way not to bet on finicky teenage girls. They clearly hoped Beautiful Creatures, their Southern Gothic teen witch romance, would be the next Twilight franchise, but with only $10 million since Thursday, those dreams have been burned at the stake. Maybe it should have been a series on the CW instead? Outside the top 5:    "¢    No, Chile's Oscar contender, averaged more than $18,000 on four screens, narrowly beating Australia's Holocaust drama Lore.     "¢    Amour finally became Michael Haneke's highest grossing film in the U.S., making nearly $4 million so far. That beats out his creepy thriller Cache from 2005.     "¢    Quartet (a delightful little film) keeps chugging along, adding another 89 screens and bringing in nearly $7 million so far. Not bad for a movie that really only appeals to the AARP crowd. Next week: Weinstein's somewhat spooky Dark Skies could debut pretty decently (maybe $18 million) since audiences seem to love lukewarm PG-13 horror, but The Rock's Snitch is likely to be just as big a bomb as recent disasters Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand. I'm gonna guess $7 million for the CBS Films' generic thriller.

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About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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