Weekend Box Office Report: February 22-24 2013


(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)

1. Identity Thief ($14 million)

2. Snitch ($13 million)

3. Escape from Planet Earth ($11 million)

4. Safe Haven ($10.6 million)

5. A Good Day to Die Hard ($10 million)


It seemed more people opted to catch up on their Best Picture nominees than any of the newer releases this weekend as nine nominees still in theaters posted very minor drops.

Identity Thief rebounded to take another week at No. 1.  It's the first movie to return to the top spot after getting knocked off since 2010's How to Train Your Dragon.  It has made nearly $94 million so far and is now guaranteed to be the first movie of 2013 to pass the $100 million mark.

Turns out I was wrong about the weekend's new releases. The Rock's Snitch opened in second place with $13 million (and with a gross so close to the No. 1 movie, this could end up being the weekend's top film once actual are tabulated). Aside from the fluke flops of Faster, Planet 51 and Southland Tales, Dwayne Johnson has had three No. 1 openings and several sizable hits. This one won't last long but is likely to do well in rentals.

After a string of strong opening weekends for horror movies, Dark Skies didn't do so hot, only bringing in $8.8 million for a sixth place finish. Despite a creepy trailer and a barrage of ads, it wasn't enough to lure audiences who were looking for scares. Still, the film only cost $3.5 million to make, so it has more than doubled its budget already. It's a pattern the producers (Saw, Insidious) have followed to continued financial success.

The big story of the weekend, though, has to be Die Hard's 60 percent drop. It brought in only $10 million for a fifth place in its second weekend. Drops like this mean this could be the first film in the series with a disappointing domestic gross, and we'll soon find out if it will dictate whether we'll see another Die Hard in a few years (though international grosses for the film are still quite strong).


Outside the top 5:

- Silver Linings Playbook finally surpassed $100 million to become the romantic comedy we all deserved. I hope it wins all the Oscars. Of all the Oscar nominees, only Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Zero Dark Thirty have yet to cross that threshold. The latter should get there before its run is over. At least for this year, complaints about the Oscars not nominating popular movies can be given a rest.

- Chile's No once again blew away its art-house competition, averaging $13,733 per its six screens.

- After disappointing fans and critics alike, The Hobbit finally crossed $300 million in its 11th week. That's just a little bit longer than it took Skyfall, and that James Bond flick didn't have 3-D or high-frame-rate surcharges to help it along. This is also the lowest grossing film in the Lord of the Rings saga, and none of those movies had 3-D either, AND ticket prices were a lot cheaper 10 years ago.


Next Week:

Bryan Singer tries his hand at fairy tale revisionism (meaning he just rips off Lord of the Rings) with Jack the Giant Slayer. I'm predicting a meager $25 million, which won't even begin to cover its budget. Jack faces competition from 21 and Over (from the writers of The Hangover) and the title-defying The Last Exorcism, Part II. I'm thinking $12 million for the former and $10 million for the latter. 


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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