February 23, 2014

Behind the Weekend Box Office – 2/23/14


OPENINGS:  For both 3 DAYS TO KILL (Relativity) and POMPEII (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict), the only hope of salvation lies overseas.  3 Days, at least, has a relatively low production cost, but even if the reported $28M figure is accurate, its $12.3M US weekend won’t get it anywhere near recoupment of its worldwide marketing expenses.  Things are much more dire for Pompeii, which reportedly cost over $100M to produce, and which may not even hold at its pathetic $10M US weekend when final numbers come in tomorrow.  Pompeii has $22.8M outside the US in 37 territories, an unexciting start for a movie that desperately needs more.  (3 Days hasn’t yet started its international release.)

HOLDOVERS:  THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) won’t face a serious challenge for 2 more weeks (when Mr. Peabody and Sherman opens), and meanwhile it’s running over all competition in its way.  Down just 37% from last weekend to $31.5M in the US, and with $23M this weekend overseas, the smash hit has earned $276M worldwide, with plenty more to come.

ROBOCOP (Sony/MGM) had an OK hold compared to the rest of last weekend’s openings, down 57% to $9.4M, with a $43.6M US total.  That’s not going to get the $100M+ action movie very far (the costs go to $200M+ with worldwide marketing), and even its $100M international total ($17.7M this weekend) is good but not great.  Breakeven looks about as high as this hoped-for franchise can expect.

The bottom fell out of all last week’s Valentine’s Day romances, as ABOUT LAST NIGHT (Screen Gems/Sony) plunged 71% to $7.4M, ENDLESS LOVE (Universal) dropped 68% to $4.3M, and WINTER’S TALE (Warners) crashed by 71% to $2.1M.  Only About Last Night will hit profit, and even it’s looking a lot less exciting than it did a week ago, with perhaps a $55M US total in the end, making one wonder if Kevin Hart’s coronation as The Next Big Thing might be a bit premature.

THE MONUMENTS MEN (Sony/20th) was sturdy, down 48% to $8.1M ($58.1M to date, plus $26.4M overseas after a $13.6M weekend).  RIDE ALONG (Universal) is also holding well, down 47% to $4.7M ($123.2M to date).  Nothing, however, holds like FROZEN (Disney), down just 30% after 3 months in theatres, with $4.4M for the weekend and $384.1M in the US.  Worldwide, Frozen passed Despicable Me 2 and now has $980M, so $1B is guaranteed (the blockbuster has yet to open in Japan), and Toy Story 3‘s all-time worldwide animated record of $1.06B isn’t far away.

Remember THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (Warners/MGM)?  Well, it’s US run may be over (a moderately disappointing $256.6M,$46M below the first Hobbit), but its possible climb to $1B worldwide continues after a smashing $32.7M opening in China–double the first Hobbit‘s–that brings its total to $893.7M, with Japan still to come.

AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony) leads the non-Frozen Oscar contenders, down 28% from last weekend to $1.8M ($144.1M US to date).

LIMITED RELEASE:  Not much to speak of, as THE WIND RISES (Disney) had an OK $15K per-theatre average in its debut at 21 theatres, and IN SECRET (Roadside) flopped with a $1000 average at 226.  TIM’S VERMEER (Sony Classics) widened to 22 theatres with an unexciting $4K average.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."