Every now and then, a film comes along that seems to have everything going for it. A well-received, successful previous installment. Years of ticket price inflation, and the expansion of the fanbase via home video. Add in 3-D and an aggressive marketing campaign. Give it a prime release date in May, a month that’s accustomed to large openings. For good measure, throw in a likeable British actor from a certain very popular television series. All of these ingredients combined to result in an inexplicable failure, the likes of which we don’t see very often in the box office world.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Deciding to launch Star Trek on Thursday was an odd decision, though not unheard of. It did, however, give us an early sign that something was wrong here. Into Darkness pulled in just $11.5 million on Thursday, which might not seem like a bad number, but given where the level of anticipation should’ve been for this one and the numbers to which some other Thursday openers (The Matrix Reloaded, Revenge of the Sith, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, for instance, were all well above $20 million) debuted, this was a startlingly low figure. Now, in fairness, nobody expected Into Darkness to beat the record $50 million Thursday of ROTS, but that the film could barely manage one fifth of that is a massive disappointment.
The news got a little better on Friday, as many thought the last second change to a Thursday opening confused the average movie goer. Star Trek bumped up to $22 million, which, while better, was still disappointing. Over the weekend, Into Darkness rebounded a bit, ultimately finishing with $70.6 million. So you figure if they just opened the movie on Friday, the figure would’ve been somewhere around $80-85 million, which is barely any improvement at all over 2009’s Star Trek. I….am confused. I honestly don’t know to explain this.
Maybe this May is just too crowded. Iron Man 3 is still only three weeks old, and next weekend sees two more big sequels (The Hangover Part III and Fast and Furious 6), and then the weekend after that we have another sci-fi epic, After Earth. Or maybe Into Darkness just didn’t appear appealing to the average moviegoer. I know it might sound odd to call a $70 million opening disappointing, but it just plain is. Also, because of the aforementioned upcoming competition, the next few weeks might well prove similarly bumpy for Into Darkness. I can only hope Star Trek manages to rebound a bit over Memorial Day.
Iron Man 3 actually held up pretty well in the face of Star Trek. Down 51%, it pulled in $35.2 million and lifted its total to $337 million. It has now fallen behind the pace of The Dark Knight Rises and looking at its current trajectory, it doesn’t look like Iron Man 3 will get too far past $400 million. A final total around $410 million seems about right.
Gatsby and company fell a predictable 53%. The good news for Gatsby going into Memorial Day is that its main audience is not being infringed upon. Nothing next weekend targets women, so I could see Gatsby having a very good hold actually. Anyway, $23.4 million this weekend brought the total gross to $90.2 million. Depending on how next weekend goes, a total around $140 million seems possible.
Now four weeks old, Pain and Gain dropped 38% to $3.1 million. $46.6 million is an okay total. The Croods, which is still in the top five after nine weeks, fell 24% and pulled in $2.75 million. With $176.8 million in the bank, the longevity of this film indicates to me that we desperately need Epic next weekend. Kids are starved and that’s why I think Epic can easily surprise some people next weekend and break out.
42 was down 40% and made an additional $2.7 million. With $88.7 million in the bank, I’m thinking it should end somewhere around $95 million, which will be good enough to beat Oblivion, which despite a stronger opening, has had worse legs. The Tom Cruise film fell 47% to $2.2 million. It only has $85.5 million stateside, but has done much better overseas. Mud held well, slipping 15% to $2.2 million and brought its gross to $11.6 million.
Now, wrapping up the top ten, we have two movies I don’t care about at all: Tyler Perry’s Peeples: down 53%, $2.15 million weekend, $7.9 million total. Next, The Big Wedding: Down 56% to $1.1 million, its total stands at $20.2 million.
Next weekend, things are about to get crowded. Depending on the strengths of the three openers, I still maintain that it could possibly be the single biggest weekend of all time. So it’s exciting, to say the least. And, personally, I’m really pumped for Fast and Furious 6. So I’ll see you next weekend, guys.