Weekend Wrap Up: “Now You See Me” Almost Pulls off Real Magic

Coming into this weekend, most projections had Fast and Furious 6 staying on top for a second straight weekend, though not without a fight from After Earth, while Now You See Me would finish distantly behind those two releases. Well, to put it bluntly, that just didn’t happen. Even as our number one flick was again from a blockbuster franchise, we also saw a true, unexpected breakout this weekend, and those are part of what makes analyzing the box office so much fun.

Fast and Furious 6

Falling a steep, though not surprising, 65%, Fast and Furious 6 made another $34.5 million. That’s a slightly steeper drop than Fast Five, but that wasn’t buoyed by a holiday likeĀ FAF6 was. After two weekends, FAF6 is running about $30 million ahead of the pace of Fast Five, with $170 million in the bank. Next weekend has only couple of garbage openers (The Purge and The Internship, though I could see the former breaking out a little), so it’s certainly possible that FAF6 holds well against the lack of competition and threepeats on top of the charts. Based on its current trajectory, I think it should end up around $225-230 million.

Opening to a shocking $28 million is Now You See Me in second place. Of all the magician movies to break out, why this one? Maybe it’s the ensemble cast. Maybe moviegoers just wanted something different in light of all the sequels. I pegged this one at just a $14 million opening, so it doubled my expectations. The reviews weren’t great (43% at Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences seem to like it (it has a strong A- Cinemascore). With this opening, there’s a slight chance this gets to $100 million, but I think it will more around $80 million, which is still a huge success relative to expectations.

That leaves After Earth in third with a disappointing $27 million. Well, disappointing may be too soft a word, as I think “bomb” is pretty applicable, given the pedigree of the stars and the $130 million budget. So, I simply have to ask. How does Shyamalan keep getting work? Seriously. You can longer make the argument that he hit a rough patch. No. The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable (which I think is his best film) were flukes. This might well be the nail in the coffin for him, and this was also a serious test of Will Smith’s starpower. The days of Smith opening a film to big numbers on his name alone might be over.

Staying steady in fourth place, Epic dropped a somewhat disconcerting 51%, which is on the high end for a family movie. But then again, last weekend was holiday inflated. $16.4 million this weekend brings the gross to $65.2 million. As the only family option until Monsters University, it should do all right in the weeks to come and $100 million should be doable.

Star Trek Into Darkness fell 56% and grossed $16.4 million this weekend, putting it in a tie with Epic for now. With $181 million in the bank, it continues to fall off the pace of 2009’s Star Trek, but still looks headed for a total around $220-230 million. Respectable, but still disappointing.

Plummeting 62% is The Hangover Part III. That hold is actually a little better than Part II, but we’re working with much smaller numbers and when it comes to the box office, the bigger you open, the harder it is to hold on. Anyway, Part III pulled in $15.9 million and lifted the total to $88 million. So we’re looking at a total around $120-130 million. Or, you know, less than half of the other two entries in the franchise.

Iron Man 3 keeps hanging around, this time dropping 59%. Another $8 million brings the total to $385 million. After a mammoth $174 million opening, I never thought IM3 would actually have a bit of trouble getting past $400 million, but that’s what a crowded May release schedule will do. Following in eighth place, The Great Gatsby fell 54% to $6.3 million and lifted its strong total to $128 million.

Ninth goes to a random Bollywood movie I’ve never heard of, Yei Jawaani Hai Deewani. It made $1.65 million from just 161 theatres, which gave it the highest per theatre average in the top ten. Finally, in tenth, we have Mud, which had by far the best hold in the top ten with 37%. The indie flick pulled in $1.2 million and brought the total to $16.9 million.

This weekend is basically the first of two breather weekends before Man of Steel comes along. I’m hoping that two weekends off allow moviegoers time to get ready for another big blockbuster because I really want to see Man of Steel do well. Then again, maybe I should wait until it actually comes out before making any judgments. Anyway, as I said earlier, next weekend sees two horrible looking films, The Purge and The Internship, try their luck. I’d be shocked if either of them opened above $20 million. Until we meet again, guys.

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