Dark Skies is a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.
||February 22nd, 2013 (Wide) by Weinstein Co.|
||May 28th, 2013 by Anchor Bay Home Entertainment|
||PG-13 for violence, terror throughout, sexual material, drug content and language - all involving teens.|
(Rating bulletin 2256, 1/26/2013)
||Intertitle, Fired, Architecture, Unbelieving Police, Digital Cinematography, Alien Invasion, Surprise Twist|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
||Dimension Films, Alliance Films, IM Global, Blumhouse, Robotproof|
New releases were really weak with only one reaching the top ten on the DVD sales chart. That film was Dark Skies, which opened in first place with 136,000 units / $2.04 million. This is actually a little better than expected, given its box office numbers.
There were very few new releases to chart this week, and only one of them managed a place in the top ten on the Blu-ray sales chart. The Last Stand remained in first place with 73,000 units / $1.82 million for the week and 183,000 units / $3.47 million after two.
We are in the heart of summer, which means terrible news on the home market. There were nearly no new releases to make an impact on the Blu-ray sales chart, so it should come as no surprise that the overall Blu-ray sales were weak. In total, there were 779,000 units sold and $18.33 million in revenue generated. This was higher than last week, albeit by miniscule margins of 4% in terms of units and 11% in terms of revenue. It was also higher than the same weekend last year, and by healthier margins of 42% in terms of units and 15% in terms of revenue. DVD sales were a little stronger compared to last week, which resulted in a small decline in the overall Blu-ray share to 28% in terms of units and 37% in terms of revenue.
It's the day after Memorial Day, which means we are in the summer season, which is a terrible time for the home market. The only first-run release of the week is Dark Skies, which is hardly a major release. There are a few summer TV shows that are coming out on DVD and / or Blu-ray, some of which are interesting. The latest season of Doctor Who is coming out this week, but it is being split, and not just into two parts, so that precludes it from being a Pick of the Week contender. There are not a lot of options for Pick of the Week, but I'm going with Beetlejuice: The Complete Series, but keep in mind there could be some nostalgia at work here and Lore on DVD or Blu-ray is arguably the better release. Meanwhile, Hellbound? on DVD earns the rarely awarded Puck of the Week for best Canadian release.
Dark Skies opened in theaters with no reviews, it missed the top five during its opening weekend, and then quickly disappeared from theaters. This week, it reaches the home market, but is it as bad as that sounds? Or should the studio have more faith in the film?
The box office was mostly disappointing over the weekend. Jack the Giant Slayer was able to match expectations, more or less, but this was bad news because its expectations were really low compared to its production budget. The other two wide releases, 21 and Over and The Last Exorcism Part II both struggled and failed to live up to the low end of expectations. There was a fourth film that was supposed to open wide, but in the end, Phantom opened in barely more than 1,000 theaters and didn't even come close to the Mendoza Line. The overall box office did grow by 6.0% from last weekend to $109 million. However, that was 35% lower than the same weekend last year. This is several layers of disaster. Year-to-date, 2013 has pulled in $1.55 billion, but that is 7.9% lower than 2012's pace. I don't see it getting better going forward and for the most part, the rest of the month is really bad in the year-over-year comparison.
The Oscars proved to be too much competition for the new releases as neither Snitch nor Dark Skies were able to find much success. Indeed, it was Identity Thief that rose to top spot in its third week of release. Most films in the top five were able to at least match expectations, but the overall box office still plummeted 27% from last weekend to just $103 million. The comparison to last year was not quite as bad, but it was still down by a stunning 23%. Ouch. 2013 is now behind 2012 by a full $100 million or 6.7% at $1.41 billion to $1.51 billion.
The box office crown for Oscar weekend will be claimed by Identity Thief, according to studio estimates released on Sunday morning, even though the comedy will fall by a relatively large 41% from last weekend. So its win is in large part due to the low-key new releases: Snitch will be second with $13 million in a modest 2,511 theaters and Dark Skies is headed for 6th place with $8.85 million from 2,313 theaters. Neither new film has particularly low per theater averages ($5,177 and $3,826 respectively), so their so-so debuts are as much a factor of their smallish opening theater counts as lack of demand.
There are just two wide releases coming out this week, Snitch and Dark Skies. Most analysts think Snitch is the stronger of the two films, but most also think Identity Thief will return to top spot. Looking at all of the evidence, it certainly seems that way. Unless one of the new releases is a truly big surprise, it looks like we won't keep pace with last year again this weekend. 2013 needed to get off to a really fast start, because there's no film that's going to match The Hunger Games, and once we are dealing with that film in the year-over-year comparison, 2013 might be sunk for good.
For the most part, January was a really good month and 2013 got off to a really good start. I'm not so sure about February, on the other hand. There's only one film that has a statistically significant shot at $100 million, A Good Day to Die Hard, but I'm a little concerned that it won't live up to expectations. The franchise has been around a long time and it is possible that the target audience has either moved on or are too young to remember when these films were huge at the box office. The film I'm most looking forward to seeing is Warm Bodies, which is earning amazing early reviews (the keyword there is "early"), but it is too high-concept to be a major hit. Last February, there were a couple of films that topped $100 million, plus a few other midlevel hits. I would like to think that would also be the case this year, but I have to be more cautious than that. The evidence points to a weak month ahead, for the most part.
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