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Weekend Wrap-Up: Death of a Franchise

February 20th, 2013

The Valentine's Day / President's Day five-day weekend wasn't as lucrative as many had hoped, at least not at the top, which is really bad news for a year that is not off to a great start. A Good Day to Die Hard won the race, but barely, with Identity Thief coming in a very close second over the weekend. Other new releases, like Safe Haven and Escape From Planet Earth did better than expected, while Beautiful Creatures crashed. The overall box office did rise by 36% to $141 million over the three-day period, but the holiday explains that growth. Compare to last year, 2013 actually failed to match last President's Day by 9.3% over the three-day period and with $168 million including Monday, missed the four-day period by 13%. Year-to-date, 2013 is behind 2012 by 6.7% at $1.28 billion to $1.37 billion. I am officially concerned.

A Good Day to Die Hard opened on the very low end of expectations, for the most part. It actually opened rather well on Thursday with $8.24 million, which is within a rounding error of predictions. However, then the reviews had their effect and the daily numbers sunk. In the end, the film made barely more in five days, $36.88 million, than Live Free or Die Hard made over three. This is a disaster compared to the $50 million many were predicting over five days. This makes three old school action films to struggle, if not outright bomb so far this year, four if you include Parker. Granted, this film has made roughly the same as Parker, Bullet to the Head, and The Last Stand have made combined, but it is still a troubling sign for the genre as a whole. Perhaps as a culture, we've grown up since the 1980s and the 1990s and the films that moviegoers loved back then just don't connect today. Or perhaps moviegoers are waiting for someone with a vision to bring new life to the genre. Regardless the reasons, this will likely be the last film in the franchise.

Identity Thief is one of the few pleasant surprises this year and it held up much better than expected with $23.67 million over the three-day weekend and $27.46 million over four. It now has $74.74 million and it is on pace to reach $100 million very soon. I don't think anyone was expecting that. It will likely break even, just on its domestic theatrical run, which is something very few films manage to do.

As expected, Safe Haven started out in first place on Valentines day with $8.83 million. However, like almost all Nicholas Sparks' films, the reviews were terrible and its daily numbers sunk, again as expected. Over the three-day portion of the weekend, it earned $21.40 million, while from Friday through Monday it made $24.47 million. Its five-day total of $33.30 million was on the high end of expectations and there will clearly be more Nicholas Sparks movies made, which should please his fans and terrify critics.

Escape From Planet Earth turned out to be a surprise hit, at least with moviegoers. The film opened on Friday and over the three-day portion of the weekend it earned fourth place with $15.89 million, while it earned $21.10 million including Monday. On the other hand, its reviews were not good at just 29% positive. Most critics complained that it was predictable and lightweight, but most also admitted it would entertain kids for 90 minutes, even if it were completely forgotten just as fast.

Amazingly, Warm Bodies stuck around in the top five one more weekend. It was able to do this in part due to an impressive hold, but also in part due to much weaker than expected competition. The film added $8.87 million / $10.55 million over the weekend for a total of $51.77 million. It should get close to $70 million in total, which is more than enough to ensure a profit early in the film's home market run, if not sooner. I'm not convinced it will be a hit internationally, but if it is, it will break even in theaters.

Beautiful Creatures was the biggest disappointment of the weekend earning sixth place with $7.58 million over three days and $8.95 million over four, for a total opening of $11.49 million. Even if it made $11.49 million over three days, it would have still been a disappointment. On the other hand, its reviews were the best of the four new wide releases at 45% positive. This isn't great, but it shouldn't have hurt the film's box office numbers. As such, we can safely say it was the buzz that killed it. The film was being dismissed as a Twilight clone for a long time, and the film just couldn't escape that shadow.

Side Effects was the only sophomore film not in the top five. It dropped to seventh place over the three-day weekend with $6.27 million, and eighth place over four days with $7.30 million. (It switched places with Silver Linings Playbook when Monday's box office numbers are added in.) So far the film has $20.12 million, which is disappointing given its reviews.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, The Last Stand, Parker, Bullet to the Head, Warm Bodies, Escape From Planet Earth, Beautiful Creatures, Identity Thief, Side Effects, Die Hard, Twilight, Nicholas Sparks