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Weekend Wrap-Up: Summer Still Strong

August 13th, 2013

There were four films that opened wide last week and while none of them were monster hits, three of the four of them were solid openings. Elysium opened in first place, but landed on the lower end of expectations. We're the Millers was a bit of a surprise hit, earning more over five days than it cost to make. Disney's Planes had the best opening for an animated film in August. There's not a lot of competition for that record. Finally there was Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which will cost the studio a fortune. With four new releases taking the top four spots, it should be no surprise that the overall box office was strong. In fact, it rose 16% from last weekend to $159 million. No film was able to match last year's winner, The Bourne Legacy, but we had a lot better depth this time around. This helped 2013 win the year-over-year comparison by 12%. Meanwhile, 2013 has completed the comeback and now has a 3.6% lead over 2012 at $6.85 billion to $6.61 billion.

Elysium's opening is either strong or weak, depending on how you look at things. It opened in first place with $29.81 million, which is pretty good for an August release. On the other hand, the film cost $120 million to make. It will need to make a lot of money to break even, and just under $30 million during its opening weekend isn't a good start. Its reviews suggest it will have better legs than a lot of late summer releases, but that won't be enough.

We're the Millers was a surprise hit earning second pace over the weekend with $26.42 million over the weekend. From Wednesday through Sunday, the film has made $37.91 million, which is more than it cost to make. Granted, its reviews are only mixed. A Tomatometer Score of 42% is not terrible, but it is hardly good either. Then again, "not terrible" is better than a lot of August releases, so it might have decent legs. If the film can crack $75 million here, then it should break even early in its home market run.

Disney's Planes broke the record for biggest opening weekend in August for an animated film with $22.23 million. Granted, there's not a lot of competition for this, as Barnyard is in second place. The film earned terrible reviews, but it is the last animated movie released in the summer, so it could have strong legs. Additionally, it was originally made as a Direct-to-DVD release, so its production budget is likely a lot lower than most digitally animated theatrical releases. Assuming it can break $60 million domestically and $150 million worldwide, it should break even early in its home market run. ... Or more likely, it will break even with merchandize sales, even without taking the box office numbers into account. Remember, it has been estimated that the Cars franchise has pulled in more than $10 billion, BILLION, in merchandizing revenue.

The final new release of the week was Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. The film only managed second place on Wednesday, which was a little disappointing. Worse still, it slipped to fourth place over the weekend with $14.40 million over the three-day weekend for a total opening of $23.26 million after five days. A weak per theater average and bad reviews mean it will likely quickly disappear from theaters. Since the movie cost $90 million to make, it will lose a lot of money, unless it is a monster hit internationally. I just don't see that happening.

Denzel Washington's films tend to have strong legs, but 2 Guns is going to be an exception. The film fell 58% to just $11.25 million over the weekend for a total of $48.64 million after two. It should finish its run with $70 million, more or less, but this is weaker than anticipated.

Speaking of weaker than anticipated, The Smurfs 2 was the only sophomore film not in the top five as it fell 47% to just $9.33 million over the weekend for a total of $46.47 million after two. It will make more internationally, but I don't think it will do well enough to break even.

There are a couple more notes. The Wolverine crossed the $100 million market since this time last week. It was the 19th film to reach that milestone this year, but that's not enough to be considered a financial success. Finally, Chennai Express broke records for a Bollywood release with an opening of $2.42 million. These films tend to have incredibly short legs, but this is already enough to be considered a success.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, We're the Millers, Elysium, The Wolverine, The Smurfs 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, 2 Guns, Disney Planes, Chennai Express, Cars, Denzel Washington