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Weekend Wrap-Up: Valor Acts Up

February 28th, 2012

There was a surprise winner at the box office this weekend as Act of Valor opened on the very high end of expectations while Good Deeds did the opposite. Overall, more films missed expectations than met them and this led to a 14% drop-off from last week. However, the total haul of $134 million was still 23% higher than the same weekend last year, which stretches the winning streak to eight weeks. Or to put it another way, every single weekend this year has been higher than the corresponding weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2012 is ahead of last year's pace by 18% at $1.62 billion to $1.38 billion. There is some bad news going forward, as I don't think March 2012 is as strong as March 2011.

Act of Valor was the runaway winner at the box office pulling in $24.48 million during its first three days of release. Since it only cost $12 million to make and the distributor only paid $13 million for the domestic rights, both should be very happy with this opening. Granted, the distributor paid $30 million in prints and advertising, so they need quite a bit more till they break even. But even with reviews that are only 30% positive, and international box office potential that might be limited by jingoism, it should get there early in its home market run.

Tyler Perry had one of the weakest openings of his career as Good Deeds debuted with $15.58 million. In fact, only Daddy's Little Girls opened with less money. Its reviews were no better than his career average, so it is likely its legs will be as short as Tyler Perry's films usually have. On the other hand, it cost just $14 million to make, so it is on pace to break even sometime during its initial push on the home market.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island rose to third place with $13.39 million over the weekend and now after three weeks of release it has $76.65 million. As I said before the weekend, this is enough to put it on pace to reach $100 million, and more than enough to get the studio interested in another installment in the franchise.

Safe House fell faster than expected down 54% to $10.93 million over the weekend for a total of $97.62 million after three. It is still on pace to reach $100 million by Wednesday, but it could be awfully close. This is a great result for this time of year, but the film did cost a lot to make, so it will still need strong international numbers and good results on the home market to break even.

The Vow fell to fifth place with $9.92 million over the weekend, while its total rose to $102.92 million. It became the first film released in 2012 to get to the century mark, doing so in sixteen days.

The rest of the top ten were all either new releases or in the sophomore class, so lets just power through them in order. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance fell 59% during its sophomore stint to just $9.01 million over the weekend for a total of $38.04 million. Given its terrible reviews, this collapse is not a surprise. And with its hefty price-tag (estimated at $75 million) it's going to need some help internationally to break even.

The Means War didn't fall quite as fast during its sophomore stint, but was still down 52% to $8.43 million over the weekend for a total of $33.50 million after two. This was also an expensive film to make (estimated at $65 million) so it too will require help to break even.

Wanderlust opened in eighth place with just $6.53 million, which is significantly lower than the low end expectations. It was the only new release to open with overall positive reviews, but the lack of studio support was crushing. Maybe it will find an audience on the home market, but it will likely fade into obscurity.

Gone barely topped the Mendoza Line with a mere $4.77 million on 2,186 screens for an average of $2,182. Additionally, its reviews are just 12% positive, so its legs will likely be very, very short. I suspect theater owners will be looking to drop the film as fast as possible.

Finally we get to The Secret World of Arietty, which actually held on rather well down just 32.5%; however, it opened poorly so it only managed $4.35 million over the weekend for a total of $14.51 million after ten days. Anime is still very much a niche market, but a result like this will at least encourage studios to give more films a chance.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Safe House, The Vow, This Means War, Wanderlust, The Secret World of Arietty, Gone, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, Act of Valor