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Weekend Wrap-Up: Box Office of the Living Dead

September 17th, 2012

2012 started off so well that I keep thinking the box office will return to those glory days, or at the very least it will stop sucking. That didn't happen this weekend. Granted, the box office grew 28% from last weekend to $86 million. However, this is 15% lower than the same weekend last year and it is still one of the worst weekends of all time. Year-to-date, 2012 still leads 2011, but that lead has shrunk to just 3.0% at $7.80 billion to $7.58 billion. If things don't turn around very soon, 2012 will lose its lead in terms of tickets sold (currently just 1.8%) and its overall lead shortly after that. Since fewer people are watching movies in theaters, it means fewer people are seeing trailers, posters, etc. for upcoming films. Fewer people seeing trailers for upcoming films does often times result in fewer people seeing these upcoming movies. We need a true blockbuster to break out of this cycle.

Resident Evil: Retribution was on the low end of expectations at the box office opening with $21.05 million. However, due to much weaker than expected competition, this was still more than enough for first place. It is also the weakest opening in the franchise since the original, and the worst in terms of tickets sold. With 30% positive reviews, the film is neither good nor bad compared to the franchise's average and should have similar legs. In other words, look for a 60% drop-off next weekend.

Finding Nemo really struggled compared to expectations opening in second place with just $16.69 million, but this did lift its running tally, including its original run, to $356.40 million. While it failed to match even the low end of expectations, it only cost $5 million to upgrade to 3D, so it should still earn a profit for the studio, especially if it boosts the film's upcoming Blu-ray release. However, I don't know if studios will be as quite to greenlight 3D re-releases in the future.

The Possession was way back in third place with $5.77 million over the weekend for a total of $41.13 million after three. It will finish its run with $50 million, which is enough to be considered a midlevel hit.

Lawless was a little better than expected at $4.35 million over the weekend. It now has $30.27 million, also after three weeks of release.

The Expendables II rounded out the top five with $3.15 million. After a month of release, the film has $80.41 million.

Arbitrage missed the top ten, but came close earning 12th place with $2.00 million in just 197 screens. Its per screen average suggests a strong potential to expand, while its reviews suggest strong word-of-mouth. Quite frankly, I consider it a bigger success than any of the wide releases this week.

On the other hand, Last Ounce of Courage only managed 15th place with $1.59 million in 1,407 theaters. Its per theater average was well below the Mendoza Line and since it still hasn't earned a single positive review, it will likely disappear as soon as theater owners are contractually able to drop it. Hopefully this will be the last time we see a Christmas film released in September.

Looking in on the sophomore class, we find The Words in seventh place with $2.86 million over the weekend for a total of $9.14 million after two. With a per theater average of barely more than $1,000, it will likely all but disappear on Friday. The Cold Light of Day was even worse down 54% to $847,000 over the past three days for a total of $3.28 million after ten days of release. A per theater average of just $561 means the film had about 8 people per screening.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Finding Nemo, The Cold Light of Day, The Possession, Resident Evil: Retribution, The Expendables 2, Lawless, Arbitrage, The Words, Last Ounce of Courage