Weekend Wrap-Up: Summer Ends in an Upward Direction
The Labor Day long weekend is over and pre-weekend predictions were spot on, at least when it came to the top-two films. One Direction: This is Us opened in first place on Friday, but by Sunday had fallen to fifth place, allowing Lee Daniels' The Butler to remain on top, if you go by the four-day weekend. There were a few surprises this weekend, including Instructions Not Included. I hoped it would do well, but I never imaged it would do this well. Overall the weekend was strong at $125 million over the three-day weekend, which was 14% more than last weekend. Over four days, the total box office was $160 million. This was 21% higher than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2013 holds a 0.9% lead over 2012 at 7.44 billion to $7.37 billion.
Lee Daniels' The Butler earned first place, assuming you are looking at the four-day weekend, with $20.20 million. As of Monday, it has pulled in $79.47 million keeping it on pace to reach $100 million during its theatrical run. It won't get there next weekend, or likely the weekend after that, but soon enough.
One Direction: This is Us opened in first place on Friday with $8.87 million. However, it then collapsed on Saturday down 54%. By Sunday, it was in fifth place before bounding back one spot on Monday. That's what you call the Fangirl effect. The next result was a first place opening over the three-day weekend with $15.82 million, but a second place opening over four days with $18.47 million. The reviews are good, but that will matter little compared to the Fangirl effect. This film will disappear within a couple of weeks, but not before covering its production costs and much of its P&A budget.
We're the Millers earned more over three days, $12.72 million, than it was expected to earn over four days. Including Monday, the film added $16.29 million over the weekend to its running tally, which now sits at $113.24 million. It became the 20th film released in 2013 to reach the century mark, but it wasn't the only one to do so this weekend.
Disney's Planes earned fifth place over the three-day weekend with $7.75 million and fourth place over the four-day weekend with $10.88 million. Its running tally is $73.97 million, which means it will run out of steam before it hits the century mark. That said, it will last long enough to cover its production budget domestically and it could cover its global P&A budget on the international scene. Not bad for a film that was supposed to go direct-to-DVD.
Instructions Not Included is one of the biggest surprises, not of the weekend, but of the year ... Possibly of all time. The film earned $7.85 million / $10.38 million over the three-day / four-day weekend while playing in just 348 theaters. To put this into perspective, its opening day per theater average would have ranked second best in the top ten when compared to the other film's four-day averages. Its best single-day per theater average over the weekend was $9,002, which would have been second best for the weekend. Granted, its reviews are mixed; it's a sappy family dramedy with tonal issues, but that's far from fatal for a mainstream hit. There's no doubt it has already earned some measure of mainstream success, and if it can significantly reach out beyond Hispanics, it will grow next weekend. That is asking a lot, but it is possible.
The next best new release was Getaway, although using the term "best" is just not right here. It barely cracked the top ten with $4.50 million over the three-day weekend and $5.61 million over four. Additionally, its reviews are among the worst for any wide release this year, so its legs will likely be tiny. I don't expect it to survive in theaters till the end of September.
Closed Circuit managed better reviews, but it opened even worse. It placed 16th with $2.46 million over the three-day weekend for a six-day opening of $3.62 million. Its per theater average was bad at just $2,833 over the three-day period, which means most theater owners will drop it as soon as they are contractually able to.
Looking in on the Sophomore Class, we don't see much worth talking about. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones crashed 41% over the three-day portion of the weekend earning $5.48 million. Its running tally is $24.52 million, as of Monday. Unless it is a major hit international, and I see no evidence of that, it will never cover its $60 million production budget. If the studio continues production on the sequel, then someone needs to be fired. Despite some of the best reviews of the year, The World's End suffered the worst drop-off in the top ten with $5.04 million. Granted, it only cost $20 million to make, so its running tally of $18.32 million isn't bad, but it deserved better. You're Next fell out of the top ten with $4.09 million over the three-day portion of the weekend for a total of $14.41 million after 11 days of release. Like The World's End, its low budget will help it reach profitability, but it deserved better.
One final note, there were two major milestones hit over the weekend. World War Z crossed $200 million domestically, making it the eighth film released in 2013 to reach that milestone. It cost nearly $200 million to make, but it likely has enough worldwide to break even, or at the very least it will get there during its initial push on the home market. Pacific Rim won't be as lucky. It was able to reach the century mark over the weekend, becoming the 21st film released in 2013 to do so. However, it also cost nearly $190 million to make and since so much of its international box office came from China, the studio won't see as much of its total. It is not a complete bomb and getting to $100 million will save face, but it likely won't break even any time soon.
Date posted: 2013-09-04