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Weekend Wrap-Up: New Releases Can't Rise to the Occasion

August 6th, 2012

As I've mentioned before, for a film to repeat at the top of the box office, it generally just needs to earn a massive opening and to avoid a big fall during its sophomore stint. However, for a film to earn first place at the box office three times in a row, it needs help from weak new releases. This is certainly the case with The Dark Knight Rises. Granted, it did hold on better than expected this weekend, but the two new releases, Total Recall and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, were so far behind that The Dark Knight Rises would have won with ease, even if it just missed expectations. The weakness in the new releases resulted in the overall box office falling 8.5% from last week to just $123 million. More importantly, this was 27% lower than the same weekend last year. 2012 is still head of 2011's pace, but the margin has been reduced to just 4.2% at $6.80 billion to $6.53 billion. If things don't turn around soon, 2012 might relinquish its lead before the end of the year.

The Dark Knight Rises added $35.74 million over the weekend for a total of $353.94 million after three weeks of release. It became just the 35th film of all time to reach the $300 million mark and did it in the third fastest time. It is on pace to become the 14th film to get to $400 million, but it will take more than a week to get there, putting it below Avatar's pace.

Total Recall will be all but forgotten after this opening. It managed to earn a distant second place with just $25.58 million, but this is barely more than the original opened with in 1990 and it is nothing compared to its $138 million production budget. Additionally, with weak reviews, there's little hope it will have good legs, meaning the studio might recoup less money from this theatrical run than it cost to advertise. Unless the film is a shocking hit internationally, they will lose money on this film.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days was also weaker than expected opening with just $14.62 million. There is some good news, as the movie only cost $22 million to make, so it should still make a profit, although it will have to wait till the home market to do so. The film's reviews improved from before the weekend and reached exactly 50% positive, which is exactly average for the franchise thus far. With the film's family friendly nature and the lack of direct competition next weekend, it should hold on rather well, but it will still see a pretty big drop-off from the first two installments in the franchise.

As expected, Ice Age: Continental Drift earned $8.61 million over the weekend and it now has $132.07 million after four weeks of release. It should end its run just over $150 million, which is good for a film that cost $100 million to make.

The Watch placed fifth with $6.53 million over the weekend for a total of $25.54 million after two. It did hold on a bit better than its reviews would suggest, but its per theater average is still barely above $2,000. As a result, I think a significant number of theater owners will be dropping the film by this Friday and there's almost no chance the studio will break even on this one any time soon.

Step Up Revolution was right behind with $5.93 million over the weekend for a total of $23.72 million after two. It too fell 49% during its sophomore stint and while its reviews and its per theater average are better than the previous film, they are not better by enough to suggest it will hold onto its theater count much longer than The Watch does, but at least the film cost much less to make, so it could earn a profit depending on how well it does internationally and / or on the home market.

One final note, Ted became the eighth film released in 2012 to reach $200 million and it was the cheapest film to get to that milestone so far this year.


Filed under: The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, Ted, Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Watch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Step Up Revolution