J.J. Abrams's second go-round on the Star Trek carousel was the top dog at the box office this weekend, with $70.6 million accrued over the weekend and $84.1 million in the bank since it opened on Wednesday. But that's actually $16 million less than Paramount forecast, the Los Angeles Times reports. Promising signs for the movie include the fact that it has managed an A rating at CinemaScore, and that its international box office is healthier than it was for the first flick: $80.5 million has already been stacked in the exotic climes of not-America. (The Times credits, in part, "Efforts made at the script level more action, less allegory." Which, duh. Everyone knows German people, among many others, hate allegories.) The Hangover Part III and Fast & Furious 6 hit theaters next week, so Star Trek Into Darkness will have some fiercer competition soon enough. And so, when the story of STID’s box office performance is ultimately written, the big question might remain. Would it have made more money if the colon hadn't been inexplicably, bewilderingly left out of the title?
Iron Man 3 opened this weekend, and it opened huge. It managed $175.3 million, which makes it the second-biggest opening ever — second behind only its own lead-in, The Avengers. As the Huffington Post points out, along with its international tally so far of $504.8 million, the flick has managed $680.1 million right off the bat.
You expect a Michael Bay joint to take the top box office slot when that joint has screeching space robots, or Martin Lawrence dropping gems of knowledge and badassery, or just, generally, a whole mess of stuff exploding underneath glorious lens flare. But when Bay goes small-ball (at least by his standards), like with Pain & Gain, you don't necessarily foresee box office glory. And, yes, relative to the Transformers flicks, P&G's first-week haul was paltry: just your basic $20 million. But not only was that good enough for a no. 1 opening, it also almost recouped the entire production budget for the movie — a reported $26 million, downright peanuts for Bay — in its first weekend. Certainly, seeing this kind of result, Michael Bay will be encouraged to go only deeper and deeper into the indie/lo-fi/DIY movie world. By the end of next year, if Bay isn't shooting a black-and-white travelogue with Greta Gerwig as his leading lady and Noah Baumbach as his co-writer, frankly, I'll be shocked.
Hey, Oblivion won the weekend box office! Tom Cruise is back! Or, you know, sort of back. I mean, he was more or less back already, after Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. But then he had some serious flops, so he was gone again. But this one did pretty well, so he's back. Yep. Back. For now. I think.
And so it goes. Ever since Oprah's couch signaled the latter days of Tom Cruise, the rising and falling and rising box office fortunes of America's no. 1 most-down-for-the-cause, never-say-die movie star have been endlessly scrutinized. In so doing, we seek nothing less than the true answer to that most timeless of Hollywood questions: Do we or do we not like Tom Cruise right now? And I guess, right now, we do? Who knew?
In the grand tradition of pumped-up, misplaced American exceptionalism, G.I. Joe: Retaliation steamrolled over its inherent terribleness (our own Wesley Morris called it "self-congratulation that's too brain-dead to know that it's farce") to go big at this weekend's box office. According to Hollywood.com, Joe and the gang pulled in $51.7 million domestically since opening on Thursday and another $80.3 million internationally, good for an overall ("Hang on. I'm just checking your math on that. Yes. I got the same thing") $132 million, and the biggest! international debut! of 2013!
That the movie managed that kind of public outreach isn't surprising only because of its critical taken-behind-the-wood-shed'ing; many assumed a smaller role for gold-heart-having stripper Channing Tatum would hurt Joe, as well. But as producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura pointed out, sequel king Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson managed to pick up the Tatum slack: "I believe in movie stars, that's for sure. And he certainly is one. He's this amazing specimen.
"Also, sometimes he'll bust out The People's Eyebrow right in the middle of a table read, and that is just the most adorable thing ever," Bonaventura did not add.
With an $80 million weekend, Oz the Great and Powerful scored easily the best opening weekend of the year so far. Which means GET READY for more character-specific Oz offerings. Cowardly Lion: Witch Hunter? You're next. This is good news for all sorts of people: Sam Raimi, who has yet another blockbuster success with franchise potential. James Franco, who can finance a hundred more student films about his fascination with gayness with whatever he makes off the back end. Mila Kunis, who should probably start claiming credit for that awesome interview with that British kid.
There will be no credit passed around the camp at Jack the Giant Slayer. With a $10 million second weekend that officially qualifies as a plummet, Bryan Singer's film is looking at a John Carter–like disaster.
Warm Bodies — a self-described "zom-rom-com" (zombie romantic comedy), a term heretofore, one hopes, forever excised from this earth — took the top spot at this weekend's box office, with a respectable $20 million. How did a flick starring relatively anonymous British person Nicholas Hoult just pull that off? (Don't get me wrong — About a Boy? Skins? Nicholas Hoult is my dude. It's just that, around here, he's best known, if at all, for bedding Jennifer Lawrence.) The answer lies in Tween Nation's unquenchable thirst for movies where vampires fall in love with humans.
Surprise, surprise: Very few people said the words "I simply must go see the disgraced former governor of California palling around with a dude who used to get his nuts Tasered on a regular basis" this weekend. In other words: The Last Stand, Arnold's big post– politics and secret-love-child-with-nanny return to the multiplex, flopped at the box office, managing only $6.3 million and a 10th-place finish. My opinion? Johnny Knoxville should have been wearing a dumber hat.
If you've read anything about Cloud Atlas, you're probably pretty sick of seeing this word you're about see. I apologize for that; it's tough to get around. So, OK, one more time: From the get-go, the tag on this thing was that it was — all together now! — "unfilmable." Speculation about how in the hell David Mitchell's epic novel was going to be translated for the screen was launched with the largely incomprehensible, largely gorgeous trailer; was tempered when its directors, the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, did a pretty endearing job of explaining their crazy ambition, in both video and New Yorker profile form; and reached a critical mass with the polarized reactions to its film festival screenings and reviews. But all that chatter hasn't seemed to help much. The flick, budgeted at around $100 million, opened this weekend to a paltry $9.4 million.
After last weekend's shameful box office numbers, things are looking up in Hollywood. Originality is still dead, for the most part: The big movies were a re-release and a sequel. But at least the same old, unoriginal stuff made some money!
First, good news for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Out in only five theaters, it managed a $729,745 haul. That's a $145,949 per theater average, and that's the BEST per-theater average for a live-action film EVER. (The record was most recently held by Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which put up a $130,749 figure). Yes, The Master reviews are already gushing, and Oscar glory seems destined. But (relatively) big money is always a bonus come award season, differentiating your classy high-brow fare from all the classy high-brow fare nobody saw. PTA's highest-grossing movie to date was his last, 2007's There Will Be Blood, which managed over $40 million. If The Master's hoping to take that title, it's off to a damn fine start. If David Miscavige seems particularly irritable this morning, this is probably why.
How limited is the release of Wes Anderson's new filmMoonrise Kingdom? Well, as this reporter discovered on Friday, it didn't even open in Canada. But even without the powerhouse Canadian audience driving ticket sales, Kingdom opened huge: According to Deadline, it took in an average of $130,752 in four U.S. locations over the long weekend, thus setting a new specialty box office record. (Judging by the crowd I saw it with yesterday on Manhattan's Upper West Side, ticket buyers largely consisted of loud sexagenarians who find solemn pre-adolescents irresistibly charming.)
Expectations were fairly low for A Thousand Words, the high-concept Eddie Murphy comedy shelved a few years back and finally released this weekend. And those expectations were ... yeah, they were right on. The movie delivered a historically ignominious performance, both bombing at the box office — a measly $6.3 million, barely enough to cover the average Hollywood production’s Smartwater and Edible Arrangements budget — and meeting the full wrath of the critical community. As of right now, A Thousand Words is sporting a remarkable zero percent Rotten Tomatoes score. That means 39 professional appreciators of film were paid to attempt to appreciate this movie, and all 39 of them definitively failed to do so. As the Guardian points out, “other no-marks include the Adam Sandler-scripted sex comedy Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, the ham-fisted Pinocchio film by Roberto Benigni, and the disastrous adaptation of the Nicci French novel Killing Me Softly with Joseph Fiennes. A Thousand Words is unique, however, in having a significant amount of critics agree on the poor quality of a vehicle for a high-profile Hollywood star.” The silver lining, thankfully, is obvious. With that kind of the-exact-opposite-of-overwhelming-immediate-critical-acclaim going for it, A Thousand Words is destined to forever live on, much like Bucky Larson before it, in Razzie lore.
For a while there, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol looked like an embattled production. Its biggest issue was its star: with his latter-day appeal a question mark, the forces-that-be seemed to be pushing attention away from Tom Cruise, and the franchise’s past, by hiring high-profile co-operatives like Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton, and adding -- and heavily promoting -- that elegant subtitle.
Now, though, everything’s just peachy! The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with Rotten Tomatoes at a whopping 95%. Also: this thing is making ducats. After an early international premiere landed it a insane $68 million in just five days, this weekend’s limited US release continues to augur good things. In something of an experiment, Paramount opened MI4 in IMAX-only theaters, meaning only 425 locations. It killed, pulling in $13 million and a sickeningly devastating per-screen average. Not hurting the cause was the presence of The Dark Knight Rises trailer, playing ahead of MI4 in 40 of those 425 theaters.
And why did Warner Bros. agree to attach its impending blockbuster’s trailer to a rival studio’s production, rather than its own Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, which also opened this weekend? Because Paramount had stockpiled the IMAX screens for MI4, forcing the WB’s hand. That wouldn’t have been a particularly big deal if it wasn’t for the fact that Sherlock Holmes, in it second go-around with asskicking Robert Downey Jr. in the lead, stumbled. The first neo-Holmes pulled in $62.3 million in its opening weekend; this one, a relatively disappointing $40 million. Meaning: somewhere, as we speak, RDJ is shaking an angry fist at the fact that he didn’t get a ride on the Dark Knight Rises gravy train.
Holmes pull was good enough for first place, though, adding insult to injury for Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. The insult: Making only $23.5 million this weekend, out-and-out weak sauce compared to Alvin and the Chipmunks 2’s $48.8 million. The injury: Being called Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. And it wasn’t only uninspired sequels getting the shaft. Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, which did well in its limited release, expanded wider without dramatically boosting its haul. It landed at seventh place, with $3.7 million.
All these disappointing box office numbers getting you down? Let’s focus on the positive in the negative! Meaning: Let’s all laugh at New Year’s Eve! The execrable Josh Duhamel and Co. production continues to crash and burn, and, with $7 million this weekend, is down 43% from last week’s already crappy numbers.
With zero new films in wide release, this weekend was won (again) by Breaking Dawn, fast on its way to earning all of the world's money. Below, your Top Five movies.
1. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (weekend: $16.9 million; total: $247.3 million)
Jesus, Twilight fans. Enough! Topping the box office for the third consecutive weekend is fourquel Breaking Dawn, which has already earned more than half a billion dollars worldwide despite being even worse than the previous three Twilight movies.
The box-office slump continues as not even vampires, Muppets, and a 3-D kids' movie about film preservation could prevent a 12 percent drop in grosses from last year's five-day Thanksgiving weekend. Below, your Top Five movies.
1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 (weekend: $62.3 million; total: $221.3 million)
Teenage America saved money on turkey over the weekend, opting for this appetite-suppressing sequel starring Robert Pattinson as a sparkly midwife who delivers a demon baby via C-section with his teeth. Breaking Dawn's 10-day take is good but down a bit from that of 2008's less disgusting New Moon, which made $230.9 million in its first two weekends without chewing through any umbilical cords.