SUNDAY 12 PM, 10TH UPDATE: No peace on Easter Weekend because Hollywood studios are now fighting over records. Disney is insisting that it had 2013’s biggest global opening for Oz The Great And Powerful of $148M worldwide. The Paramount record is for 2013’s best international so its exec was overreaching by claiming G.I. Joe: Retaliation had the year’s best global gross.
SUNDAY 9 AM, 9TH UPDATE: Paramount now says that G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened with a global gross of $132 million (including previews, which is +35% ahead of the worldwide opening of the first installment. The studio revised its international estimate to $80.3M based upon Saturday’s excellent play for what is the best international opening of 2013. (It surpassed Oz The Great And Powerful by 15% despite only opening in 75% of the world.) Refined domestic figures are up slightly – $41.2M for the three-day Easter Weekend because Saturday came in stronger than expected, with a 4 1/2-day cume of $51.7M. Exit polling of audiences showed that 68% was male and 59% over age 25. Until now, no title had even cracked the $70M mark overseas this year. The sequel’s international opening was almost double the disappointing first installment G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for the same territories. This weekend’s release represented about 75% of the world, with major territories like China (April 15) and Japan (June 8 ) yet to open. G.I. Joe: Retaliation was #1 in an overwhelming majority of release territories, including Russia, Korea, Mexico, Germany, Australia, and France. Key international results included Russia $11M, Korea and Mexico $6M each, Germany and UK $4.5M each. For IMAX, domestic grossed $4.8M on 303 screens for this digital-only run while international hit $2.35M on 78 screens for $30K a screen. All in all, a good foreign result for co-financiers MGM and David Ellison’s Skydance Productions. Also for director Jon Chu who made the leap from dance and music-centric projects like the Step Up franchise and the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never concert documentary to this actioner.
SUNDAY 7 AM, 8TH UPDATE: Easter Weekend box office had Hollywood watching the North American grosses not unlike a hen hatching an egg. Total moviegoing was $145M which is up +18% from last year’s holiday. I wanted to wait to see more weekend grosses before passing judgment – and indeed Saturday’s numbers were flat and even down compared to Friday’s strong start. The easy #1 was Paramount’s much-delayed sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (3,719 theaters) which opened the 2nd best Easter Weekend. But that isn’t as impressive as it sounds because the other movies in contention were 2D while 2010’s 3D Wrath Of The Titans debuted with $61.2M. G.I. Joe 2 posted $40.8M domestic with a cume of $51.4M (screenings began at 7 PM Wednesday through Thursday) which is -18% less than the original’s unimpressive debut. But the second installment cost $50M less and studio says it did “much more” internationally “which is where the 3D really pays off”. Paramount is estimating this spring tentpole’s worldwide cume is now $120M after Friday’s “very strong” overseas results were more than double for the same group of territories on the first Friday. This compensated for what I considered to be a ‘meh’ 4 1/2-day domestic debut. It opened to $10.5M Thursday (including $2.5M from some Wednesday night and Thursday midnight screenings), $15.5M Friday, $15.4M Saturday and an estimated $10M Sunday. Audiences gave it an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore, better than the first installment’s ‘B+’, and that should have boosted word of mouthmore. Actioner had weeks of strong tracking and months of retooling for 3D and more Channing Tatum scenes with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Last weekend’s box office winner, DreamWorks Animation’s prehistoric family toon The Croods (4,065 theaters) distributed by Fox, held very strong for #2 its second weekend – down only -39%. “A phenomenal hold,” a Fox exec gushed to me. Pic grossed $26.6M this weekend for an $88.8M cume which will help its multiple. Internationally, the weekend box office estimate is $52.5M for a fast 10-day cume of $140.5M. Some $9M came from new openers while holdover markets represented $43.5M, off just -8% from last weekend. Worldwide total is now $229.3M. “Croods is going to play a long time, until Memorial Day really, as there’s no other true family choice until then,” a Fox exec says.
In #3 is Lionsgate’s low-budget Tyler Perry written and directed erotic thriller Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor (2,047 theaters) which exceeded expectations with an opening weekend of $22.5M (included Thursday previews). Tyler crossdressing as Medea are his biggest films but this was the 2nd highest grossing non-Madea film. It’s his 10th film, and 9th as a director, to open over $20M. With this theme of infidelity, Perry was trying for a more sexualized movie “to freshen the Tyler brand”, according to distributor Lionsgate, thus challenging his dramedy fanbase. True, he risks losing that audience by rebranding his movies or himself as an actor. (Note the weak opening of the recent Alex Cross where he was an actor-for-hire playing the famed detective of James Patterson’s novels.) But it’s hard to argue with the creative benefit to Perry of not relying on that awful Medea stereotype. Once again, Perry and his Atlanta studio were in charge of production and financing, thus keeping costs to a ridiculously low $20M. Meanwhile the unwatchable Kim Kardashian was stunt-casted and her film performance is being panned – thank god.
Still another newcomer this weekend is Open Road’s The Host (3,202 theaters) based on the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. You’d think Twi-Hards would have flocked to this sci-fi pic by their favorite author – and you’d be wrong. Good thing it was made for modest cost because it bombed. Anecdotal reports had audiences laughing in the wrong places in this film written and directed by Andrew Niccol.
Here are updated Top Ten numbers based on weekend estimates:
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 3,719] PG13
Wed/Thurs $10.5M, Friday $15.5M, Saturday $15.6M, Weekend $41.2M, Cume $51.7M
2. The Croods (DreamWorks Animation/Fox) Week 2 [Runs 4,065] PG
Friday $10.7M, Saturday $9.6M, Weekend $26.6M (-39%), Cume $88.8M
3. Tyler Perry’s Temptation (Lionsgate) NEW [Runs 2,047] PG13
Friday $9.3M, Saturday $7.9M, Weekend $22.5M
4. Olympus Has Fallen (FilmDistrict) Week 2 [Runs 3,106] R
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $5.6M, Weekend $14.1M (-53%), Cume $54.9M
5. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) Week 4 [Runs 3,324] PG
Friday $4.3M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $11.7M, Cume $198.4M
6. The Host (Open Road) NEW [Runs 3,202] PG13
Friday $5.2M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $11.0M
7. The Call (TriStar/Sony) Week 3 [Runs 2,439] R
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.7M, Cume $39.5M
8. Admission (Focus Features) Week 2 [Runs 2,161] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $3.1M (-49%), Cume $11.7M
9. Spring Breakers (A24) Week 3 [Runs 1,379] R
Friday $1M, Saturday $932K, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $9.9M
10. Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 1,575] PG13
Friday $490K, Saturday $505K, Weekend $1.2M, Cume $20.5M
THURSDAY AM: Sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation began its Easter Weekend domestic debut with $2.5 million from Wednesday evening and Thursday midnight shows. “A little more than we expected. And tracking finished up great,” a Paramount exec tells me this morning. “Maybe we do have a shot at $50M in the U.S.”