TUESDAY 10TH UPDATE… TOP TEN GROSSES BELOW… This Presidents Weekend overall was a so-so moviegoing weekend and not a good one, even though this holiday is usually one of the hottest domestic. If only the opening pics had been better. Total moviegoing was $164M, or down -15% from last year. The race for #1 was closer than expected. Twentieth Century Fox’s critically panned A Good Day To Die Hard (3,552 theaters) went up more than +45% from Friday to Saturday and held Sunday to win the 4-day holiday. But Universal thought its 2nd place holdover, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman frenemy comedy Identity Thief, was giving it a run for its money. As a Universal exec told me, “To think we could even scare a #1 film is a great accomplishment.” So it came down to Monday’s grosses with the $92 million budgeted actioner that’s a 25-year-old franchise ending up with an unimpressive $36.7M in its first 5 days. Last time around, 2007’s Live Free Or Die Hard opened on a Wednesday and earned $48.3M for the 5 days and $33.3M for the 3-day weekend. Fox shrugged off the awful reviews – only 13% positive on Rotten Tomatoes – for this R-rated mess directed by John Moore, scripted by Skip Woods, and produced by Alex Young and Wyck Godfrey. (“What reviews? There are reviews on this movie?,” a Fox exec laughed.) On Sunday, Fox released international numbers claiming A Good Day To Die Hard had an “explosive weekend” grossing its biggest weekend ever – $61.5M from 9,595 screens in 63 markets to hold the #1 market position in 32 out of 37 new openers. The worldwide cume went past $80M.
There was another holiday to score: Valentine’s Day, always a huge moviegoing event. (2012’s was a $30 million Tuesday.) Thursday was won by Relativity’s critically panned romantic drama Safe Haven (3,223 theaters) -even though it was worse reviewed than Die Hard 5 with only 11% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. The Lasse Hallstrom-directed PG-13 pic has been fading since VDay. Maybe because this latest tearjerker adapted from romance novelist Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) starred Josh Duhamel who doesn’t have the sex appeal of Channing Tatum or the acting chops of Ryan Gosling. Both Die Hard 5 and Safe Haven earned ‘B+’ CinemaScores from audiences to help word of mouth. Bruce et al was #2 on Valentines Day because, when you think of romance, you think of Die Hard 5.
As for Friday’s release, The Weinstein Company’s critically panned PG toon Escape From Planet Earth (3,288 theaters) came in 4th Friday, then had a major kiddie business (Saturday +82%). But the $70M movie ($40M cost and #30 to open, according to Weinstein execs) earned only $20.8M this 4-day holiday even though there’s been nothing fresh in the family marketplace for months and most toons do $35M-40M on a 3-day weekend. With no new kid films for the next few weeks, let’s see what the multiple turns out to be. The film was directed by Cal Brunker.
Warner Bros’ Beautiful Creatures (2,950 theaters) opened Thursday as a huge disappointment after its ‘B’ CinemaScore. Scripted and directed by Richard LaGravenese, this PG-13 tween/teen goth romantic fantasy tried to capitalize on the Twilight target audience addicted to the book series – in this case, the first in the Caster Chronicles novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The marketing emphasized social media –from Instagram-released production photography to Facebook-hosted set visit contests to extensive Twitter-based interviews. There even were mall tours. But none of this could overcome the fact that the filmmakers altered the book, which annoyed fans who stayed away from the movie version.