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Weekend B.O. Aug. 17-19 (A Lackluster 'Sparkle')

Box Office
by Sergio
August 19, 2012 1:52 PM
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Sparkle 2012

Don't say I didn't tell you, but I did. And maybe it's because of the summer doldrums, but Sparkle, and in fact all this weekend's new releases, underperfomed to expectations.

In the case of Sparkle, box office analysts last week were predictiing a $20-22 million weekend gross that, by Friday night, dropped down to $16 million. But this weekend's take of $12 million was lower than anyone expected.

In my piece below, about the lack of a 35th anniversary blu-ray DVD of the original film, I gave my reasons why I thought the film wouldn't do well. But to paraphrase what I said - just who exactly was the audience for this film? With that b.o. opening, the film will have a very hard time reaching just $35 million before all is said and done.

And Total Recall, when you consider its production budget and what it's taken in so far (unless it does monster business overseas), is set to become the biggest flop of the summer.

And the one weird new entry is the 13th place box office listing for 2016 Obama's America one of those paranoid, "Obama is black nationalist radical socialist out to destroy America" documentaries made by and for people who spend a lot of their free time wearing white hoods and burning crosses, longing for the good day days when black folks knew their place.

1) The Expendables 2     LGF     $28,750,000
2) The Bourne Legacy     Uni.     $17,020,000 Total: $69,581,000
3) ParaNorman     Focus     $14,008,000    
4) The Campaign     WB     $13,385,000     Total:$51,694,000
5) Sparkle     TriS     $12,000,000    
6) The Dark Knight Rises     WB     $11,140,000     Total:$409,916,000
7) The Odd Life of Timothy Green     BV     $10,909,000 Total:$15,187,000    
8) Hope Springs     Sony     $9,100,000     Total:$35,051,000
9) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days     Fox     $3,850,000     Total:$38,762,000
10) Total Recall     Sony     $3,500,000         Total:$51,782,000    
11) Ice Age: Continental Drift     Fox     $2,950,000         Total:$150,136,000
12) Ted     Uni.     $1,625,000     Total:$213,146,000    
13) 2016 Obama's America     RM     $1,249,000     Total:$2,067,000

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  • Sheila | August 21, 2012 9:10 PMReply

    Let's get something straight: Sparkle is playing on a thousand fewer screens than most films in the top 10, “Sparkle” took in a very respectable $12 million in the first 3 days with a budget of only 14 million (TheExpendables2 had a budget of 100M and did not recoup its budget after 3 days either). Sparkle had the second highest per screen average of the weekend and is the only movie among the newly released with a Rating "A" Cinemascore! It shouldn’t have any trouble making its money back.Therefore Sparkle is NOT a flop,even the serious papers like the Washington Post and LA Times said it did "RESPECTABLE"!!!!
    Why didn't you give the same negative write-up about the REAL flop movies like Beyonce's "Cadillac Records" movie or more recently Tom Cruise's "Rock Of Ages" ?

  • CareyCarey | August 20, 2012 7:42 AMReply

    Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Yes, sir, yes, sir, three big bags full; One for my master, and one for the dame, and one for the black folks who lives down the lane. Director Salim Akil says, "hey baby what we gonna do now? Folks might start to realize that we've been faking?". His wife, Mara Brock Akil the writers says, "Well, we have that wool so maybe we can pull it over everyone's eyes and blame the cast for this dude. If not, I'm gonna blame the other writer, the white guy Howard Rosenman. Howard says, "Hell nawl, don't blame me, it was you who convinced the money people that you could write a screenplay and that your husband, who last worked in a mortuary for 5 years and an out patient clinic for bi-polars, schitzophrenics and manic depressives for another 5, was a director. That boy can't direct his way out of a paper bag. So be quiet and give me some of that wool so I can make me an afro. I gotta blend in so I can get the hell out of here". The beat goes on... The baa baa black sheep had plenty of wool, yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

  • PRISS | August 19, 2012 11:11 PMReply

    Below industry expectations, but not considered a bomb. Regardless, look for this to put the brakes on the THINK LIKE A MAN pitching momentum that was happening around town. David Talbert got his thing up. The Screen Gems jokers installed white writers and director to puke out the new epitome of bad re-titling for ABOUT LAST NIGHT the black version or whatever it is now called. The JHud drug mom fiasco that's in the works. There was a little roll happening because of TLAM. Future stuff will be slowed down due to this middling performance by SPARKLE. You know we have to prove ourselves every single time.

  • Charles Judson | August 19, 2012 11:58 PM

    I wouldn't go so far as to see this having an impact on slowing down the pitching or more films. Even if SPARKLE only makes $25 million, it's road to making money is substantially lower than for a true flop like RECALL. EXPENDABLES 2 opened lower than it's predecessor and it has name recognition and buzz that SPARKLE didn't have. The last few weeks and this entire year have seen weak openers. I see studios having more confidence in pulling the trigger on more films like this as they fall in line with other late Summer and Winter releases. Between Perry, Rainforest Films and films like JUMPING THE BROOM on the studio side and LAUGH AT MY PAIN on the self distributed side (which gave Hart an extra career boost), you're not likely to see too many execs scared off from producing more of these films. As long as they hit in the $20 to $25 million range as a floor and keep hitting around $40 million, they'll keep making them for the foreseeable future. It does mean they're likely to never get out of the $10 to $14 million range of budget though. Which is basically inline with what films like THE BEST MAN ($9 million) and THE WOOD($6 million) were doing 13 years ago. It looks like we've basically circled back around.

  • Zuri | August 19, 2012 11:49 PM

    Sparkle was a fail out of the gate (those who loved the original likely had no interest in seeing a new version with lesser-known/unproven actresses, and most of the marketing didn't do it any favors) but let's not pooh-pooh the chances of other writers and producers who are developing ORIGINAL ideas for modern black audiences. We're thirsty to see ourselves on screen in relevant, paradigm-changing films.

  • Charles Judson | August 19, 2012 10:29 PMReply

    LOVE JONES and NINE aren't the best comparisons. WAITING TO EXHALE, JUMPING THE BROOM and DREAMGIRLS are the better films to pick. Not only in who was involved, but they have the right kind of overlap for the audience that would come to a film like SPARKLE. WAITING did $67 million and DREAMGIRLS did $103 million. JUMPING did $37 million. The $20 million opening weekend estimates means they were looking for at least WAITING numbers. But Melissa is right, if the film holds on it could be a surprise. However, the weak opening isn't a good sign because doing 40% less than expected means $35 million is it's best bet but not assured. Most current films do 3 times their opening weekend, strong do closer to 4 to 6, weaker ones do around 2 and some change, rightout out flops do 2 and under. Since they revised the estimates down to $16 million--which was probably their fall back number to do JUMPING numbers--and the film dropped even more to $12 million shows a overall lack of confidence in the movie. SPARKLE could erode fast and top out at around $25 million. You add in P&A costs around $10 million at minimum that means the film will barely break even. Yes, it will likely still show a profit in ancillary sales, but with what they were expecting it is a lackluster opening. The kind of opening that sends people scrambling to rework everything (number of theaters to keep the film in, marketing and post theatrical run).

  • sandra dee | August 19, 2012 6:53 PMReply

    It didn't do bad for a musical, since they generally make between $12-20 million on opening weekend. The film 'Nine' bombed at the box office, yet it still managed to nab Oscar nominations.

  • Charles Judson | August 19, 2012 10:48 PM

    Three tech nominations and a best actress nomination for a film that had lots of early buzz, is based on one of the most revered films among critics and cinephiles, has at least 5 academy award nominated and winning actors and a nominated director is the sign of a failure in Hollywood. It might help sell a few extra DVDs adding Cruz's name and the nominations to a box, but a $54 million gross against an $80 million + P&A is going to require a lot of DVDs sold. The failure of NINE, as well as MEMOIRS, which also did light the box office on fire, is most likely a reason Marshall directed PIRATES "this thing will make money if I don't go nuts" 4.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | August 19, 2012 4:48 PMReply

    Considering the competition the film went up against, it'd doing just fine. Love Jones I think only made $12million total at the box office and look how popular it was plus a soundtrack. The stars in this film are not well known and neither are the Brocks except in the African American community. Plus there wasn't alot of advertisement for this film and stars didn't really start doing interviews till about two weeks ago. It will definitely reach $30million I think.

  • Melissa | August 19, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    It's not a big deal. It will make more than its budget back. Opening weekend doesnt ALWAYS determine how a film will do in the long run

  • Orville | August 19, 2012 3:36 PMReply

    But the budget was only $14 million dollars according to Box Office Mojo so how is this lackluster? The movie will make the budget back. Sparkle also didn't have any real stars in the lead roles.No offense to Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter, Carmen Ejogo fans those ladies are basically unknown to film audiences. I think the movie did okay with unknown talent in the lead roles.
    Whitney Houston is also dead so obviously she couldn't promote the movie. I think Whitney's death actually had a role in the under performance of the film. If Whitney was alive this movie would have gotten a major boost in promotion. But since Whitney is deceased the movie didn't do as well because the three female leads are not stars.

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