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Weekend B.O. Jan. 3-5 (In The Bleak Midwinter)

Box Office
by Sergio
January 5, 2014 12:16 PM
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I’ve  always thought that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to release new films in January primarily because of the weather. But that wasn’t always the case.

Up until the late 1970s, studios would release major films during January without a  second thought. But with the advent of the blockbuster summer film season starting around the mid to late 70s, January gradually became more of a dumping ground for minor,  throwaway films that studios thought were losers or smaller budgeted films aimed at a particular audience, such as those 90s teen romance films like She’s All That.

That changed a few years ago when studios took a gamble and started to release bigger budgeted films aimed at wider mainstream audiences, such as The Book of Eli, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Cloverfield, The Devil Inside and Taken, which all opened to huge opening weekend grosses and went on to become big box office hits. Add the lack of competition from other movies  and,  all of the sudden, January looked like a really good month to release films. This month alone Universal has Ride Along and Paramount has Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Labor Day, along with other studios films.

But it’s risky, and it all depends on the weather  One good sized storm can make the difference between a hit and a flop, and this weekend, half the country was slammed with a major record breaking snow storm, which literally affected a third of the population in the U.S., and wait until that “Arctic Vortex” of brutal cold temperatures hits the country as far as the Deep South later tonight. Look for the Sunday through Tuesday box office totals to drop to near zero. Might as well close up the theaters.

With all that, who wants to go out to see a movie? Well evidently some people did, but the weather clearly had an effect. The major new opening, Paramount’s Paranormal Activity; The Marked Ones came in second with $18 million which is much less that last year’s Paranormal Activity 4, which opened with $29 million.

But don't cry for the Marked Ones, which cost a very modest $5 million to produce, which means Paramount will make a hefty profit on the film. Also interesting is that this latest Paranormal Activity has a  mainly Latino cast to cash in on the fact that the series is extremely popular with Latino audiences, which begs the question -  will there ever be an all black cast one? 

Hey someone has to ask these questions.

Meanwhile, appropriately, Disney’s Frozen, which was actually beaten on Friday by The Marked Ones, roared back and was the No.1 film this weekend.

All other films dropped anywhere from 27% to 44%, with the biggest drop being for A Madea Christmas, with a 54% drop, falling out of the top 12 completely. But with a total so far of just over $50.4 million, the film, though it didn’t become the biggest grossing Madea ever, and nowhere near the lowest grossing film Tyler Perry has made, is still falling short of what was originally projected.  

1) Frozen BV $20,722,000 Total: $297,838,000 
2) Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Par. $18,200,000 
3) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug WB $16,250,000 Total: $229,634,000 
4) The Wolf of Wall Street Par. $13,400,000 Total: $63,295,000 
5) American Hustle Sony $13,200,000 Total: $88,700,000 
6) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Par. $11,100,000 Total: $109,180,000 
7) Saving Mr. Banks BV $9,057,000 Total: $59,320,000 
8) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Fox $8,200,000 Total: $45,669,000 
9) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire LGF $7,400,000 Total: $407,488,000 
10) Grudge Match WB $5,410,000 Total: $24,920,000 
11) 47 Ronin Uni. $5,003,000 Total: $32,634,000  
12) Walking with Dinosaurs Fox $3,780,000 Total: $31,384,000 
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  • beemooree | January 6, 2014 3:18 AMReply

    Curtis no it hasn't. In order for a film to do that it has to make double its budget. So if the budget is 20mil. It needs to make at least 40. Will packer broke it down on his twitter how a film makes its money back. Half of bo earnings go to the theaters and other half goes to studio

  • Donella | January 6, 2014 9:35 PM

    12 Years will release in the UK and Ireland this weekend.

    I predict big doings in McQueen's, Ejiofer's, and Fassbender's native lands.

    Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, and Japan follow--all large markets. Too bad there's no Russia or China release. I guess those markets are for the blockbusters.

  • Sergio | January 6, 2014 8:37 AM

    "As much as it pains me to agree with Sergio..."

    Yeah that intense burning sensation you'll feeling is that fact that I'm I always am. Which means you're in pain quite a lot

  • Micah | January 6, 2014 5:14 AM

    Beemooree, you do realize that 12 yrs is almost at $40 million according to Box Office Mojo. You kind of undermined your original point about it being a flop.

    As much as it pains me to agree with Sergio this was a prestige piece and no one expected it to be a huge Django style blockbuster. They're probably happy with it doing twice it's budget in the states and now it's going to be released elsewhere.

  • Ghost | January 5, 2014 8:13 PMReply

    Better question, what's the point of making a profit if your film has no legs in theaters?

    Because it can make a killing on DVD or get rerun nonstop on BET, TVOne, OWN or some other network.

    How many channels have aired a Tyler Perry film 4-5 times in one day? Don't let IFC get a hold of Tyler's films.

    And lets not forget the other reason why black film doesn't have legs in theaters-BOOTLEG-a black film will get bootlegged and posted on Torrents faster than Star Trek and most white films.

  • CC | January 5, 2014 5:25 PMReply

    Why do black films drop off ( fall hard, have no legs) at the box office after its opening weekend? Really... are we serioulsy asking that question?

    Listen, I may never be mistaken for Einstein, Plato nor Speusippus, but I know a little basic math. Therefore I know 1 minus 1, equals zero ( 1 -1 = 0), okay. I am suggesting that since only a select few black movies even make it to the major market, when one does hit we're all over it. Consequently, in the second and third weeks after its release, who's left to see it? look, every weekend there's plenty of white films to choose from and they generally stay around a while. But if one desires a black film, they better not blink, turn their head or procrastinate too long, because if it's not making big money (and it's a black film) that thang will be gone like a turkey through the corn. So we tend to get it while the gettin' is good, which leaves only a few behind.

  • Sergio | January 7, 2014 2:49 PM

    That's what I wrote in a my biox office anaysis for BMH the second week of release. That despite all the pre-relase hype hype, the reality was that it always had a limited audience - exclusively black women between the ages of 22-45. But in the end all that matters was it was a big box office hit for Universal. In fact it was the only real money maker the studio had during the last six months of 2013.

    And considering the huge drop off of black films, you can say thet exact same thing for most horror films. They atract a certain hard core devoted audience the first week and then drop off big. Very few of them really go on to become box office smashes with the occasional exception of something like The Conjuring which has made over $318 million worldwide. And that film was made for only $20 million just a little bit more than it cost the make BHM. In other words Warners thought at first the film would have a limited appeal mainly to horror fans

    Films made for a particular audeince will always have a limited appeal. But that doesn't mean that they're any less worthy than any other type of film. That's the way it used to be for the longest until the "blockbuster" mentality really took over Hollywood during the late 70's Blockbusters are, of course, desgined to attact as many and as all kinds of people as people which is why budgets for those films are always bigger than average. the studios know that they can always make back their money when you add in the overseas market. But I fail to see what's wrong with making a lower budgeted film aimed for a certain audience and making a profit than spending $200 million and up on some humongous blockbuster and crossing your fingers that the film will at least break even. John Carter anyone? How about Lone Ranger? R.I. P.D.? 47 Ronin? That's almost $900 million spent on just four films that will never see a profit in their lifetime

  • Rocket | January 7, 2014 2:12 PM

    I was thinking the same thing. The great percentage of black people that wanted to see BMH went the first weekend. My wife actually got me out the house to see it. But after that what are we supposed to do? Go see it two or three more times? Once is enough. It will be on DVD soon anyway.

    I think some don't realize just how small the black film market is domestically. If a black film is not bringing in a majority non-black crowd its not going to remain in the top ten very long.

  • Donella | January 6, 2014 9:25 PM


  • Daryl | January 5, 2014 5:22 PMReply

    Looking at the comments, too many people up here put too much stock in the box office, instead on a film having legs. If your film makes a small profit, break even or don't lose too much money that's just the beginning of if a film is sucessful, that's not going to determine your overall film success, it's going to be what does the film do after the box office in the upcoming years, that's where you see the real profits, example if an indie film is made and marketed for 4 million and it makes 3.2 million at the box office, but in the upcoming years it makes over 10 million and counting, that film is a success. I don't just judge a film sucess on the box office unless it was a huge box office flop but whether the film has legs for the long run.

  • Donella | January 6, 2014 9:25 PM

    Yeah, someone mentioned a Haunted House further down, but that film made $40 million on a $2 million budget which equals PROFIT which equals Haunted House 2. Besides, I laughed my head off in the theater with everyone else. Winning!

  • lisa | January 5, 2014 4:04 PMReply

    Black films don't have good legs at the box office. It does not matter how big the fan base is or how much they love it. The Best Man Holiday is the perfect example for that.

  • taye | January 5, 2014 2:58 PMReply

    This brings up a very good argument. What do black films fall hard in there second week. Let's forget about Perry for a second because Madea Chritmas made almost 3 times it's budget back. Let's look at The Best Man 2. The film made 3 times it's budget back so it is a box office hit but that film had awful legs. It dropped 60% in its second week. Look at Mandela. They guy just did yet nobody is seeing that film. 95% of black film s drops 50+% in the box office but nobody ever ask why. The only film to not do so this year was 42 and The Butler and let's face those film had white appeal.

    Look at 12 years a slave. A major oscar contender that did not hold up in the box office like many expected.

  • Donella | January 6, 2014 9:21 PM

    I think 12 Years a Slave is considered an independent. It fit into the window budget-wise to win multiple Independent Spirit nominations

  • sergio | January 5, 2014 8:57 PM

    !2 Years is doing well b.o. wise It not was conceived to be a blockbuster and nor did anyone think that it would make Django-type money. Are you kidding? Django is an action fantasy film, 12 years is definitely not. Who said 12 Years was excepted to be a blockbuster box office hit? That's why the budget of the film was $20 million to keep costs low with everyone taking a huge cut in salary so that it would have good chance to make back its production budget at the minimum, which has already twice over. Django's budget was $85 million

  • curtis | January 5, 2014 5:38 PM

    12 years cost 20 million to make so it has made its budget bbck.

  • beemooree | January 5, 2014 5:10 PM

    12 years is a flop so far. It hasn't made its budget back. It will have to do well in the foreign territory. I guess fox thought it would be a django blockbuster. I think ppl are tired of slave themed projects

  • The Lone Dante | January 5, 2014 3:10 PM

    That is a good point and it's not just those two films.

    A Haunted House was a hit but it dropped 55% in second week and was out of the top 10 after 3 weeks. Let's even go all the way back to Think Like A Man. That film made 91 million at the box office but dropped 48% in the second weekend and 54% in its third. The film was in the top 10 for 7 weeks but it's week to week drops was not the best. It seems like no matter how much we love the film black people do not do a lot of repeat viewings at the theater.

  • cary | January 5, 2014 2:42 PMReply

    Being in the top 10 does not make a movie an hit. Example. The Best Man 2 opened big to 30 million yet fell off the face of the earth the following week. That mo movie was only in the top 10 for 3 or 4 weeks. Would you can that movie a flop. If a movie makes its budget back it is a hit. If you want to see a flop look at Spike Lee joke of a film Old Boy and Red Hook Summer or look at Black Nativity a film nobody saw. Black films don't stay in the top 10 for long unless it has cross over appeal.

  • The Lone Dante | January 5, 2014 2:28 PMReply

    Like perry or not you really can't say last year was not good for him. His two main films brought in about 110 million in box office sales with a combine budget of 30-35 million. In other words he made an 80 million profit off an 35 million investment. Everybody know how well The Have and The Have Nots did and also his two other TV shows that I never saw. You mate hate him but to say last year was not a great year for him is kind of crazy.

  • chris | January 5, 2014 1:44 PMReply

    Madea really had a nice rebound from its opening weekend. Should make about 55 million total. Only 10 less then the last Madea movie and that one open to 26 million not 16. To answer the question you asked back on the 15 are Tyler Perry fans getting tired of Madea. The answer is clearly no. With Temptation making 50 million and now Madea and 3 hit TV shows you can say 2013 was a huge year for Perry.

  • Trevor J. | January 5, 2014 3:51 PM

    Better question, what's the point of making a profit if your film has no legs in theaters?

  • Steve | January 5, 2014 3:47 PM

    Should have been specific, Critical flop. Who is talking about that film in mainstream media?

    Of course he will make a profit if he shoots it for nothing (and it shows on the screen). Plenty of stans will see his crap just out of the "support a brother no matter what" mindset. NOT because the movie is any good.

    What's the point of making money if your product is cookie cutter garbage?

    Even TP fans dissed that piece of crap.

  • Dante | January 5, 2014 2:15 PM

    Temptation made over 50 million with a 15 million budget. Explain how that was a flop.

  • Steve | January 5, 2014 2:00 PM

    Madea wasn't in Temptation and it flopped. What the hell are you talking about?

    No one was checking for Madea's Christmas! Are you kidding? Dude isn't even in the top ten anymore already. I know you need to defend mediocrity but please make some sense.

  • Oh Please | January 5, 2014 1:54 PM

    Chris "The Tyler Stan" has to come in with the predictable, pipe dream of a defense of Ms. perry. It was not a huge year for Tyler Perry. It was average at best. Please get off your knees and stop riding his jock strap.

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