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2013: The Box Office Year-In-Review (So Far)

by Gabe Toro
June 18, 2013 3:37 PM
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Jack The Giant Slayer Nicholas Hoult
Only the deeply-embedded money men can tell us whether this year had anything similar to the gargantuan failure of “John Carter” (“Lone Ranger,” they’re calling your name), but it does appear that “Jack The Giant Slayer” will come close. The adventure film cost $195 million, not counting an ad campaign that was saddled with two separate release dates. The end result, a global take of $197 million, reportedly lost the WB somewhere between $125-$140 million, a clear enough explanation of why director Bryan Singer is returning to the “X-Men” series. In a similar vein is the dismal showing of Will Smith’s “After Earth,” though that $130 million film is reportedly on track to gross $200 million internationally, easing the burden on Sony but nonetheless providing a massive chink in Smith’s formerly-unbreakable armor.

Limited results were seen by two films desperate to start the first big post-“Twilight” teen phenomenon. “The Host” wasn’t hugely expensive, but the $48 million global take doesn’t seem particularly strong given a $40 million budget. Worse still was “Beautiful Creatures,” a $60 million fantasy franchise starter that managed only $19 million worldwide despite a plum Valentine’s Day release. Big stars also saw hugely disappointing results, with “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” collecting a meager $24 million on a $30 million budget, and “Broken City” collecting $30 million on a $35 million budget, both films providing fodder to studios desperate to avoid bankrolling anything that isn’t a massive tentpole or a no-budget genre cheapie. “The Internship” also disappointed in its opening weekend, and should join this group shortly despite a manageable $58 million budget.

It was mid-budgeted macho action films that took it in the chin this year. Dwayne Johnson had two solid performers in this respect with the $20 million “Pain And Gain” ($56 million) and the $14 million “Snitch” ($48 million), but the rest of the industry’s muscle-men fell far behind. “Expendables” legends Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were virtually ignored, with the $55 million “Bullet To The Head” ($13 million) and the $45 million “The Last Stand” ($37 million). Jason Statham’s “Parker” collected $45 million worldwide but fizzled out domestically, while only $18 million of ticket sales greeted the $30 million-budgeted “Dead Man Down.” While overseas audiences picked up the slack, the oft-postponed $60 million “Gangster Squad” only collected $105 million worldwide, though that’s a stronger number than most expected after only $46 million during its stateside run.

It was a topsy-turvy year so far at the arthouse, but judging by the numbers, there was one juggernaut, and it was… “Quartet”? Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut was considered an end-of-’12 Oscar contender by some, and we’re actually still unclear if it actually did see an Oscar qualifying release. What we do know is that the film ripped through American theaters for a surprising $18 million, adding to a fairly robust $57 million global total, satisfying the audiences who drove last year’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” to a surprising $136 million tally.

Aside from that there was still a collection of hot indie titles that over-performed, led by the meme-worthy “Spring Breakers.” That oddity brought in $31 million worldwide off a budget of $5 million and like similar buzz-worthy indies it will likely perform even stronger on the DVD market. “Mud” also posted a solid $21 million global gross, and should keep going into the summer as it still plays in limited release. And though it seems incredibly hard to believe, Robert Redford’s “The Company You Keep” only cost $2 million, making the $13 million global take fairly impressive. “Before Midnight” looks like it could be the arthouse hit of the summer, and it should cross $2 million this weekend, but this year has been seriously lacking in indie breakouts.

Upside Down

Every year has a far-too-expensive genre arthouse flop and this year that was the $50 million sci-fi romance “Upside Down,” which grossed only $8 million globally, and a tragically small $105k in America. The bloom appears to be off the rose for Oscar winner Danny Boyle as his latest, the $20 million “Trance,” only grossed $17 million, with a little more than $2 million coming from American audiences. And Black List-approved “Stoker” cost $12 million but only grossed $9 million, with only $1.7 million stateside despite a starry cast and the involvement of director Chan Wook-Park. Despite carrying budgets within eight figures, both “Stand Up Guys” and “The Iceman” landed with a thud at $3.5 million and $1.8 million respectively, while the highly-touted internet drama “Disconnect” only pulled in $1.4 million.

Mainstream Oscar recognition for “The Tree Of Life” and “Argo” didn’t help the Ben Affleck-starring Terrence Malick flick “To The Wonder” gross beyond $566k (though OnDemand numbers were likely stronger), while Oscar winner Colin Firth couldn’t gather interest for “Arthur Newman,” which played to a middling $207k. To be reputable was no use, but it was even worse for non-studio horror; The $10 million “Aftershock” pulled in a pretty painful $58k, while a wide-release for “No One Lives” yielded a middling $74k, and Anchor Bay’s aggressive rollout for “The Lords Of Salem” only brought in $1.2 million. Meanwhile, there’s absolutely no metric to sum up “InAPPropriate Comedy,” which somehow landed on 275 screens in its opening weekend with a mainstream ad presence, finishing with a borderline pathetic $228k.

So what are your thoughts? Any movies that made more they should of, or films that deserved a bigger audience? Let us know below.

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  • Discman | June 22, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    Although it pains me to point it out -- I liked the movie -- Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price" was a wipeout, with a total domestic gross of $354K according to boxofficemojo.

  • Oz | June 20, 2013 4:35 PMReply

    Oz The Great And Powerful = Production Budget: $215 million ONLY. Not sure what the extra advertising cost were.

    However, the worldwide total currently stands at : $491,176,728 which hasn't been updated since 5/5/13 on Box Office Mojo so it will be clearly more.

    It might not be Alice In Wonderland numbers but it is a total success.

  • Gabe Toro | June 21, 2013 4:19 PM

    For blockbusters like that, usually they'll sink a lot of ad dollars into it. Tentpoles usually cost somewhere between $80-$100 million to market (on the low end). Other films are much much cheaper to push, but blockbusters are costly when it comes to P+A as well.

    So if it was $215 million+$100 million marketing, that puts a break-even point somewhere in the vicinity of $600 million. Moreover, they made this film after grabbing $1 billion from Alice In Wonderland, and this will do less than half that.

    DVD will help, but let's not throw around words like "total," "success" and "total success" around.

  • Mike | June 19, 2013 8:24 PMReply

    I stand corrected-- Box Office Mojo has finally up-dated the foreign box office for Olympus Has Fallen
    Total Lifetime Grosses as of 6/16/13
    Domestic: $98,428,061 61.3%
    + Foreign: $62,100,000 38.7%
    = Worldwide: $160,528,061

    Good returns for a film that didn't have a major studio distributing the film worldwide.

  • Gabe Toro | June 21, 2013 4:16 PM

    That does make a big difference, certainly. It's difficult to find truly reliable numbers for some films in regards to overseas stats. I went with Box Office Mojo and to figure it out, but you can never be fully sure sometimes. Thanks for looking out.

  • Mike | June 19, 2013 7:44 PMReply

    Worldwide Box Office for Olympus Has Fallen is at $154 million and still counting as of 6/16. If you are getting your box office numbers from Box Office Mojo, the site hasn't updated Olympus Has Fallen's foreign totals since 4/28/13 at which time the foreign total was $35 million so the Summary page's world wide total is still sitting at $133 milion.

    Box Office Mojo hasn't been updating the foreign totals for films regularly for months, they are no longer a credible source for box office data.

  • J | June 18, 2013 4:12 PMReply

    The place beyond the pines made 35 million worldwide. That's a definite indie success worth mentioning.

  • Duddi | June 18, 2013 5:40 PM

    IMO, the reason why "The Place Beyond the Pines" is not considered a successful movie is cuz many people marked last year's "Killing Them Softly" as a flop, a movie made for $15.000.000 same as "The P.B. the P." that grossed around $38.000.000 all around the world. Which by our typical accounting makes it a profitable movie. ... And "why" is the question ?

  • Kieran | June 18, 2013 4:26 PM

    Place Beyond the Pines is a modest hit, no doubt (and a terrific film!) but it had a $15 million budget and an extremely heavy promotion (trailers were on British TV a good month before release). $21 million domestic on a $15 million budget with two major stars in it is scraping into the black really, although I would expect to make a killing on DVD and home viewing sales.

  • oogle monster | June 18, 2013 3:52 PMReply

    Gatsby has crossed $300 mil internationally. So, I'd say it's a huge hit.

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