Cinemascore folks rated "The Expendables 2" an A-, which makes sense given that the film is likely perfectly tailored to its core audience. However, the issue is maybe that a bulk of the window shoppers who caught the first one were too turned off this time around. Could those be the female demographic, who were deceptively enticed by the second film's involvement of Liam Hemsworth simply to watch an hour and a half of old men flexing? Was it those who were promised prominent roles for Schwarzenegger and Willis in the first one, only to be angrily burned by the fact the two of them were appearing in weak cameos? Was it likely that the mainstream just isn't ready to re-embrace guys like Van Damme and the politically odious Norris, memes and all?
The first film had a budget of $80 million, and this time around, Millenium Entertainment increased their spend with about $100 million put toward the film plus P&A. You don't spend more to make less, and the studio will likely be hoping business in foreign territories (the first one collected $171 million overseas compared to $103 million domestically) at least remains the same, or even better, serve as an even greater split for part two. But if the film can muscle its way to nine figures stateside, "The Expendables" will likely head into franchise territory, as long as they can keep finding washed-up action stars and bombed-out Eastern European locations.
Stop-motion animation was never a commotion-raising audience favorite, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the probably-too-scary "ParaNorman" debuted to such middling numbers. The high-water mark for stop motion is "The Corpse Bride," taking in $19 million in its second weekend, an expansion after a limited release. "ParaNorman" has a chance to play long, as these films tend to do, though kiddie-horror mashups are a particularly tough nut to crack, with stuff like "Monster House" ($73 million) being the title to beat. "Sparkle" rode a somewhat muted ad presence, meanwhile, grabbing $13 million in its first frame with the second-highest per-screen average in the top ten.
"The Dark Knight Rises" still registered an eight-figure sum after five weeks in the top ten. The last film scored $10 million plus grosses for its first six weekends, though it continued to stabilize as it fell out of the top spot, spending eight weeks in the top five. The newer film doesn't necessarily have that consistency, but what does? We're talking about a massive blockbuster sensation and one that has ruled the international box-office for count 'em, five weeks in a row. 'Rises' is still expected to take advantage of that massive worldwide presence to gross $1 billion, likely passing the last film overall. Nobody goes home broke at Warner Bros.
In a crowded marketplace it's hard to ignore that even though it plummeted down the top ten list, "Hope Springs" had the lowest percentage drop of the weekend amongst wide releases. Given the closeness of this weekend's final results, it wouldn't be a surprise to see "Hope Springs" leapfrog some of the films above it as it plays well into summer. Deflating quickly at the bottom of the lineup are "Total Recall" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," both considerable underperformers, though at least 'Diary' was a small-budgeted effort. 'Recall,' which cost somewhere between $150-$200 million and has only taken in $76 million worldwide so far, is probably going to get someone fired.
In indie theaters, "Cosmpolis" was the big earner, debuting in three theaters to $72k, an average of $24k. On only two screens, "Robot & Frank" wasn't far behind, grossing $38k, while big single-screen openings belonged to "Compliance" ($16k) and documentary "Side By Side" ($7.2k). Newbie Cohen Media Group stumbled in an aggressive seventy-screen release for "The Awakening," however, the horror pic could only grab $94k.
"Chicken with Plums" was one of the least popular of the new entries, grossing $11k on two screens, while "Beloved" opened on five screens for a $27k total. Among indie holdovers, "2 Days in New York" boasted a second weekend gross of $86k on fourteen screens, while Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" boasted a $42k take on four screens, in preparation for a larger tri-state expansion. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. The Expendables 2: The Squeakquel (Lionsgate) - $28.8 million
2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) - $17 million ($69.9 mil.)
3. ParaNorman (Focus) - $14 million
4. The Campaign (WB) - $13.4/$51.7 million
5. Sparkle (Sony) - $12 million
6. The Dark Knight Rises (WB) - $11.1 million ($409.9 mil.)
7. The Odd Life Of Swamp Thing (Disney) - $10.9 million ($15.1 mil.)
8. Hope Springs (Sony) - $9.1 million ($35 mil.)
9. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Rises (Fox) - $3.8 million ($38.7 mil.)
10. We Can Remake It For You Wholesale (Sony) - $3.5 million ($51.7 mil.)