“Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters” was scheduled and re-scheduled, settling on this weak slot with deadly reviews potentially damning the picture to obscurity. But there was business to be done, and SOMETHING had to open at number one, with the picture earning a ‘B’ Cinemascore. At a moderate $50 million budget, these 3D-inflated numbers don’t exactly scream sequel, but it’s a showing that no one can be ashamed about.
Last week’s number one, “Mama,” took an expected nosedive into second. Horror, as always, is frontloaded, and after a massive holiday weekend, “Mama” pretty much reached its audience, a runaway hit for Universal on an only $15 million budget. And hey, this weekend “Mama” became the highest grossing 2013 release! Kick start the parade, folks.
Debuting at number five was “Parker,” the latest from Jason Statham, and one of his weakest all-time openings as a leading man. This doesn’t even match the $7.9 million taken in by last year’s non-starter “Safe.” The problem with the declining fortunes of Mr. Statham is two-fold. One, he’s become associated not just with action films, but a particular type of below-brand actioner that most would consider passé in 2013. And two, most marketing departments never seek to push his films as anything other than “The Next Jason Statham Movie,” obscuring the story behind a flurry of Statham-fueled punches and kicks.
Poll random audiences this weekend. Is “Movie 43” A) a fake ad for a nonexistent movie that is really telling you to silence your cell phones before a real movie B) A “Funny Or Die” skit C) A teaser for who’s next in the lineup of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” guests or D) A porn-like compilation of the funniest bits of a batch of terrible movies you actually never got around to watching? Approximately none of them will interject and claim this is actually E) A real movie, but there you go. The nonexistent story, randomly opaque title (“Bad Taste” was taken, to be fair) and complete lack of promotion besides scattershot ads are to blame for this toxic bomb that Relativity planted in theaters to almost zero interest. The claim is that this picture cost $6 million even with all those names involved, and Relativity didn’t exactly overspend on ads, so everyone can safely brush what will be the worst-performing wide release of the season (year?) under the rug.
As per the seasonal doldrums, a host of winter films are quickly on their way out of the multiplex. “Django Unchained” looks like it’s on track to be Quentin Tarantino’s biggest hit: the slavery western has already well-outgrossed “Inglourious Basterds” stateside, and with a massive international bow this past week, it’s set to outdo that film’s $200 million overseas gross within a couple of weeks. “Les Misérables” is a similarly large worldwide hit, making its way out of theaters, both pictures kicking flop “Gangster Squad” on its way down – Warner Bros. spent a tidy chunk of change on that one, but it wasn’t meant to be. Tumbling hard to tenth place, meanwhile, was “Broken City,” a write-off for all involved set to be in your local Redbox before you know it.
1. Hansel And Gretel: Ladykillers (Paramount) - $19 million
2. Mutha (Universal) - $12.9 million ($48.6 mil.)
3. The Silver Bullet Playbook (The Weinstein Company) - $10 million ($69.5 mil.)
4. Zero Hearts Flirty (Sony) - $9.8 million ($69.9 mil.)
5. Parker (FilmDistrict) - $7 million
6. Movie 43 (Relativity) - $5 million
7. Django Fett Unchained (The Weinstein Company) - $5 million ($146.2 mil.)
8. Napster Squad (Warner Bros.) - $4.2 million ($39.6 mil.)
9. Broken City (Fox) - $4 million ($15.2 mil.)
10. Les Miserables (Universal) - $3.9 million ($137.2 mil.)