Weekend Box Office: 'Snow White And The Huntsman' Bucks Poor Tracking Worries, The 'Avengers' Breaks Two More All-Time Records

Box Office
by Gabe Toro
June 3, 2012 12:07 PM
28 Comments
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Maybe that sequel will happen after all. Very clever, Universal. First, you announce that "Snow White and the Huntsman" is tracking a bit weak, possibly in the low 30s. Then, there's a "leak" that you've backtracked on a sequel since getting David Koepp to pen a follow-up. And now, with reports that 'Huntsman' may have actually connected with the young males they were trying to entice, registering a $55 million opening, there's great rejoicing for the film, particularly in the wake of the absolutely pathetic "Battleship" returns.

There are a couple of narratives here, most of them involving Universal dodging a major bullet. One, obviously, is a victory over the opposing Snow White film, with "Mirror Mirror" only collecting $63 million domestic, a number 'Huntsman' should reach by midweek. Another is a big debut for a film with three relatively untested leads, all of whom see their profiles raised considerably. Following "Thor" and "The Avengers," Chris Hemsworth now has three straight starring roles that have broken at least $55 million in their opening weekends, without counting the left-for-dead "Cabin in the Woods." Charlize Theron, always liked and respected in Hollywood, likely buys herself a few more years as a Hollywood leading lady, at least before the cruel beast that is this industry forces her to start playing moms.

More importantly, it raises the profile of Kristen Stewart. While she hadn't really tested her mainstream appeal beyond the dubious "Twilight" franchise, it was a gamble bringing her on as Snow White knowing that, like most young actresses, her Q-rating owes itself to a number of filmgoers who register actual dislike and disdain (jealousy?) towards her. Having the central role in another blockbuster, and possible franchise, places her in the very small conversation of young females who can open a film, alongside peers like Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence

Like most recent blockbusters, "Snow White and the Huntsman" also has to overcome its significant budget. Not being based on a recognizable brand beyond the broad fairy tale designation suggests it could have stronger week-to-week legs. Though a 'B' Cinemascore suggests perhaps audiences may not be into what most critics agreed was a turgid, uninspired fantasy film, the picture did register strong overseas numbers as well. But with a cost of $170 million plus, along with what must have been a hefty ad budget, results in the neighborhood of $500 million global might be needed, a difficult bar to reach without 3D-inflation.

"Men In Black III" shuffled past the $100 million domestic line, though that too is at the mercy of its obscene costs. While there are stronger overseas results thus far that should help the film eclipse the last picture's $441 million, it's going to need to level off in order to reach the first film's $589 million worldwide number. And that's with fifteen years of inflation, on top of 3D-enhanced prices. Considering a huge chunk of the reportedly $250 million plus budget as well as the backend goes to participants Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, Sony might just escape taking a bath on this installment. "Men In Black 4" seems a tad improbable, though, at least not with the expensive above-the-title talent.

What more can you say about "The Avengers"? Weekend five provided Disney with an achievement beyond their wildest dreams, as it has now outgrossed all films not directed by James Cameron (yep, you're still the king of the world, you rich bastard). Whiile the picture loses quite a bit of steam from weekend to weekend, it's still holding on strong and the Marvel Studios' super hero saga is now the #3 domestic and international grosser of all time, moving "The Dark Knight" into fourth place stateside and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" globally. That's $1.355 billion and counting worldwide. Strong, but not strong enough for the film to crack the top two of "Avatar" and "Titanic." Either way, it's certainly a good way for Joss Whedon to wipe "Titan A.E." off his resume.

There are relatively few success stories this summer, but "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" has to be one of them. The Brit-com surpassed $100 million worldwide earlier this week, with plenty more to come stateside given the film had the lowest drop of any film in the top ten. Fox Searchlight has played this exactly right, allowing a steady expansion and word of mouth to allow the film to trump similar non-blockbuster summer fare like "What To Expect While You're Expecting," the latter of which finally limped over $30 million domestic. There's always an underserved audience out there, just waiting for a fastball right down the middle. In this case, the always underrated Tom Wilkinson Fan Club.

The rest of the top ten was just making time. "The Dictator" is completing a middling theatrical run before a no-doubt healthy rental life, while "Battleship" began a slow and steady walk out of the limelight after losing its studio a good $100 million plus. "Dark Shadows" may have been far too expensive, but few people genuinely lose their shirts when a film begins to approach $200 million worldwide. A release in 757 theaters allowed "For Greater Glory" to debut in the top ten, though its per-screen suggests a lack of future success. And keep on truckin', "The Hunger Games" -- the blockbuster hangs on just outside the top ten by its fingernails, landing at $398 million, desperate to reach that $400 milestone. May the odds be ever in their favor. And by that, we mean it's genuinely sick when people actively root for megablockbusters to keep making money. Enjoy your guilt trip!

While it hasnt opened here yet (next weekend), Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" is off to a great start: $35 million hauled in already from 15 markets abroad, including the U.K. Now the question remains, as it's been met with somewhat mixed reviews (many glowing, but centering on the fact that it ultimately falls short of its potential greatness), will the film still become a mega blockbuster, a blockbuster or sub-par blockbuster at the box-office and can reviews derail its thunderous buzz?

Meanwhile, in limited release, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" -- which set a record for the all-time highest per-screen average in movie history last weekend-- continues to kick ass. Expanding from from four to sixteen theaters, the film grossed $849k this weekend, boasting a $53k per screen average and pushing its total to $1.7 million so far. With only sixteen theaters, it was right behind current indie hit "Bernie," which brought in $937k at 300 locations, approaching $3.7 million after six weeks in theaters.

The results weren't nearly as strong for other limited releases. "Piranha 3DD," inexplicably given a tiny theatrical release in lieu of a DVD debut, couldn't benefit from 3D prices, grossing $179k at seventy nine locations. On twenty two screens, "Hardflip" hardly made its presence felt with $55k in grosses, while Oscar favorite "A Cat In Paris" fared better, with $36k on six screens. And then there's the two-hundred theater debut of the long-delayed "High School." Despite it's (ahem) high concept premise, the film collected a meager $80k, which averages out to a piddling $403 per-screen. Support your local arthouse theaters, boys and girls.

1. Snow White And Jon Huntsman (Universal) - $56.3 million
2. Diminishing Returns 3D (Sony) - $29.3 million ($112 mil.)
3. Marvel's ATM Machine (Marvel) - $20.3 million ($553 mil.)
4. Battleship (Universal) - $4.8 million ($55 mil.)
5. The Dictator (Paramount) - $4.7 million ($51 mil.)
6. The Sexiest Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) - $4.6 million ($25 mil.)
7. What To Expect When You're Sex-Texting (Lionsgate) - $4.4 million ($31 mil.)
8. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.) - $3.9 million ($71 mil.)
9. The Chernobyl Diaries (Warner Bros.) - $3 million ($14 mil.)
10. For Greater Glory (ArcEnt) - $1.8 million

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28 Comments

  • bluebird | June 7, 2012 3:35 AMReply

    The massive ROBSTEN and TWIHARD fanatics were challenged by Tarsem Singhs MIRROR MIRROR, plus the fact that KRISTEN STEWART is the hottest commodity in hollywood right now. The supporting casts CHARLIZE THERON (Queen Ravenna), CHRIS HEMSWORTH (Huntsman) and SAM CLAFLIN (Prince William) are perfect combination to make the movie box office hit!

  • rb_02 | June 4, 2012 1:28 AMReply

    And on yet another board trolls and skunks try to spin this as anything but a success!

    Fact- there is no reason to believe that the marketing for this particular movie was anything higher than the marketing for any other movie with a similar budget. Even if it really, those who now make the claim on message boards are just speculating.

    Fact- this movie will more than double its production budget WW, in terms of money, with tens of millions to spare.

    Fact- while marketing costs are not included into the 170M budget, neither are the millions of ancillary revenue that comes later.

    Fact- therefore, any movie which doubles its production with WW revenue is 'probably' going to make a profit.

    Fact- with a lesser WW gross to budget ratio than this movie will have, Xmen First Class got a sequel. So did GI Joe. So did many others with a worse ratio than this will have. So did many others with only a slightly better ratio than this will have.

    Fact- studios don't generally try to lose money on movies.

    Fact- therefore, studios don't generally give the go-ahead to a sequel when the first movie flopped.

    Fact- since this movie is going to have a better WW revenue to budget ratio than movies which got sequels, it's safe to say that this movie didn't flop either.

    Fact- every box office analyist who actually get paid to review these things calls this movie a success. The only people who don't are know it alls on the Internet.

  • AmoaDios | June 4, 2012 12:20 AMReply

    For greater glory, the best movie I have ever seen about recent history.

  • Tyrannosaurus Max | June 3, 2012 8:18 PMReply

    Whoooo Moonrise Kingdom!!!

  • bonzob | June 3, 2012 7:37 PMReply

    Left for dead Cabin in the Woods seems a little harsh, Gabe. LionsGate picked it up for 15 mil, I believe, and it's done 58 worldwide (41 domestic). Plus, it still hasn't opened in a lot of foreign territories.

    Might not have been a mega-hit, but it's definitely a nice little earner, and it kicked the shit out of The Chernobyl Diaries.

  • Max | June 3, 2012 6:08 PMReply

    Stewart and Pattinson opend twilight in 2008 with an indie budget around $35million. That was a huge surprise that no one expected. As long as they are tons of loyal fans to repeat viewing a lame blockbuster and support their loved actors, studios really have nothing to worry about.

  • Also | June 3, 2012 5:24 PMReply

    These comments are hysterical because if the movie flopped it would have without question been put on Stewart's shoulders. But now that it had a solid start it's because of every reason but her. The internet is nothing if not painfully predictable.

  • d | June 3, 2012 5:54 PM

    +1

  • Zoe | June 3, 2012 4:35 PMReply

    When has Jennifer Lawrence opened a movie? Both The Hunger Games and X-Men came with with very large built in fan bases.

  • Chez | June 3, 2012 7:34 PM

    @Reader-My objection is to the spin. Universal spent $100 million in marketing. Then it lowballed its estimate so much that headlines proclaiming that the film had allegedly "exceeded expectations" were guaranteed. Yet by any objective measure a $56 milion OW is a disappointment given the extraordinary marketing campaign. But most damning is the how the film failed as a matter of critical reception and word of mouth, with much of the criticism centering on Stewart. (When reviews that are favorable to the film still single her out for criticism, it's a clear issue). Yet despite underperforming at the box office relative to mindblowing costs and being a critical flop, the spin now says this is somehow a triumph for Stewart despite her being critically panned and being an drag on the film's staying power. I mean, come on. Universal panicked at having another Battleship, went into spending overdrive to save face, and now we have spin city.

  • reader | June 3, 2012 6:15 PM

    @Yolo, in all fairness, Lawrence was mentioned in both the article and the comments below as being one of the few "young females who can open a film." It's obviously true that Lawrence, right now, box office-wise, is exactly where Stewart was post-Twilight, having just led a huge box office success based on a popular young adult novel. @Chez, the topic under discussion is whether Stewart can *open* a film, not keep it in theaters. And $56 million is a strong opening, even if the final tally is less than stellar.

  • Chez | June 3, 2012 5:38 PM

    Considering the nature of the role (she has to carry the film from frame to frame) and that HGs cost $78 million and will pass $400 million in the US by next week, I'd say Jennifer did a pretty decent job. Hype may get you a good weekend; it won't get a non-special effects laden film like HGs to that level without very good performances and filmmaking.

  • Yolo | June 3, 2012 5:36 PM

    Bwahahaha. Oh look, another angry Krisbian take on Jennifer Lawrence. What does she have to do with this. She has her big movies and indies. You Krisbians are always the same.

  • Rah-al | June 3, 2012 4:32 PMReply

    Nice analysis Gabe.

  • Harry | June 3, 2012 4:02 PMReply

    Nice article for a change, Gabe.

  • Gabe | June 3, 2012 4:01 PMReply

    Please put nice comments

  • Chez | June 3, 2012 2:39 PMReply

    The problem with saying that Snow White proves that Stewart can open a film is that Universal spent $80-100 million just to market the film. So the total cost of bring this film out is in the $250-270 million dollar range. Add to that the fact that the film also starred two A-list caliber co-stars (Helmsworth; Theron) who were the center of the film's marketing and that Stewart was generally panned for her performance, and I can't see this as a win for Stewart at all. Virtually any halfway recognizable actress in the role could have done the same given the astronomical production and marketing costs, and the weakness of her portrayal is going to undercut any legs the film may have. A $56 million OW in the context of how much the film cost, the cast, the instantly recognizable nature of the story and a OW without serious competition is hardly a success no matter how you spin it.

  • bonzob | June 3, 2012 7:33 PM

    I think it's a little more nuanced than that. This film just did better than MIB3's opening, without the benefits 3D, a holiday weekend, and A-list star, or an established franchise.

    I think it's likely that part of that is due to Twilight fans/young females wanting to check out Bella in another fantasy romance vehicle. She was not given focus in the marketing because Universal didn't need to court plugged-in and obsessive young fans to get them to come out -- they needed to make sure men and grownups turned up, hence the focus on the action/visuals/Hemsworth/Theron.

    I also don't think it's spin to call this movie opening to 55 mil plus a failure... that seems like around the ceiling for what this story/cast/director could have hit. It might have gone a tad higher with better reviews or cinemascore, I suppose. The failure lies with the studio for spending too much to begin with. And throwing in marketing costs is always a tad suspect when calling something a failure... if you include those as debits, you should probably also factor in TV, DVD, licensing, and merchandise revenue to counterbalance them.

    Now, does this mean that Stewart could headline a big film without any known costars or a big hook, and get it to open? Almost certainly not. But these days there are virtually no actors who can do that, and even fewer women. I don't think Jennifer Lawrence could do this, either.

  • Jake | June 3, 2012 6:41 PM

    Chez- Is it really fair to argue with someone who is named "OMFG" and hashtags "haters gonna hate"?

  • Chez | June 3, 2012 5:33 PM

    It's not hating to point out reality. When a studio has to spend $100 million dollars in marketing to get a $56 million dollar opening, that's not a great outcome, but rather just enough to avoid a Battleship-sized pr disaster. And given that Stewart is cited in even favorable reviews as being the worst part of the film, it's hardly one for the resume. Fine, here's her due: she is starring in a $270 million dollar film that will be hardpressed to get back even that investment and she was panned for her efforts. Quick, hire her again.

  • OMFG | June 3, 2012 5:10 PM

    OMFG. Just give the girl her due. Charlize has never opened a movie. She had Hancock before this which was Will Smith's film. Hemsworth has 2 movies under his belt so far (both where he is Thor) So where was the major draw there? I have never seen so many people that just don't what to say, fine she was successful. It's beyond sad.

    #hatersgonnahate

  • Notbuyingit | June 3, 2012 2:27 PMReply

    $56 million open for a bloated summer release with intense advertising is not a great success. Universal knew they had a clunker on their hands so they lowered expectations early and here comes the spin.

  • Jo | June 3, 2012 2:04 PMReply

    Can Jennifer or Emma Open in a film? THG success is not solely due to Jen and the Help was due to Emma either.

    The market may have focused on Charlize but everyone knew Kristen was in it and a lot of the Internet buzz was due to her fans. SWATH is def. a win for her.

  • Oogle monster | June 3, 2012 6:39 PM

    The better example is Emma Stone and the success of Easy A... that is something Stewart could never replicate.

  • Jingle | June 3, 2012 1:41 PMReply

    Ever heard of Chris "Thor" Hemsworth? Kristen Stewart can HELP open a movie as long as she's paired with a male star whom women find attractive. See Twilight for further reference.

  • Yankee Doodle | June 3, 2012 1:19 PMReply

    "Having the central role in another blockbuster, and possible franchise, places her in the very small conversation of young females who can open a film, alongside peers like Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence."-- I don't see how this computes. Yes, the name of the film is SNOW WHITE and the Huntsman but the entire marketing campaign was focused around Charlize Theron's evil queen. Stewart barely had any lines in the previews (not that she really had any speaking lines in the film) and most of the commercials heavily focused on Theron's evil queen. This is not to say that people came out specifically to see Theron- no matter how well liked and respected the lady may be- but it is to say that Stewart in no way should be in the same conversation as Stone who opened Easy A and The Help (the latter may have had a preexisting fan base but the marketing campaign was directed entirely at Stone) and Lawrence who is undeniably more talented and sought after. This may prove Stewart is no Pattinson (stiff as block, 2 bombs post-Twilight) but she's definitely not in the same league as Stone and company.

  • Eyeroll | June 3, 2012 5:05 PM

    Are you serious? So next week when Prometheus is successful Charlize gets no credit because she'd barely in the trailer. Stewart did the bulk of the promo. She was everywhere for this film. Whatever you think of her the girl worked her butt off for this movie. Also I'm sorry but Lawerence has never opened a movie (THG & XMen would have been successful with anyone) No one went to either of those films because Lawrence was starring.

    I actually don't think there's such a thing as an actor opening a film. The movie has to look good. The trailers for this movie did regardless of the finished product. You don't have to like Kristen Stewart but she's a major player in the game and to pretend otherwise is being so naive that your opening is void.

  • Yankee Doodle | June 3, 2012 1:26 PM

    Also, Stewart got the bulk of bad reviews. So again, theory doesn't hold up. **Waiting for Twihards to dig in***

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