Strip away the 3D surcharge and factor in inflation, and it reveals this first weekend barely matches that of 2006’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” which collected $18.5 million in its first three days, itself a comedown from the $28 million grossed by 2003’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” So even with the enhanced prices, suddenly “Texas Chainsaw 3D” looks weak compared to predecessors. With horror films usually being frontloaded, and a raft of potential Oscar nominees still in the multiplex, a 70% second-weekend drop could re-kill this series. But laugh as you might at his name, Trey Songz is credited with drawing in 33% of the audience under 25. No matter how the movie does, it's not going to be the last we see of him on the big screen. It’s a foreboding start to a new year that many analysts worry won’t match the record 2012 take: even last year began with the much-stronger bow of another boo-worthy horror effort, “The Devil Inside” at $34 million.
'The Hobbit' should end the weekend having passed $800 million worldwide even as it drops out of first place. It’s very likely the film becomes the fourth of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth epics to cross $300 million domestic, though with inflation and 3D-inflated prices, that feat is slightly less impressive. But the international numbers are doing the heavy lifting, and it seems as if the picture may have the muscle power to cross a billion in global sales.
“Parental Guidance” wasn’t necessarily approved by critics and audiences, and yet here we are – the picture is registering powerful holds as it threatens to cross $60 million domestic (and likely more by the time its run is through). Some in the industry likely think it’s some sort of Christmas miracle that this film wasn’t released direct-to-DVD. Others wouldn’t credit St. Nick with being so cruel as to put this film in 3,000 theaters. Whatever the case, films released during the same period as “Parental Guidance” starring Seth Rogen, Tom Cruise and Matt Damon are outside of the top five, below the Billy Crystal vehicle, and tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1992.
“This Is 40” hasn’t connected at quite the level of Judd Apatow’s “The 40 Year Old Virgin” or “Knocked Up,” but at least it’s not being rejected like “Funny People,” which it will outgross in the next few days. Relevance is currently not a friend of Apatow the director, but all it will take, for a well-liked guy like him, is one more hit. “Lincoln” continued to pack them in with the smallest drop in the top ten – it’s likely going to emancipate audiences from $180 million of their cash before it winds down. “The Guilt Trip” might leg it out to $40 million, the film’s too-generous budget number, while “Monsters Inc. 3D” provided a cheap babysitting option for its third and final week in the top ten.
The biggest film in limited release was again “Zero Dark Thirty” as it expanded from five to sixty theaters, averaging over $45k per-screen and collecting nearly another $3 million. The real test will be when it enters wide release next weekend – will audiences respond to a narrative film detailing the killing of Osama Bin Laden? More importantly, are audiences prepared for ANOTHER awards-season picture that flirts with a three-hour runtime? If the Oscar nominations that are expected come through on Thursday morning, none of those questions will matter. Also hoping for Oscar gold is “Silver Linings Playbook,” which brought in $3.6 million in its eighth weekend for a $35 million total, while “The Impossible” bumped up from fifteen theaters to 572, but only collected $2.5 million for a total just under $3.2 million. And loud was the flop that was “Not Fade Away”’s expansion: the David Chase-directed music pic bumped its theater count to an aggressive 565, but will finish well under $300k for the weekend. Support your local arthouse theaters, boys and girls.
1. Malleable Horror Franchise 3D (Lionsgate) - $23 million
2. Django Unchained (The Weinstein Company) - $20.1 million ($106.4 mil.)
3. Magical New Zealand Travelogue (Warner Bros.) - $17.5 million ($263.8 mil.)
4. Sing For Your Oscars (Universal) - $16.1 million ($103.6 mil.)
5. Billy Crystal: Box Office Dynamite (Fox) - $10.1 million ($52.8 mil.)
6. Jack Reacher (Paramount) - $9.4 million ($65 mil.)
7. This Is A Forty (Universal) - $8.7 million ($55 mil.)
8. Lincoln (Disney) - $5.4 million ($144 mil.)
9. The Guilt Trip (Paramount) - $4.7 million ($31 mil.)
10. Monsters Drink 3D (Disney) - $3.9 million ($28 mil.)