Weekend Box Office: 'The Bourne Legacy' Unseats 'The Dark Knight Rises' With $40 Million

Box Office
by Gabe Toro
August 12, 2012 12:11 PM
8 Comments
  • |

And so “The Bourne Legacy” continues the 'Bourne' legacy. Tony Gilroy’s franchise revitalization, perhaps best referred to as a “sidequel” for utilizing the series’ mythology while creating its own, opens at number one this weekend, tabulating a solid $40 million in receipts. While this is significantly lower than the opening numbers for both “The Bourne Supremacy” ($52 million) and “The Bourne Ultimatum” ($69 million), it is a new franchise, also the first 'Bourne' picture without star Matt Damon, and thus, likely seemed off-brand to certain audience members entertained by the previous films. So in sort, it's a pretty solid start.

To its credit, 'Legacy' handily topped the $27 million bow of “The Bourne Identity” one decade ago. It’s worth noting, however, that the first picture emerged from a wholly different development process. Back then, the “brand” was still associated to a barely remembered Richard Chamberlain miniseries in the late '80s. In fact, Damon wasn’t even the studio’s first choice and the film's troubled production, coupled with a release date delay, made it a film that Universal was not expecting to succeed. However, solid reviews and an unexpected haul of over $200 million worldwide marked it as a big hit, and it's not a surprise that two years later, a sequel was in theaters.

Expectations are different this time around. The “reboot,” which utilizes a brand name and little else in an attempt to reach new viewers without losing the old, tends to achieve smaller results in both fields. On the high end of Universal’s expectations were results like “Star Trek,” which shattered previous expectations placed on that series (though, at that budget, it was necessary). But 'Legacy' is more in line with “Casino Royale” -- that film’s splashy opening was nonetheless considerably smaller than the film it followed, “Die Another Day.”

But both Daniel Craig and Jeremy Renner were largely testing the leading man franchise waters on their own for the first time, and the results of 'Legacy' suggest that ticket buyers were receptive to the combination of the rising actor along with a well-established series. The industry has done another superb job turning yet another award-nominated actor into an action figure, placing Renner in supporting roles in no-risk blockbusters like “ Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” (the highest grossing of the series) and “The Avengers” (the third biggest film of all time). And now with 'Legacy,' Renner’s transition from That Guy From “The Hurt Locker” into a leading man of some weight continues, and whether if pays off in 2013 efforts – fairy tale genre flick "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" and James Gray drama "Low Life" – will be interesting to see.

The question now is what kind of legs "The Bourne Legacy" will have over the next few weeks. While some critics and fans have not fallen in the love with change in rhythm and approach of Gilory's more contemplative, conference room drama approach vs. Paul Greengrass' breakneck action, the B CinemaScore suggests audiences for the most part enjoyed the new ride. Word of mouth will be an important factor as will the competition, with action-packed sequel "The Expendables 2" and the bootleggin' drama "Lawless" the only serious contenders as we head into the end of August.

Opening a distant second is “The Campaign,” which debuted in the mid-range of Will Ferrell comedies. Given that he’s one of several comedians that don’t translate overseas and that “The Campaign” deals with American politics, they were hoping for slightly more election year fireworks from this effort. As is, this is still a pretty solid number for a political comedy, as the subgenre is usually a tough sell with the general public. Ferrell’s fanbase skews young, much like fellow “SNL” star Adam Sandler, though only recently has Sandler experimented with R-rated material, with this summer’s flop “That’s My Boy” becoming arguably the biggest bomb of his career. Ferrell’s efforts dance between the ratings, and among his “Restricted” efforts this lands a notch below “Step Brothers” but significantly higher than “Semi-Pro.”

While Ferrell shines from this opening, it likely doesn’t move the needle for co-star Zach Galifianakis, who is still trying to establish his brand as a potential comedic leading man. He’s been smart to pair himself with other A-Listers, as he teamed with red-hot Robert Downey Jr. for “Due Date” and is a fixture with “The Hangover” films. While this was likely a big film for Ferrell and his brand, with frequent collaborator Adam McKay producing, it very much seems like a pitstop for Galifianakis.

The Dark Knight Rises” eased up, falling out of the top spot as it begins a slow drop down the rest of the lineup. The film may begin to show its muscle in the coming weeks, as “The Bourne Legacy” and “The Campaign” are two pictures that could see sharp second weekend drops. If the WB can maintain the Bat-picture’s screen count, it could conceivably play into September much like “The Dark Knight.” The blockbuster, which is close to $50 million behind its predecessor at the same point, should cross $400 million domestic by next weekend, and will soon rocket past “The Hunger Games” to be the year’s second-highest grossing film stateside. Globally, it's now at $835 million, and passed the final 'Harry Potter' this weekend on the all-time box office list, taking the #15 slot.

Opening last Wednesday, “Hope Springs” was a quiet but solid performer, which is to be expected given the pedigree. A small film about retirees struggling with their marriage, it’s the sort of source material that could play at an arthouse theater somewhere (and likely is). But distributor Columbia Pictures wrapped the script in the warm blanket of unthreatening veterans Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, along with director David Frankel (“Marley & Me”), and they’re likely to be the only wide release playing to this specific demographic for the rest of summer -- at least the wives and mothers, given old-man-baiting “The Expendables 2” sees release next weekend. That will also be the last time we ever use the phrase “old-man-baiting.”

For all his bluster and dead-seriousness, Jones has some recent blockbuster cred, appearing in “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Men In Black 3,” while Streep’s last summer picture was the $100 million-grossing “Julie & Julia,” which came after the “Mamma Mia!” juggernaut. Clearly these two have fanbases that will support their new film beyond the picture impressively pulling in almost $20 million in its first five days despite looking like something no one under forty would enjoy. And while it wasn’t intended as such, this picture follows “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” as tacit acknowledgement that people want to see Steve Carell, but that he’s no longer a genuine leading man -- the star of big summer grossers like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Get Smart” was nowhere to be seen in advertisements for “Hope Springs.”

While the drop wasn’t excessive for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” it does seem clear at this point that the picture will not approach the numbers of the previous two films in the series. As this installment combined the third and fourth books into one storyline, it’s likely Fox could try to squeeze one more effort from this franchise, though the smart money is that any future 'Diary' movies will ditch the summer release date for a safer spring berth. Meanwhile, sneaking bare breasts into a PG-13-rated movie looks like it will be the only victory for “Total Recall” -- the pricey remake might be lucky to gross three quarters of the original film’s $120 million tally, which was done in the early '90s, back when they only had three channels on TV and you had to ride a brontosaurus to school.

The softest fall in the top ten was saved for “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” as the picture is benefiting from an August slate that allows the animated picture a chance to retain its 3D screens with little competition. Though it’s fairly late in the game, this sequel could approach the domestic totals of the previous three films, though that’s not a concern for Fox, racking up the sort of overseas numbers that makes the stateside total something of an afterthought. It stayed well above “Ted,” which finally looks like it’s out of juice after crossing $210 million this weekend, a number that, it’s safe to say, few predicted.

Step Up Revolution” began to bleed screens on its way out of the public consciousness, possibly signaling the death knell for this series with the lowest 'Step Up' grosses yet. Meanwhile,“The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Watch” both tied to round out the top ten.

1. The Bourne Obligation (Universal) - $40.2 million
2. Politics As Usual (WB) - $27.4 million
3. The Dark Knight Rises (WB) - $19.5 million ($390.1 mil.)
4. Old People Boners (Sony) - $15.6 million ($20 mil.)
5. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Reckoning (Fox) - $8.2 million ($30.5 mil.)
6. Totally Recalled (Sony) - $8.1 million ($44.1 mil.)
7. Ice Age: Because Taking Your Child To The Museum Is Too Much To Ask (Fox) - $6.7 million ($144 mil.)
8. Ted (Universal) - $3.2 million ($209.9 mil.)
9. Dance Dance Revolution (Summit) - $2.8 million ($30.1 mil.)
10. (tie) The Watch (Fox) - $2.2 million ($31.3 mil.)
10. (tie) The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony) - $2.2 million ($255.5)

You might also like:
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

8 Comments

  • Samoht | August 13, 2012 7:28 PMReply

    Why do people continue to demand Matt Damon back? Jeremy Renner is not replacing him, it's just another chapter of the story that has opened. Jason Bourne's story was concluded in Ultimatum, I don't get why you would want him back, it would ruin the character more than anything else.

    It's a pretty good start for Legacy, and hopefully they will get a fifth installment rolling soon (without Matt Damon appearing because studios would love promoting that he's back or because people would think it'd be so cool : when the story doesn't require it, just don't do it).

  • steamroller | August 15, 2012 12:39 PM

    @Samoht; While you may grow tired of hearing about Jason Bourne.
    Director Gilroy couldn't resist keeping Bourne's name out of the Bourne Legacy.
    Fact is, Jason Bourne made this franchise and brought it to the tremendous success and name recognition it has all over the world. I was not overly impressed with the story line of Legacy. And while Renner is a great actor, let's see how well it would have done at the box office if the movie had to truly stand on it's own legs with an action movie called Cross Legacy? You already know the answer to that one. Cheers mate.

  • kitcon | August 13, 2012 6:31 AMReply

    Total Recall and Bourne both cost $125M. Recall may not make it to $70M domestic and Bourne perhaps just a bit more. Foreign may not make up the shortfall since neither Renner nor Farrell are big int'l stars. Perhaps that's why Uni ran to Tom Cruise's defense. In Japan alone he is good for $20 - 30M in a genre film. As are Depp, Pitt, Jolie, Smith.

  • Monica | August 12, 2012 11:50 PMReply

    Damon>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Renner

  • marquee | August 12, 2012 5:04 PMReply

    Legacy will drop like a rock. It will be a big loss domestically - especially when the higher production cost and advertising are added in. Why didn't they just pay Damon and Greengrass?

  • Rah-al | August 12, 2012 3:43 PMReply

    Jeremy Renner is a good actor but not a marquee movie star. $40 Million for such a big franchise is pretty darn low. Studio spinning is not going to help.

  • Oogle monster | August 12, 2012 2:50 PMReply

    Question- when you say TDKR will place 15th... do you mean domestically? Because isn't the final HP film #4 or #5 of all time combined grosses? TDKR should be in the top 10 at the end, don't you think?

  • Robert Hunt | August 12, 2012 1:16 PMReply

    Please promise never to use the word "sidequel" again.

Email Updates