With the frontloaded numbers for "The Dark Knight Rises" partly attributable to massive pre-sale interest, one can say that the picture most definitely has a stigma attached. While mostly tasteful media coverage of the tragedy in Aurora could not help but mention the film in conjunction with the lives lost, that combined with the film's significantly smaller last-minute ad presence helped diminish the picture's profile. Had it been a violent shooting at a screening for another film, the association would not be so stark. Unfortunately, fans and non-fans are aware that "The Dark Knight Rises" is an extremely intense film with a decidedly dark tone.
Speaking of topicality, "The Watch" followed a flood of controversy with an immensely unappealing (and half-hearted) ad campaign that sealed its fate, resulting in numbers likely less than half of what you'd expect from a re-teaming of the stars of "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story." That film collected $114 million domestic eight years ago, and since then Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn have remained big comedic leading men, though results have been spotty. Vaughn carved out a niche for a while, churning out a big film every year while avoiding oversaturation, though last year's "The Dilemma" was a serious underperformer, and when you're as choosy as Vaughn, bombs tend to weigh more.
It's uncertain how much the general public knew of the studio's reshuffling of the film, formerly titled "Neighborhood Watch," in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case. Though what was certain was the film's unfocused ad campaign. The idea of a couple of wacky guys forming a neighborhood watch seems like it could carry a mainstream comedy all its own, but commercials and trailers for the film emphasized that the characters would use this power to throw their weight around and to harrass neighbors, which, topical or not, isn't all that funny. And Fox really didn't put much effort into getting the word out, with only a very small handful (single digits) of official stills landing before the film and a quickie "outtakes" trailer that arrived like an afterthought the week of release that suggested watching the actors goof their lines was funnier than the actual movie.
With the momentum of having the best legs in the top ten, "Ted" lapped blockbuster "The Amazing Spider-Man" and should cross $200 million domestic by next weekend. Don't cry for 'Spider-Man,' even if it should finish around $270-$280 million domestic, the first "Spider-Man" film not to surpass $300 million in the states -- Marc Webb's copying of Sam Raimi's homework is soon to cross $700 million worldwide, with more on the way. "Brave" is pretty much finished and should land around $225-$230 million, while "Magic Mike," "Savages" and "Madea's Witness Protection" stay in the top ten because something has to.
In limited release, "Ruby Sparks" was the highest grosser, with a solid $152k at thirteen theaters -- not exactly showing breakout potential but a sure bet to play well into the summer. The strongest per-screen in the indie market, however, was for "Killer Joe," which collected $37.9k at three locations. Other debuts include two competing docs, with "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" grabbing $45k at five theaters and "Searching For Sugar Man" opening on three screens with a $28.5k tally. Interest was a bit muted, however, for "Klown," which generated only $17.9k of interest from three theaters. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. The Dark Knight Rises (WB) - $64.1 million ($289.1 mil.)
2. Ice Age IV (Fox) - $13.3 million ($114.8 mil.)
3. The Watch (Fox) - $13 million
4. Step Up: Flash Mobs Are A Thing (Lionsgate/Summit) - $11.8 million
5. Ted (Universal) - $7.4 million ($193.6 mil.)
6. Spider-Man Deja Vu (Sony) - $6.3 million ($241 mil.)
7. Brave (Disney) - $4.1 million ($217 mil.)
8. El Miguelito Del Magico (WB) - $2.4 million ($107 mil.)
9. Savages (Universal) - $1.6 million ($44 mil.)
10. Madea's Why Didn't They Call It Witless Protection, That Would Have Been Hilarious (Lionsgate) - $1.3 million ($63 mil.)