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Box Office: 'The Expendables 2' Wins Weak Weekend, Conservative Doc '2016: Obama's America' Surprises

Box Office
by Gabe Toro
August 26, 2012 12:12 PM
17 Comments
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Sylvester Stallone Yu Nan The Expendables 2

There was a brief moment where August still seemed viable for blockbuster pictures. Generally, the month has been viewed as the weak sister of the hot season, usually a dumping ground for once-promising projects that fell by the wayside, gathering little attention from students preparing to return to school. A string of August hits over the last decade changed that, but here we are, back to the dog days. Last summer was plagued by low attendance for films like "30 Minutes or Less," "Conan the Barbarian" and "Fright Night," and if this weekend is anything to go by, with "The Expendables 2" handily defeating an onslaught of unattractive new product, we're in for even lower grosses. In fact, it's the first weekend in a decade where no new film opened to over $7 million. Ouch.

The musclebound sequel to "The Expendables" is definitely a few ticks below the original film, and it looks like it might not even hit nine figures. Coming out immediately after "Total Recall" and "The Bourne Legacy" didn't help matters as far as being a red-meat action picture. "The Expendables 2" had one hook to distinguish itself from those films, the union of elderly action stars, and audiences had already seen that in the original film. Millennium Films reported the budget to be around $90 million, though an even bigger P&A for the followup likely makes that figure higher, but the reception overseas will determine whether or not an "Expendables 3D" is in our future.
 
The Bourne Legacy, Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Renner,
"The Bourne Legacy" is getting closer to $100 million, which would make it the fourth film in this franchise to cross that line. It won't be a smash success, but a solid performer and one that ultimately puts it more or less in the same position as franchise starter "The Bourne Identity," which makes sense given its rolling with a brand new lead. The film is still poised to open in numerous overseas territories in the next month or so we'll see how well 'Legacy' does without Matt Damon leading it. "The Bourne Ultimatum" nearly brought home the same figures both at home and abroad, but if 'Legacy' can get to three-fourths of the domestic take from the foreign box office, Universal will be happy.
 
Family flicks "ParaNorman" and "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" hung on after mediocre debuts. Neither is expected to break the bank, though it's certainly peculiar how the studios have treated them. "ParaNorman" is a horror-centric kid flick, so an October berth would make more sense than August, though they seem to think that Disney's "Frankenweenie" would defeat the film soundly during that period. Meanwhile, 'Green' has been promoted heavily for the last year, as Disney pushed a serious trailer and TV ad campaign. Considering it's a small film, you wonder how much they needed to gross to grab a profit for all those commercials.
 
The Dark Knight Rise, Tom Hardy, Bane
The blockbuster of choice in the late summer remains "The Dark Knight Rises," as it bounced back into the top five after briefly falling out. Internationally, the picture has already surpassed the take of "The Dark Knight" and will likely be an even bigger success than the 2008 smash. Moreover, "The Dark Knight Rises" will enter the all time domestic Top Ten this week, passing "The Lion King" with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" in its sights. By time its box office run ends, it could jump up a couple more spots as well.
 
The weekend's biggest story is the performance of "2016: Obama's America." The conservative doc went wide to over a thousand theaters in conjunction with the Republican National Convention, adding to the considerable business the film has done in limited release already. Political docs usually don't perform this kind of business, but there's a certain type of filmgoer who would be enticed by the type of film that, from its trailer, features dramatizations of families being torn apart by infighting over a game of Monopoly. These guys operate in metaphor! 
 
Premium Rush Joseph Gordon-Levitt
It's doubtful this will represent a breakout hit -- conservative bases licensed buses and massive field trips to see the film upon its expansion, though the picture had loaded pre-sales numbers and had already peaked in regards to per-screen averages in limited release. But anytime a doc can total over $5 million is a victory, particularly considering Rocky Mountain Pictures is one of the smaller distributors out there. On Friday, it was the biggest film in the country, but by the time the final numbers arrive on Monday, it will likely remain in the bottom five, possibly above or below "The Campaign."
 
A meek debut was had for "Premium Rush," which tried to sex up a profession that no one seemed to believe could be sexed up. Sony had this one on ice for too long, probably, with an earlier release planned for January '12 already long after it had wrapped, though the hope was Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be embraced as a leading man by now. This does not bode well for "Looper," which will bank on teaming him with Bruce Willis next month.
 
"Hope Springs" is quietly pacing itself and should hit $50 million by next weekend. Not bad considering it's cheap counterprogramming for an older demographic. Considering the pallid showings of the rest of the films on the marketplace, 'Springs' could conceivably play well into September (or at least until the similarly skewing "Trouble with the Curve" arrives). Debuting at the very bottom of the top ten was "Hit and Run," which Open Road aggressively opened at over 2,800 locations on Wednesday, despite the fact that Dax Shepherd is not bankable, nor is he a convincing action lead. Tragedy, that. And light a candle for "The Apparition," which Warner Bros. opened on 810 theaters for a piddling $3 million despite not being sure if they were releasing "The Apparition," "The Awakening," "The Possession" or "Monkeybone." 
 
1. Grandpa's Blow-'Em-Up Hour (Lionsgate) - $13.5 million ($52.3 mil.)
2. The Bourne Trilogy Part Four (universal) - $9.3 million ($85.5 mil.)
3. ParaNorman (Focus) - $8.5 million ($28.3 mil.)
4. The Odd Life Of Green Boy (Disney) - $7.4 million ($64.5 mil.)
5. The Dark Knight Rides Again (Warner Bros.) - $7.2 million ($422.2 mil.)
6. The Campaign (WB) - $7.1 million ($64 mil.)
7. Google Maps: The Movie (Sony) - $6.3 million
8. Blak Presidence R Scurry (Rocky Mountain Pictures - $6.2 million ($9 mil.)
9. Your Elderly Parents Are Doing It (Sony) - $5.8 million ($45 mil.)
10. Bradley Cooper In Dreadlocks (Open Road) - $4.7 million ($5.9 mil.)
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17 Comments

  • JD | August 27, 2012 7:32 AMReply

    I don't think you can blame JGL for the lack of success of Premium Rush, as was mentioned Sony kept this on ice for too long and it isn't necessarily an indication of the result of Looper. That said I'm not 100% sure he can open a film all by himself he will need a solid supporting cast (aka. Willis) or to play second fiddle to a bigger star (aka.Bale or Di Caprio). I still see him carving out a Robert Duvall type career, often excellent in supporting roles and occasionally having starring roles of his own.

  • sidsbowl | August 26, 2012 7:00 PMReply

    Bourne Legacy will be the first to perform domestically underneath its budget (by a significant number) and was the most expensive to produce. Not good.

  • Tom | August 26, 2012 6:07 PMReply

    Lol @ Google Maps: The Movie. Like an idiot I saw Premuim Rush this weekend. Couldn't stand watching the big screen and feeling like I was playing with a smart phone. Also, who the hell is Dax Shepherd?

  • Joe | August 26, 2012 5:19 PMReply

    I'm quite surprised that Expendables 2 isnt doing better as its much better then the 1st one, which I liked. The 2nd one is funnier with great one liners. Anyone I've spoke to who has seen it has loved it. I hope a 3rd one is made.

  • alan | August 26, 2012 5:04 PMReply

    why all the ayn rand backlash? "A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." - Rand

  • alan | August 26, 2012 7:53 PM

    nathan, personally i find her to be aesthetically mundane. nonetheless, atlas shrugged is poignantly accurate in its depiction of our loss of liberties. objectivism presents a philosophy that corresponds to the real world; whereas other philosophies ride the curtails of kant, decrying the natural rights of man in favor of something greater than him. ayn rand simply made the case that nothing is greater than that of an individual human being.

  • nathan | August 26, 2012 6:54 PM

    I don't think backlash is the right word. She may have her ardent followers, but does anyone else take her seriously? It's not like she's some highly respected philosopher.

  • alan | August 26, 2012 5:20 PM

    aye, quoting krugman. he's spent his whole academic career riding the wave off the predictions of others. you can thank him for intellectualizing greenspan's decision to inflate the housing bubble. more importantly, he's an advocate of using force to further the majority's political narrative. i assume you're in favor using force as well? :)

  • Zack | August 26, 2012 5:14 PM

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

  • Zack | August 26, 2012 4:53 PMReply

    I'm guessing this comment section is going to end up as more of a shitstorm than the Ayn Rand threads and less of one than the Alex Jones one (obviously).

  • J64 | August 26, 2012 4:45 PMReply

    The documentary showing across America titled ' 2016: Obama's America ' provides a lot of insight into Obama's influences in his life, and it is a must see film for all American voters. Obama supporters will, also, enjoy this movie since it will answer a lot of questions about Obama's early influences in his life and what his agenda will probably be in a second term if re-elected. Just saw the movie yesterday in Ohio to a packed audience and at the end of the movie, most people were applauding.

  • Rah-al | August 26, 2012 10:15 PM

    You mean his Kenyan anti-colonial socialist plans to create death panels, overthrow the military and enslave us all? Well good thing this 'documentary' came along to show us to be afraid of the scary foreign Black guy. His sekret Manchurian candidate plan has been revealed! LMAO.

  • Zack | August 26, 2012 4:49 PM

    "Obama supporters will, also, enjoy this movie since it will answer a lot of questions about Obama's early influences in his life and what his agenda will probably be in a second term if re-elected. "
    Lolwut?

  • Rah-al | August 26, 2012 4:31 PMReply

    Gabe,
    I read your Sunday box-office articles weekly just for the creative whacked final titles and the funny write up. Two thumbs up as usual. Don't ever change man.

  • AguyLikeMe | August 29, 2012 1:46 AM

    Whaaaa? you mean J64 wasn't being honest about who should go see this movie ... an honest look at our COMPLETELY unknown president and all his mysterious foriegn motives????
    no I dont want to believe it ... so i won't.
    just like I wont believe the one guy running against him is part of a polygamist cult started by a criminal

  • ArcherSlyce | August 26, 2012 1:37 PMReply

    As always the final movie-titles showdown is amazing ! Kudos.

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