Box Office: 'Twilight' Stays At #1, 'Killing Them Softly' Worst Brad Pitt Wide Release Opening In 18 Years

Box Office
by Gabe Toro
December 2, 2012 11:43 AM
31 Comments
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The post-Thanksgiving weekend is usually fairly slow business and this three-day frame was no exception. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2” ruled the roost for a third consecutive week, pulling in numbers to suggest that through five movies, this series had leveled-off domestically into consistent “Are you kidding?” box office tallies. 'Twilight' has come to a close as a story, but as a brand, it’s hard to believe Lionsgate is going to call it quits, particularly as this entry is set to become the biggest in the franchise worldwide. With Lionsgate/Summit crossing a cool billion both stateside and overseas, it’s going to be hard to turn down a film series capable of goosing those numbers.

James Bond remains right on those vamps’ tails, as “Skyfall” posts solid drops, breaking records within its genre. Having long since become the biggest Bond entry, “Skyfall” entered rarefied air as being the highest grossing film in what can be considered the “spy” genre. The next touchstone for “Skyfall” is a cool billion dollars worldwide, is a possibility but will require good legs through a tough frame, particularly with "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" coming up. It’s Bond -- this series hasn’t had a flop since the Timothy Dalton years, and the Craig films have had a ridiculous upwards curve. It doesn’t change much as this series has always been business as usual, but it’s likely the pedigree of talent behind and in front of the camera will likely skew A-List more than before.

Lincoln” completes this trio of heavy moneymakers as it speeds towards $100 million domestic with small-ish drops. What’s especially notable is that “Lincoln” is only on barely over 2,000 screens, which means there are whole swaths of theaters not carrying Steven Spielberg’s latest. The film’s near-three hour runtime also complicates the film’s potential earning power, but it’s a shortcoming that has not come into play, as the presidential drama is registering stats much stronger than Spielberg’s last two, “War Horse” and “The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn.” With critic groups about to name Daniel Day-Lewis Best Actor In The History Of Ever, the film could easily play until the holidays.

Entering last weekend, “Rise Of The Guardians” looked like the sure-thing blockbuster and “Life Of Pi” the questionable risk. But after two weekends, both films are surprisingly in a dead heat, with 'Guardians' the distinct disappointment, and 'Pi' the critical favorite underdog, despite both films similarly costing well over $100 million. 'Guardians' is something of a black eye for DreamWorks Animation, even if these films manage to eke out a profit through tie-ins, TV and cable deals -- there’s always demand for holiday-themed product. 'Pi' has the stronger word-of-mouth, though, and even greater international appeal. By next week, the distance between them could grow considerably.

An ’F’ Cinemascore rating greeted the arrival of “Killing Them Softly.”  The Weinstein Company tried to sell the film’s talky combination of politics and criminal sleaze into a standard actioner but, despite strong reviews, audiences weren't buying. Not to mention that conundrum of a title, which only makes viewers think of a pop song with no relation to the subject matter. More to the point, with a paltry $7 million worldwide, this is the worst Brad Pitt wide release live action action opening in 18 years. Only 1994's forgotten "The Favor" fared worse (albeit on less screens).  

Wreck-It Ralph” looks to be losing a bit of steam as it heads into the stretch run, and the picture’s not likely to tally $200 million domestic. The total is something of a disappointment, though this picture certainly found a significant audience, one that Disney can count on for future support of this character in other media. “Red Dawn” isn’t necessarily setting the industry on fire, though a $40-$50 million total for a cheap genre leftover from years ago isn’t something to sneeze at.

Adult audiences continue to take “Flight,” as the picture has performed strongly for Paramount. Its final tally should likely finish just short of nine figures, an impressive gross for an alcoholism drama that would only play in arthouses were it not for Denzel Washington’s star power. “Silver Linings Playbook” continues to lead pictures in limited release, once again leading the per screen average against "Hitchcock" and "Anna Karenina." Right outside the top ten, 1,403 theaters opted to show “The Collection” instead of a blank screen, and they were rewarded with a $2.7 million gross because the theater is a nice place to help get away from the cold.

1. The Twilight Saga: Breakin’ 2 (Lionsgate) - $17.4 million ($254.6 mil.)
2. Skyfellas (Sony) - $17 million ($246 mil.)
3. Lincoln (Disney/DreamWorks) - $13.5 million ($83.7 mil.)
4. Rise Of The Cardigans (DreamWorks) - $13.5 million ($48.9 mil.)
5. Life Of Custard Pi (Fox) - $12 million ($48.4 mil.)
6. Killing Them Softly (The Weinstein Company) - $7 million
7. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) - $7 million ($158.2 mil.)
8. Red Dawn (FilmDistrict) - $6.5 million ($31.3 mil.)
9. Flight (Paramount) - $4.5 million ($81.5 mil.)
10. Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company) - $3.3 million ($10.9 mil.)
 

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31 Comments

  • RC | December 3, 2012 10:45 AMReply

    Bad title change for an otherwise terrific little film. Assassination of Jesse James needed an editor, but Killing Them Softly was nice and tight. The gumps don't like it and some libs probably mistake it as an attack on Emperor Obama, but Dominic is definitely a talent to be reckoned with.

  • nechoplex | December 3, 2012 8:42 AMReply

    See? They should've kept the original and million times better title "Cogan's Trade"

  • Sean | December 2, 2012 11:47 PMReply

    I really wonder how Weinstein & Pitt & Dominik are responding to such news. I wish I was a fly on that wall! All I have to say is that Dominik def doesnt deserve this absoltuely not, great filmmaker & writer....

  • Savides | December 2, 2012 5:17 PMReply

    P.S. Who gives a shit how much these movies make? It's so tired. Let's talk about merit (or lack thereof), not money (or lack thereof), instead of reducing the conversation, week after week, to dollars and nonsense.

  • Gabe Toro | December 3, 2012 2:16 PM

    I appreciate your sentiment, Savides. Tis the nature of the beast. Let's talk about merit (or lack thereof) of these films. Without any malice intended, the floor is yours.

  • Savides | December 3, 2012 11:19 AM

    You nerds are far too easy. MWAHAHAHAHA!

  • Bogart | December 3, 2012 4:00 AM

    Savides, I love the way you quote someone's entire post just to belittle one phrase without offering any counter argument or reasoning.

    "Dominik ="acclaimed and important" HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That's rich!" - opinions are assholes, Amigo. It seems you're one too. Perhaps you should cease visiting this site if the 'recycled news & typos' are getting to you.

  • Savides | December 3, 2012 12:24 AM

    "...some people like to follow this kind of thing because it predicts future filmmaking trends. Like whether an acclaimed and important young director will be able to get funding for his next film because his current one isn't doing so well despite having a huge star attached:
    Dominik ="acclaimed and important" HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That's rich!

  • Huffy | December 3, 2012 12:06 AM

    So did you somehow miss the massive "Box Office" title on the article of did you just want to complain? But to counter your point some people like to follow this kind of thing because it predicts future filmmaking trends. Like whether an acclaimed and important young director will be able to get funding for his next film because his current one isn't doing so well despite having a huge star attached.

  • Savides | December 3, 2012 12:00 AM

    I would, except:
    a) They're too littered with typos.
    b) They're generally just recycled "news" items I've already read elsewhere.
    c) I meant, in general, as the overall fixation on box office receipts can only lead to vapid insights such as this chestnut: "Not to mention that conundrum of a title, which only makes viewers think of a pop song with no relation to the subject matter."

  • DWNN | December 2, 2012 11:25 PM

    It's a box office report. That's the whole point. There's 300 + posts per week that are not about this subject. Read one of those.

  • Stella | December 2, 2012 4:53 PMReply

    I think renting art house films is a good substitute for sleep inducing drugs for those unable to fall asleep. I can still remember how I anticipated The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward... I read about it and looked at the pics of Brad Pitt as the Western anti-hero all the time. When I got the DVD I fell asleep not once but repeatedly. Some how I eventually got to the end of the film by not exactly repeating all of the parts I had slept through. Was Brad Pitt and most of the cast sleep-walking through the film? They were lifeless and bloodless beings IMO. Casey Afleck's brief run after the assassination show-cased the only real action by sentient beings in that endless but beautifully shot film. I might have to see Killing Them Softly just to see how it compares.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | December 2, 2012 4:47 PMReply

    I preferred the title "Cogan's Trade" instead of "Killing Them Softly," but oh well. This is the same star/director team that produced "The Assassination of Jesse James...," a powerful film (which I proudly own) that requires a true cinephile's complete attention -- and half an afternoon. I'd say the same about this film, although it's not as well-done. It's much shorter, though -- and violent, and funny. But it's not the kind of film that can compete with tentpole movies like "Lincoln" and "Skyfall," and its overall tone, like "Assassination," is pretty morose. But it was money well-spent! Look for a creatively executed scene between the two robbers where one tries to extract information from the other who's just shot up with heroin. Director Andrew Dominik is one to keep an eye on.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | December 2, 2012 4:47 PM

    Oh, and don't worry about Brad. lol Brotha's gonna be all right, I promise!

  • MJ | December 2, 2012 3:52 PMReply

    Also it's silly to write off Life of Pi's profitability this early, it'll play well for weeks and should get to $100m in North America, but more importantly it's doing gangbusters overseas having already netted $60m from just 11 territories. This is headed towards $400m worldwide and should profit before any ancillary revenues are made.

  • MJ | December 2, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    The Weinsteins clearly did not know what they were doing with this film, starting with moving it from a safer date in September & into the post-Thanksgiving frame which hasn't yielded at $10m+ opener since 2003, & then they used weak/misleading marketing and a wide release instead of a more stirring campaign/platform release. Dominik's had a tough time at the box office which is a shame because he's one of the best in the game now.

  • Sean | December 2, 2012 11:42 PM

    I completely agree! Its just a tragedy for Dominik. Esp when "Assass of Jesse James" was just soooo brilliant!

  • Emre | December 2, 2012 3:22 PMReply

    Skyfellas?

  • Glass | December 3, 2012 12:02 AM

    I giggled at it

  • Gabe | December 2, 2012 5:26 PM

    Thanks for your opinions. Next time i shall put in a word with the other members of the Playlist staff to check with you before posting anything.

  • Savides | December 2, 2012 5:13 PM

    Exactly. Quit trying so hard, as you're likely to pull a muscle. So dumb.

  • Jackie | December 2, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    There's a reason why it's brad's worst opening. IT'S A SMALL FILM. Why would you add negative press with a title like that for such a fragile gem of a film like this? I saw it yesterday and it was fucking great. Support the art-house please. We need our auteurs working. Not twilight $$.

  • CJ | December 3, 2012 9:08 AM

    Totally agree. Its ridiculous how these films are evaluated as failures without viewing their opening take as relative to their budget. This film opened to seven million domestically on an estimated eighteen million dollar budget, meaning it's already made close to 40% of its budget back opening weekend. Just something to think about but The Departed opened to 26.9 million domestically on an estimated 90 million dollar budget making only around 30% of its budget back opening weekend, and eventually went on to make 289 million word wide. Obviously KTS won't come close to having that kind of success, but it seems very unlikely to me it won't turn some sort of a profit by the end of its run.

  • Jim | December 2, 2012 2:52 PMReply

    Bummer

  • Justin Kownacki | December 2, 2012 2:15 PMReply

    I appreciate that Rise of the Guardians was reported here as Rise of the Cardigans. I might actually watch that.

  • Marko | December 2, 2012 3:26 PM

    Nah. Sounds too Twee to me.

  • Glass | December 2, 2012 12:56 PMReply

    I thought KTS was pretty good, but there were so many walkouts in my theater, so I understand the F cinemascore. James Gandolfini gets this HUGE slow-motion intro shot, like "here comes the turning point in this story"... then he just has two scenes where he pathetically drinks and rambles a lot... I get the story's allegory and it's nice and all, but way to bait and switch a wide release audience

  • Joshua | December 2, 2012 11:58 AMReply

    Killing Them Softly is one of the top films of the year in my book. Such a great exercise in careful and precise filmmaking by Dominik. However, I was shocked to see The Weinstein Company take a gamble on putting it as a wide release over Silver Linings Playbook which was changed the day before its release from a 1400 screener to a 400 screener. Stupid move on their part. I manage a small downtown movie theater and Playbook had a much stronger American appeal than Killing. We had very upset patrons when it was pulled on such short notice.

    I am so glad Killing came out wider so I got the chance to see it in my own theater vs. driving to NYC or Philly. So thank you Weinstein's for that. But they still need to gauge their audiences better. Silver Linings would have pulled a nice number wide. Killing is an experimental, slow, violent crime thriller. How do they think it would have sold better to a wider audience?

    Brad Pitt < Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert Di Nero, Chris Tucker, David O'Russel.

    Weinstein Company, please think.

  • Joshua | December 2, 2012 11:31 PM

    I am not saying Silver Linings was bad or not, I have not seen it. I really want to. I was very upset we didn't get it. I am simply saying that they shouldn't be shocked that Killing did poorly due to it's lack of advertising budget in comparison to Silver Linings massive campaign. I wish both were released wide. However, if one being released wide over the other, Silver Linings would have made a ton more sense. I don't like seeing Killing doing so poorly, but they (The Weinstein Machine) set it up to in my opinion.

  • MJ | December 2, 2012 3:54 PM

    Just because they're from the same company doesn't mean you have to slag one or the other by comparison, they're completely different films & both are great. Yes they shouldn't have released it like they did, but because you were spurned by the Weinstein's idiocy doesn't mean O. Russell's film isn't worth the praise. He's another of America's great film voices & it's nice to finally see him be doing well with audiences.

  • AS | December 2, 2012 11:52 AMReply

    Trash, as usual, triumphs. I didn't love Killing Them Softly, but I respect and admire it and I hope the film fairs better overseas. Damn shame.

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