Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Relativity Faces Bankruptcy, Spelling More Disaster for 'Jane Got a Gun' Relativity Faces Bankruptcy, Spelling More Disaster for 'Jane Got a Gun' 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Weekend Box Office: '42' Leads Weekend, Breaks Baseball Movie Records, 'Scary' Series Ends

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood April 14, 2013 at 1:19PM

Old-fashioned period baseball biopic "42" opened surprisingly well and shows signs of long-term play. The Jackie Robinson film provides struggling Warner Bros. with a much-needed hit. But the weekend was modest overall, with a top ten grossing about $105 million, the same as last year, but down from last week.
3
'42'
'42'

Old-fashioned period baseball biopic "42" opened surprisingly well and shows signs of long-term play. The Jackie Robinson film provides struggling Warner Bros. with a much-needed hit. But the weekend was modest overall, with a top ten grossing about $105 million, the same as last year, but down from last week.

The other new opening, Weinstein Co.'s "Scary Movie 5," took in less than expected. Among holdovers, "The Croods" and "Olympus Has Fallen" once again held best, while the still limited "The Place Beyond the Pines" entered the top ten earlier than expected.

Universal's "Oblivion" starring Tom Cruise opened to a strong $61 million in 52 territories (#1 in all but four) in advance of its American release next Friday. Cruise has been consistently strong internationally, but this is almost half of the total foreign gross for his last film, "Jack Reacher," suggesting that this si-fi actioner could also perform well stateside.

1. 42 (Warner Bros.) NEW - Cinemascore: A+; Criticwire Grade: B; Metacritic score: 63

$27,250,000 in 3,003 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $9,074; Cumulative: $27,250,000

Not only do the impressive initial initial numbers for "42" mark the biggest gross for a wide opening of a baseball-themed film, it is the biggest opening for one even after numbers of previous films are adjusted for inflation! (The previous best was "A League of Their Own.") Add another comparison: "42" is slightly above the opening for "The Help," another drama with significant African-American interest that also appealed to wide audiences (and was story driven, like  "42," with decent, but not great reviews). And "42" scored $6 million more than another period biofilm, "Lincoln," did its first wide weekend (although that film initially boasted fewer than 2,000 theaters).

This doesn't place "42" among the top openers of the year. But what makes this "42"performance significant is that the film did so well despite hanging on an unknown African-American lead in a serious male-oriented sports drama with mainly adult appeal. Yes, the movie was about a baseball legend. But safe to say, expectations were much, much lower than this.

Add to the impressiveness is the apparent strong audience reaction (the A+ Cinemascore). That score is rare, and sometimes tells little more than that those who were most interested in the film were satisfied. But it is more significant when it comes from a tougher-to-please older crowd, which is a group that responds more slowly to films (and does not rush as much to see them opening weekend). When word of mouth is this strong, "42" should easily exceed the normal standard for ultimate gross -- three times opening weekend.

With a $40-million budget plus marketing -- on the low side for a studio production, but with baseball films normally not having significant international appeal, still a risk -- this gross comes as a relief for Warner Bros., which so far this year has endured a string of underperforming expensive films led by the disastrous "Jack the Giant Slayer." That film, like "42," came from Legendary Productions and producer Thomas Tull, who have backed Christopher Nolan's recent films as well as the "Hangover" series and "Superman" thus making them a key player at Warners in recent years.

It also is a significant success for director-writer Brian Helgeland (who wrote "L.A. Confidential" and "Mystic River" and directed "Payback" and two minor Heath Ledger films). The attention the film is getting (and its appeal to older, male moviegoers) could increase its Oscar chances, particularly for Harrison Ford, whose supporting role (his first ever biographical character) makes him a logical contender after a long and successful career (think Sean Connery in "The Untouchables").

What comes next: This kind of film that will grab more notice after making #1, driving a wider than initial audience to check it out , which in turn leads to a smaller second week drop and longer legs. "42" could go all the way to $100 million.

2. Scary Movie 5 (Weinstein) NEW - Cinemascore: C-; Criticwire Grade: D-; Metacritic score: 16

$15,153,000 in 3,402 theaters; PSA: $4,454; Cumulative: $15,153,000

Whatever its marketable elements, this Weinstein Dimension release failed to score like past entries (the previous entry opened to over $40 million) and looks to have a quick playoff. It will fail to be the big moneymaker this and other past genre series films from the company (like "Scream") have been.

With a reported production cost of $20 million and equivalent marketing costs topping the likely ultimate domestic gross, and a limited international appeal because of its American-specific spoof elements, this sequel will barely recoup when all revenues are tallied. Back during the Weinstein's Miramax days, Dimension could be counted on as the fall-back cash cow to buttress the risk of more ambitious, awards-oriented releases. Fortunately, with recent hits such as "Django Unchained" and "Silver Linings Playbook," the Weinsteins can probably manage without that safety net for now.

The "Scary" series has had among its creators Airplane" comedy director/writer David Zucker, who produced and wrote this installment. The film was directed by Malcolm Lee, whose past films include "Undercover Brother" and "Soul Man." This is his first feature since 2008.

What comes next: A likely quick drop with a total gross less than the opening for the last one, which should mean the end to this series.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.