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Weekend Box Office Analysis: 'Bourne Legacy' Bumps 'Dark Knight Rises,' Streep's 'Hope Springs' Shows Legs

Thompson on Hollywood By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood August 12, 2012 at 1:23PM

As the Olympics head to a close, overall weekend grosses show signs of life, and better yet, are spread over several films with different core audiences. All three new films performed well, with “Hope Springs” likely to have the best hold down the line. “The Dark Knight Rises” fell two places to third, but the biggest drop went to “Total Recall,” after a tepid opening weekend, making its second-week fall-off even more disappointing.
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The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises


3. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warner Brothers) – Week 4 (last week #1)

$19,540,000 in 3,690 theaters (-552); PSA: $5.295; Cumulative: $390,149,000

Four years ago, the fourth weekend of “The Dark Knight” opened against the 2008 Olympics. The result was the franchise's fourth #1 opening and a fall of only 38% from the previous weekend (total gross over $26 million).  This weekend’s figures confirm that the appeal of “Rises” is not that of its predecessor, despite the general acclaim and huge want-to-see.

What comes next: "Rises" has been losing theaters at a faster rate than in 2008, a pace that will accelerate in upcoming weeks.  And it's unlikely that this installment will still be in the top 10 in its tenth week. With Nolan no longer directing the costly series, Warners faces a challenge keeping this franchise robust.

4. HOPE SPRINGS (Sony) – NEW (Cinemascore: B; Metacritic score: 66)

$15,600,000 in 2.361 theaters; PSA: $6,607; Cumulative: $20,053,000

Opening on Wednesday to both gain word of mouth and improve visibility against the Olympics (which appeal to older audiences), a strong Saturday gross boosted the weekend estimate higher than the first three days had suggested.

A modest $20-30 million budget helps the relationship comedy's long-term chances. Both Meryl Streep comedies “Julie and Julia” and “The Devil Wears Prada” ended up with grosses close to five times their opening weekends (with industry seasonal averages closer to tripling the number), although neither had to worry about Olympics competition when they opened. Also, some of the two-day Wednesday/Thursday gross of around $4.5 million would likely have shown up this weekend with a normal Friday opening, so the uptick could be even greater.

On the other hand, unlike the prior two films (or Streep hit “It’s Complicated”), this story focuses entirely on an over-60 couple, which restricted its initial appeal.  Eight years ago, the similar “Something’s Got to Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson amassed $125 million (which would be over $160 million today), although it was boosted by a Christmas season release.

For director David Frankel , this should fall short of his two biggest hits – “Prada” and “Marley and Me” – but reinforces his brand as a studio director who combines comedy and drama with quality adult-appeal projects. Not bad for someone who had to wait 11 years after his first film (the low-grossing “Miami Rhapsody”) to get his second chance with “Prada.”

What comes next: This could end up playing steadily over the next few weeks and still hit $100 million plus in the US/Canada. The performance on Streep-starring comedies worldwide has been all over the place, but at this point, the overseas take will be gravy above the likely domestic profits.

5. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID – DOG DAYS (20th Century-Fox) – Week 2 (last week #3)

$8,200,000 in 3,398 (+7) theaters; PSA $2,413; Cumulative: $30,554,000

Falliing off far less than week two of last year’s sequel (44% compared to 57%), this continues to yield modest returns.

What comes next: With one more week before school resumes for much of the film's target audience, totals should top out somewhere above $40 million. Whether that is enough to keep the series going remains to be seen (“Roderick Rules” did just under $53 million).

6. TOTAL RECALL (Sony) – Week 2 (last week #2)

$8,100,000 in 3,601 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,249; Cumulative: $44,188,000

A bad decline for this expensive remake. With an estimate 70% drop the second Friday, this is going to struggle to get much beyond $50 million stateside.

What comes next: Unless the rest of the world – most territories have yet to open – responds much better, this is going to come up far short for Sony. And now they need to worry about competition from the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in the original, as “The Expendables 2” opens worldwide.

7. ICE AGE – CONTINENTAL DRIFT (20th Century-Fox) – Week 5  (last week #4)

$6,750,000 in 3,103 theaters (-439); PSA: $2,175; Cumulative: $144,064,000

Heading for the far side of $150 million as this continues to hold well.

What comes next: Though this won’t approach $200 million as the last two entries did, the success this go-round likely is enough to continue the series.

8. TED (Universal) – Week 7 (last week #7)

$3,300,000 in 2,208 theaters (-559); PSA: $1,494; Cumulative: $209,900,000

After falling less than 25% last weekend, this week fell 41% (abetted by theater count losses), but it’s all gravy at this point.

What comes next: Much of the world remains to open, so a $400 million total looks likely. Prepare for a sequel.

9. STEP UP REVOLUTION (Lionsgate) – Week 3 (last week #6)

$2,900,000 in 1,898 (-708) theaters; PSA: $1,502; Cumulative: $30,200,000

50% falloff, which is standard at this point with the theaters lost this week.

What comes next: To pass $35 million domestically with strong international appeal going for it, this series delivers solidly this go-round, which might not be the last.

10. THE WATCH (20th Century-Fox) – Week 3 (last week #5)

$2,200,000 in 2,461 theaters (-707); PSA: $893; Cumulative: $31,375,000

Falling like a rock, its third weekend will do less (by some distance) than the seventh for “Ted.”

What comes next: Very little, to be honest.

10. (tied) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Sony) – Week 6 (last week #8)

$2,200,000 in 1,585 theaters (-840); PSA: $1,388; Cumulative: $255,543,000

Barely scraping the top 10, but six weeks into the run, not bad.

What comes next: Passing $700 million worldwide. These days, this counts as a modest success for a 3-D ticket price-boosted massive production like this.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, Jeremy Renner


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