Why 'Grown Ups 2' Scoring Best Sony Opening Day Since 'Skyfall' Is No Surprise; 'Fruitvale Station' Opens Strong

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
July 13, 2013 4:24 PM
4 Comments
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Dennis Dugan
Friday's surprise, as critically panned "Grown Ups 2," starring Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade ended up an easy number one for the day, with $16.3 million, isn't quite the shock you might think. 

Dennis Dugan's initial Sony film three years ago grossed $40 million its first weekend, propelled by good word of mouth to a $161 million total (with $100 million more worldwide). Dugan's name doesn't often come to mind when thinking of A-list commercial American directors. But the one-time actor (whose lead role in ABC's short-lived 1970s "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye" was his acting high point) has over the last two decades made 17 films that have amassed a domestic gross higher than those of some of the most acclaimed filmmakers over a span of the last several decades. 

Dugan's hits, which include six previous $100 million successes (led by "Big Daddy") have been closely associated with both Adam Sandler (though not exclusively) and with Sony Pictures. Even without any critical support, his films have grossed over $1 billion, is more than the totals for films from directors as acclaimed and popular as Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, David Fincher and Ang Lee.

Overall Friday box office skyrocketed from last year, marking one of the best week-to-week improvements of 2013. The top 10 took in $62 million, compared to $48 million in 2012, and overall year-to-date totals are now down only a bit more than 1% after lagging most of the year.

"Fruitvale." Sundance

After opening two far more expensive films ("After Earth" and "White House Down") that fell short, this is a much needed turnaround for Sony. Costing a reasonable $80 million, they not only have a surefire hit but also have established a franchise likely to provide dividends in the future. The Friday gross was their best opening day since "Skyfall" last November.

The gross (which includes $2.3 million from Thursday night shows) positions the film to compete for #1 for the weekend against the next best grossers, both quite good themselves. For now, #2 is Warner Bros. "Pacific Rim" from Guillermo del Toro, which did $14.6 (including $3.6 million Thursday) for a better than expected initial gross for this very ($195 million) expensive coproduction with Legendary Pictures (who just announced a new deal with Universal this week). #3 was "Despicable Me 2" (Universal) at $13.4 fell a bit over 50% from its opening day, but with matinees ahead still could leap over "Pacific Rim" or possibly even "Grown Ups 2" to retain the #1 spot.

#4 "The Heat" from 20th Century-Fox ($4.2 million) bested "The Lone Ranger" (Buena Vista) (which fell to #5 with $3.4 million) and crossed the $100 million mark in only its 15th day, proving, like "Grown Ups 2," the hunger for comedy.  Disney's western flop fell more than two-thirds from its opening day, and could fall to #6 for the weekend, with their own "Monsters University" at $3.3 million likely to surge with matinees.

"World War Z," "White House Down," "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" and "Man of Steel" placed #7 - 10, all under $3 million.

The Weinstein Co. opened acclaimed Sundance prize-winner "Fruitvale Station" in seven theaters to a strong $127,000, with its per screen average of $18,143 the third best of any limited film (after "Spring Breakers" and "A Place Beyond the Pines") this year.

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4 Comments

  • Daniel Delago | July 14, 2013 6:29 AMReply

    Word of mouth should propel 'Pacific Rim' to a solid box office numbers. Hands down... it is the best popcorn film of the summer and I'm not a big fan of CGI-induced filmmaking. As a film critic, I also liked how Del Toro included a strong female heroine in Rinko Kikuchi. Can you name any other film this summer that has a female character young girls can admire? Highly doubtful.

  • Randy Mills | July 14, 2013 5:25 AMReply

    I had the pleasure of working with Dennis on "Just Go With It" and not only is he one of the highest grossing directors, he is also an absolute riot to work with. Great attitude, amazing vision and impeccable comedic timing. Congrats senor Dugan!

  • Mr. Hollywood | July 15, 2013 3:52 PM

    Impeccable comedic timing? Really?? None of these guys know comedy ... the only reason these films make money is that you have an audience of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who only laugh at dick-pee-poo-vomit and cum humor. Nice. You should all be proud. Wit or humopr? Non existence.

  • Mell | July 13, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    Sad to see how stupid humans are to go see such a movie. Humanity has no salvation.

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