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Box Office Top Ten: Action Holdovers and Animated Hits Edge Out Costly Bellyflop 'I, Frankenstein'

Thompson on Hollywood By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood January 26, 2014 at 1:04PM

Despite a flopping new wide release ("I, Frankenstein"), grosses for the Top 10 this weekend actually enjoyed a healthy jump over last year ($91 million up from $81), showing strength from two unexpectedly big Universal films ("Ride Along" and "Lone Survivor"), two animated features and sustained interest in several Oscar contenders led by "American Hustle."
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Frozen

3. The Nut Job (Open Road) Week 2 - Last weekend #3

$12,316,000 (-37%) in3,472 theaters (+45); PSA: $3,547; Cumulative: $40,271,000

Considering its bigger-than-expected opening and lack of pre-sold studio and/or sequel elements, this is a fine hold for this independently non-American animated feature. For upstart distributor Open Road, this could be their first break-out success after a series of eclectic low-budget acquisitions, and shows the value of their entree with the two biggest domestic exhibitors (Regal and AMC), who co-own this company. This might not win awards, but it should be around for weeks to come.

What comes next: Kid's films tend to hold on longer than most releases, so this has a shot at approaching $100 million. Sequel, anyone?

4. Frozen (Buena Vista) Week 10; Last weekend #5

$9,035,000  (-23%) in 2,757 theaters (-222); PSA: $3,277; Cumulative: $347,816,000

Incredibly, this rose higher once again, with a minor drop, more impressive with this following a holiday weekend. Now over $800 million worldwide with a few territories still to open, this already massive hit is quickly heading to near the best of 2013 releases.

What comes next: This now looks likely to top Universal's "Despicable Me 2" as the top domestic animated release to go along with its expected Oscar.

5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Paramount) Week 2 - Last weekend #4

$8,800,000 (-43%) in 3,387 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,598; Cumulative: $30,168,000

The drop isn't catastrophic, but this remains an underperforming series reboot (unlike star Chris Pine's "Star Trek" films).

What comes next: This will need much strong foreign results to make back its reasonable ($60 million) production cost.

6. I, Frankenstein (Lionsgate) NEW - Cinemascore: B; Criticwire: D+; Metacritic: 27

$8,275,000 in 2,753 theaters; PSA: $3,006; Cumulative: $8,275,000

Another weekend, another underachieving horror film. But this marks a more expensive ($65 million) failure than the recent "Paranormal Activity" sequel and "Devil's Due" (at least before its international take). And for Lionsgate, flush from the ongoing success of "Catching Fire," this marks their third straight underachiever (Tyler Perry's recent "Madea," "Legend of Hercules" and now this). Fortunately for them, all were independently produced, minimizing their risk. "I, Frankenstein" came from Lakeshore (recently successful with the "Underworld" films) and the recently formed Australian Hopscotch company (also involved with "Saving Mr. Banks"). Based on a graphic novel update of the classic horror character, the movie starred Aaron Eckhart (recently successful with "Olympus Has Fallen," he has fanboy cred from his role in "The Dark Knight").

Director Stuart Beattie has a track record as a screenwriter -- the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, a "G.I. Joe" entry, "Collateral" among others--this is his second feature. Lionsgate reports that 60% of the audience was over 25, meaning younger audiences (increasingly wary not only of horror films but also perhaps 3-D efforts) showed less than expected interest.

What comes next: This will disappear quickly, but its impact could cause other producers to think twice about more expensive throwaway horror entries.


7. American Hustle (Sony) Week 7; Last weekend #6

$7,100,000 (-28%) in 2,304 theaters (+100); PSA: $3,082; Cumulative: $127,039,000

By far the biggest beneficiary from the Oscar nominations, now only $5-million short of David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" final domestic gross (including post-Jennifer Lawrence'sOscar  win) and with a long way to go. Only off 28%, this with audiences is on a roll at the right time even if the last two guilds didn't reward it.

What comes next: With five weeks to go before the Oscars, this film's best hope to remain in the race is likely Sony's success in keeping this front and center with the public while its main contenders settle for much smaller current grosses later in their runs.

8. August: Osage County (Weinstein) Week 5; Last weekend #8

$5,041,000 (-32%) in 2,411 theaters (+360); PSA: $2,091; Cumulative: $26,527,000

Adding theaters yet again, the gross kept at a respectable level despite the lesser Oscar nomination haul than hoped due to the appeal of its two lead actresses and continued strong commitment from the Weinstein Company. The PSA fell about 40%, a better hold than many of the other nominees, and otherwise a bit more impressive since it is playing wider than many of them.

What comes next: Word of mouth along with TWC marketing is keeping this afloat, but this still is struggling to have the impact originally hoped for.

9. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount) Week 5; Last weekend #9

$5,000,000 (-29%) in 1,804 theaters (-176); PSA: $2,772; Cumulative: $98,030,000

Another strong hold for Martin Scorsese's latest film, with international (mostly handled by other companies) now also grossing at similar levels.

What comes next: Though it is at the lower end of the top 10, this looks set for possible a further push (the Jonah Hill "Saturday Night Live" hosting last night with a DiCaprio appearance is part of that strategy).

10. Devil's Due (20th Century Fox) Week 2; Last weekend #7

$2,750,000 (-50%) in 2,554 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $1,081; Cumulative: $12,886,000

Falling fast after its weak opening, this low-budget horror film is already at the end of its run at most theaters.

What comes next: If it is going to break even, international will have to outperform its domestic haul.


This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, Box Office, American Hustle, Lone Survivor


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