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Friday Box Office: Is It Time to Panic Yet?

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
February 2, 2013 4:25 PM
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'Warm Bodies'

Another post-holiday Friday, another dismal box office report. And with the Super Bowl upon us, the weekend is unlikely to get much better.

The top ten films yesterday grossed around $22 million, compared to $31 million last year (also opposite The Big Game). This continues a trend for recent weeks for Fridays to be significantly below their counterparts in 2012. What has salvaged the weekends somewhat have been improvements for the other two days, reflecting the older audience component that has been evident since October. But that is less likely this week.

What is continuing to happen is a clear drop in interest among teens and young adults in going to the movies at anything close to normal levels on Friday. A big date night, when many avid moviegoers want to be the first to see the big opening of the week has suffered the biggest drop as new films (now through five weeks) continue to underperform overall.

The #1 film for the night was Lionsgate's "Warm Bodies," a PG-13 zombie romance that has gotten some decent reviews to a decent $8.1 million total. But this figure was below what two new opening films -- "Chronicle" and "Woman in Black" -- grossed last year (both over $8 million). The top four films last year amassed what the whole top ten did yesterday.

The other new wide release -- veteran action director Walter Hill's first time ever with Sylvester Stallone, "Bullet to the Head" (Warner Bros.)  -- came in a dismal fifth. It could end up lower for the whole weekend, with a likely total gross under $5 million. Like its predecessors in failure ("The Last Stand," "Parker," "Gangster Squad") it feels like the deathknell domestically for male-star driven action stars in movies aimed at the international market.

The rest of the top ten is divided between two other young-audience driven genre films ("Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" and "Mama") which took normal drops of over 40% from last Friday, and Oscar-nominated films that held up quite well. The clear standout among these is "Silver Linings Playbook," which added more theaters this week and was up slightly for the day in third place and a possible run at second for the weekend before things are through. Meanwhile "Zero Dark Thirty," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables," and even "Lincoln" (looking like it will return to the top ten) held well despite losing a substantial number of theaters, all falling less than a third from last Friday.

Top 10 (grosses in millions)

1. "Warm Bodies" (Lionsgate) - $8.1

2. "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" (Paramount) - $2.9

3. "Silver Linings Playbook" (Weinstein) - $2.4

4. "Mama" (Universal) - $2.3

5. "A Bullet to the Head" (Warner Bros.) - $1.7

6. "Zero Dark Thirty" (Sony) - $1.6

7. "Parker" (Lionsgate) - $1.1

8. "Django Unchained" (Weinstein) - $.9

9. "Les Miserables" (Universal ) - $.7

10. "Lincoln" (Buena Vista) - $.6

Box Office
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  • Thomas Skogestad | February 3, 2013 5:38 AMReply

    Bullet in the Head is the name of a 1990 John Woo flick. (It's also the name of a Rage Against the Machine song.) Bullet *to* the Head is the Walter Hill/Sylvester Stallone movie.

    I don't think "A Bullet in the Head" (movie #5 on the chart) refers to anything.

  • Phil | February 2, 2013 7:32 PMReply

    Going to the movies is a crappy experience. Hurtful volume levels, people talking around me, commercials beforehand. I can wait to see it on Netflix or rent it. I go a couple times a year.

  • Diez | February 2, 2013 7:19 PMReply

    I watched or cringed, I should say, obnoxious trailers for absurdly violent "movies" before "Skyfall". After that we decided there was nothing worth seeing for a while though we would love to go to the movies each weekend, especially in winter. Make better movies and they will come.

  • Angry Moviegoer | February 2, 2013 5:38 PMReply

    Hollywood should make better movies.

    It's that simple. Why should anyone pay to watch a piece of crap movie like "bullet to the head"?

  • You are Right | February 2, 2013 6:21 PM

    Echoes the same thing I was going to comment. It's just an awkward time - not time to panic. Half the movies in the top ten have been out for weeks - months, even - and the ones that haven't don't look very good. If I were distributors, I would push for releases of the movies that get Sundance buzz sooner, but everything is more strategic and awards-based than I'm sure I'm able to understand. Mama has a 61% tomatometer and it was horrible.

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