The expected May blockbusters can't come quickly enough. Yesterday's top 10 grosses, including two underperforming new releases with prominent stars, had the smallest total since early February. At $23 million, this marked not only a sharp drop from last week's $29 million, but last year's $28 million, as the slump of 2013 continues.
Michael Bay's $26 million "little movie" "Pain & Gain" (Paramount), starring proven draws Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, limped into the top spot at around $7.5 million, but only because Tom Cruise's "Oblivion" fell around 60% from its opening day to come in second at a bit over $5 million. The latter should rebound a bit, with a small chance it might end up competing for the top weekend spot when all weekend grosses are tallied.
Even worse, managing only fourth place was Lionsgate's older audience-oriented but badly reviewed "The Big Wedding," headlined by veterans Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams among others at $2.5 million. They were lucky to rank that high with such a low gross.
Among other holdovers, Warner Bros.' "42" (#3, $3 million) and Fox/Dreamwork's "The Croods" (#5, $1.5 million) held well, both still showing longer term strength. The rest of the top 10 - "Scary Movie 6," "G.I. Joe: Retribution," "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Olympus Has Fallen" and "Jurassic Park 3D" - each grossed around $2 million or under for the day, with all likely ending up with weekend totals that in a few weeks would place them outside the top 10.
The industry has to hope the delayed availability of online advance sales for "Iron Man 3" -- with the two biggest circuits just now putting them up -- caused some ticket buyers to think ahead rather than rush to theaters this weekend. May could be make or break for theaters and studios for this year with its plethora of likely hits. Few of the films on screen now are likely to stick around with the stronger upcoming competition.