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Weekend Box Office: 'Expendables 2' is Lackluster, 'Sparkle' Shines UPDATED

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood August 19, 2012 at 1:07PM

It's the dog days of August. Four new openings aimed at three sets of audiences opened to varying results Friday. None rose above expectations. And the biggest one, Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables" sequel, came up short.
1
The Dark Knight Rises

Likely needing a bit more critical support than it got, and faced with competition from the opening of "ParaNorman," this will make an eventual at best modest return on its $25 million production expense.

This is Disney's second effort with director Peter Hedges, who came out of modest indie success "Pieces of April" to score with "Dan in Real Life," an early Steve Carrell-starring film similarly budgeted to "Odd," which went on to gross $68 million worldwide. This is his first film aimed at families, which can be a tricky transition.

For adult lead Jennifer Garner, this continues an eclectic career mix ("Valentine's Day," "The Kingdom," "Juno" among the more recent) that makes her difficult to pigeon-hole. Australian Joel Edgerton, still in career-upswing after "Animal Kingdom" propelled him into "Warrior" and "The Thing" and a major role in "The Great Gatsby," plays a much more domestic role than he has done so far.

What comes next: Word of mouth will determine the film's fate, and could alter Disney's willingness to take a chance with such unconventional projects.

8. Hope Springs (Sony) - Week 2

$9,100,000 (-38%) in 2,361 theaters (no change); PSA: $3,854; Cumulative: $35,051,000

The 38% second weekend decline is slightly better than how much "Julie and Julia" fell in its second summer weekend, which indicates decent audience response so far despite initial confusion on how comedic this film is. This is a case where position in the top ten might not be the best indication of success - an eventual gross of over $60 million still is within its possible range.

What comes next: Good enough to boost regular contender and recent winner Streep or the even more acclaimed Tommy Lee Jones into Oscar nomination contention? Performing below the totals of "Julie and Julia" and "The Devil Wears Prada" won't help, nor will Streep's recent win, but without at this (early) stage many contestants she remains in the running.

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (20th Century-Fox) - Week 3

$3,850,000 (-52%) in 2,737 theaters (-664); PSA: $1,407; Cumulative: $38,762,000

Down 52% while losing about 20% of its theaters and facing two newly-opened family films is not an unreasonable showing for this third "Wimpy Kid" entry.

What comes next: This looks like it will achieve around 90% of the total gross of last year's sequel, a quite respectable result, and encouraging the possibility that this won't be the last installment in the franchise.

10. Total Recall (Sony) - Week 3

$3,500,000 (-59%) in 2,434 theaters (-1,167); PSA: $1,438; Cumulative: $51,782,000

Considering the major theater loss, falling almost 60% from last week might qualify as a minor triumph. But since this already opened below hopes and fell a similar amount its second weekend, any relief from this would seem misdirected.

What comes next: This still has most of the rest of the world to open, but it's going to take a major rebound to justify the $125 million budget.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, The Dark Knight Rises, Hope Springs


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