This Bud’s for you!
Never before have four films registered eight figures on Friday. But that’s what happened on Friday with three new releases and one holdover. Leading the pack was Ted, the raunchy bromance comedy involving Marky Mark and a talking teddy bear that sounds a lot like Peter Griffin from Family Guy. On Friday, it brought in an estimated $20.7 million. It finished the weekend with an impressive $54.1 million. Such a total makes it the third highest R-rated opening ever, behind The Hangover Part II and Sex and the City. (Though it is #1 for a non-franchise R-rated comedy.)
With the success of Ted for Universal Pictures you can bet the suits at 20th Century Fox are kicking themselves for not letting MacFarlane mosey into their film division. While MacFarlane has succeeded in Fox’s TV division with his animated programs Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show, the live-action Ted sees the emergence of a creative force for studio features. But MacFarlane is only half of the money-making solution. The other half is Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg is an A-list talent in terms of what he’s been able to accomplish in front and behind the camera. He had his biggest year in 2010 when he appeared in three $100 million moneymakers (Date Night, The Other Guys, and The Fighter). This January’s Contraband, which he starred and produced, managed to gross $96 million (it was budgeted at $25 million). Not bad for a guy who used to drop his pants for Calvin Klein.
Speaking of dropping pants, this week’s second-place finisher was Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike. What’s that? You didn’t know it was a Soderbergh film. That’s okay, most of the target audience didn’t either. Ask them to describe the plot going into the theater and reactions of “Who cares? Bring on the beef!” For reals. Theaters around the United States became individual Cougartowns. The story is inspired by Channing Tatum’s stint as a male stripper before transitioning to film. Acting professionally since 2005, Tatum has had some growing pains along the way, but has really turned it up in recent years with a bit part as Pretty Boy Floyd in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies and a few box office successes, including 2010’s Dear John. But this year he’ll likely be the star of three consecutive $100 million hits, unless Magic Mike just takes a nosedive after its $39.1 million opening. When The Vow surprised the box office when it opened to $41.2 million – a million more than the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House – eyebrows started to raise. The Nicolas Sparks-esque romance would go on to gross $125 million. Tatum would follow that with 21 Jump Street. Playing opposite Jonah Hill, the platform allowed Tatum to show off his comedy chops, and most critics agreed positively to the actor’s meathead savant chuckle factor.
This year Tatum also showed up in Haywire, a film that no one saw, but the film (also by Steven Soderbergh) was awesome – come on, it had Michael Fassbender dressed to the nines as if he was doing a screen test to be that suave spy that likes martinis. Magic Mike has become Tatum’s biggest opener where he didn’t have to share top billing with the likes of Rachel McAdams and Jonah Hill.
In the span of one year, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh has delivered three films, each one appealing to a different genre. Only Contagion could be considered a “Hollywood” film, as the deadly virus thriller’s cast list read like a who’s-who of industry heavyweights. With Magic Mike, Warner Bros. made out like bandits having acquired the domestic rights to the film for only $7 million. Soderbergh may say he is “retiring” once he makes a few more pictures, including one about Liberace with Michael Douglas, but he may be getting out of the racket too soon as Magic Mike recorded the best weekend for a Soderbergh film. Yes, even more than the star-studded Ocean’s Twelve.
Brave took a big drop in its second weekend, losing nearly half of its audience. Considering it is a heroine-driven release, the only justification of the drop is that moms were in favor of having a “Ladies Night” jaunt to Magic Mike than see how well the ginger-haired princess performed with a bow and arrow. Pixar’s Midas Touch may be a little tarnished, but $130 million earned after two weekends isn’t the end of the world. Soon it will pass Cars 2 and Toy Story on the list to avoid labeling it one of the animation giant’s lowest-grossing films.
While it may have looked like Tyler Perry was down after his Good Deeds failed to reach $40 million domestic, he was far from out. His latest Madea comedy opened to $26.35 million, which is about the norm for his Perry-in-drag features. It did just enough to surpass the last Madea comedy, Madea’s Big Happy Family, but Madea Goes to Jail remains his biggest opening to date with $41 million.
Completing the top five was Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted. The third installment in the should-it-really-be-called-Madagascar-anymore franchise, is close to outperforming its predecessor and should surpass the first one. Keep an eye on its international numbers. With $400 million already, DreamWorks Animation has hopes that it will meet or succeed the $500 million grossed by Madagascar.
Dropping three places to finish in sixth place is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Losing 60% of its audience (to Ted most likely) sees it with a two-weekend total that less than $30 million. Ouch. It did a little more than a million better than Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom which, despite expanding to 854 locations, continues to have the best per-screen average of any film in the top ten. As it inches closer to the $20 million mark, it will likely leap over Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The presence of his Alien prequel and Snow White and the Huntsman near the bottom of the top ten show that audiences still love lush visuals.
It took a little more than two months but The Avengers has finally fallen out of the top ten. But earlier this week it became the third film to cross $600 million domestically, so I’m sure that no longer being relevant to top ten discussion doesn’t weigh heavily with the higher-ups at Disney. The $600 million figure helps the studio ignore the egg that People Like Us laid over the weekend. Despite playing at 2000 plus locations, it had to scrape by with a per-screen average of $2,095. Considering that its title is a total misnomer (I don’t know anyone like these people), it just shows that Alex Kurtzman can write drama as well as he can comic-book adaptations (Cowboys & Aliens). That is to say not very well.
On the arthouse front, both Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love and Your Sister’s Sister saw expansions. Allen’s Italy-set comedy raked in another $750k, with a healthy $26k per-screen average. YSS pocketed another $260k from 95 theaters. This weekend’s biggest indie release was Fox Searchlight’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Opening in four theaters, it scored an impressive $169k with an astounding $42k per-screen average.
Internationally, the big news is the performance of both The Amazing Spider-Man and Ice Age: Continental Drift. Spider-Man has grossed an estimated $50.2 million in 13 overseas markets in Asia. This includes $6.0 million in India, the biggest opening of all time for a Hollywood film. Yes, bigger than The Avengers and The Dark Knight.
As for Continental Drift, the fourth installment in the Ice Age franchise earned $78 million from its international opening weekend. It played on 9,505 screens in 34 markets where it was #1 everywhere. That doesn’t surprise me, as the last Ice Age would gross an ungodly amount of money ($690 million) overseas. Looks like this franchise is here to stay. Which is okay just as long as you support small films like Moonrise Kingdom.
Tags: 21 Jump Street, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Brave, Channing Tatum, Haywire, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Magic Mike, Mark Wahlberg, Moonrise Kingdom, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, To Rome With Love, weekend box office
Source: Box Office Mojo