Box Office: Hansel And Gretel Make A Killing During Slow Weekend

Inspecting the document, Hansel & Gretel would later learn that it doesn’t include the map to One-Eyed Willy’s treasure.

What’s with the fairy tale and fable kick all of sudden? Just because Alice in Wonderland makes a billion worldwide means that we should have multiple Snow White movies and a retelling of a classic Brothers Grimm tale. Granted, the Snow White films performed well enough, but the law of diminishing returns is sure to rear its ugly head if studios jump on the fairy tale bandwagon. I call it the “Gladiator Effect.” Remember all those swords and sandals epics that were greenlit after the success of Ridley Scott’s film? We got Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy, which did much better overseas. But we also got Oliver Stone venturing into unfamiliar territory with Alexander. Remember what Arnold Schwarzenegger had as his catchphrase in Last Action Hero – “Big Mistake!” That said, over the weekend we got the R-rated Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. I’m betting that it’s first place success with $19 million in tickets sold wasn’t the result of the fable aspect; it had to do with its horror-comedy overtones. But it’s the end of January and this was Paramount unloading it after moving it around the schedule during 2012. Don’t expect this one to have any legs beyond the weekend. It will be lucky to recoup its costs, with a moderate $50 million budget. Not even 3D surcharges could push it above $20 million. Internationally it will do much better. It’s already at $35 million and climbing.

After seeing Jeremy Renner morph from the protag of National Lampoon’s Senior Week to be an actor-turned-action figure, you have to wonder if he’s ready to be a prime-time player. With appearances in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and The Avengers, he got his first crack at the big time headlining The Bourne Legacy, a serious dropoff of the previous three featuring Matt Damon. Still, overseas gross and inflation insured that it be as steady an earner as the rest of the series.

Mama took the expected horror drop in its second week. The genre is always frontloaded, and after the MLK holiday the audience was pretty much tapped out. It will still be a modest hit for Universal. Currently it is at $48.6 million versus a $15 million budget. For now, Mama is the biggest release of 2013! Hopefully, Disney isn’t freaking out. Oh, who am I kidding. Iron Man 3 will make that much opening day – easy.

Anyone out there who hasn’t seen Silver Linings Playbook, well now is your chase. It took 10 weeks before The Weinstein Company would loosen the reigns, but now the offbeat romantic comedy is easily accessible in mainstream theaters. Adding 118 more locations to make it 2,641, Playbook would have the lowest percentage drop of any current non-new release in the top ten. It did just enough business to pass Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Both films are Oscar contenders and they should make a gallant effort to get to that celebrated $100 million earner’s mark.

Debuting in the fifth spot is Parker, the latest from action star Jason Statham. Funny, that amount was $800,000 better than last week’s The Last Stand (aka Schwarzenegger’s comeback vehicle). What does this say about Jason Statham? It likely means he has his die-hard fans but he can’t obtain a bigger fanbase say like someone like Bruce Willis, who has managed to survive being an action icon and thrive at the box office. Sure, he had a few films that got the DTV treatment and appeared in some that he’d like to best forget, but the man is consistent. Hell, both him and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will look to revive the stagnating G.I. Joe property with the sequel this March.

Not helping Statham’s cause was the fact that Parker was a poorly designed release. The single-named character is a favorite of pulp fiction buffs who enjoy the written works of Richard Stark. Fans of the novels (there’s 24 of them) probably wouldn’t recognize this as an adaptation of the novel Flashfire save for the acknowledgement that the antihero was named Parker. Face it, there’s a serious problem when filmmakers try to make tweaks to famous literary characters to make it into something else entirely. Robert Rodriguez did it the right way with Sin City. Plus John Travolta was instrumental in keeping some of the best Elmore Leonard dialogue from the Get Shorty novel in the movie.

I feel that everyone who paid to see Movie 43 were secretly being punked. To be honest, when I first heard about the project I was a little excited. The Kentucky Fried Movie has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, dating back to my youth when I had no idea about the history of titling a spoof trailer called “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble.” It may the biggest cast ever assembled for a spoof movie that involves different vignettes and a wraparound narrative as a way to tie it all together. Even without the guidance of the wraparound it is still a shitty movie with a bunch of comedy sketches that lack laughs. Seriously, this is the equivalent to taking a cinematic dump on the masses. Those who paid to see this and enjoyed it, well, hopefully you are infertile.

Christmas releases Django Unchained and Les Miserables are making their way down the top ten and out of theaters. No word on when we can expect Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western on home video, but it would probably be in bad taste for Sony Pictures and The Weinstein Company to release it during Juneteenth. Both films are worldwide hits. DU is Tarantino’s biggest moneymaker all time and the hit musical has overseas numbers topping out above $175 million to bring its total to $313 million. Now that’s worth singing about. As for Broken City, the Mark Wahlberg-Russell Crowe conspiracy thriller continues to be a dud and should be a Redbox rental in a few months.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for January 25 – January 27, 2013

1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) – $19 MILLION

2. Mama (Universal) – $12.8 MILLION ($48.6m cume)

3. Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company) – $10 MILLION ($69.5m cume)

4. Zero Dark Thirty (Sony Pictures) – $9.8 MILLION ($69.9m cume)

5. Parker (Film District) – $7 MILLION

6. Django Unchained (The Weinstein Company) – $5.005 MILLION ($149.3m cume)

7. Movie 43 (Relativity Media) – $5 MILLION

8. Gangster Squad (Warner Bros.) – $4.2 MILLION ($39.6m cume)

9. Broken City (Fox) – $4 MILLION ($15.2m cume)

10. Les Miserables (Universal) – $3.9 MILLION ($137.2m cume)

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