Box Office: Screw The Critics As A Good Day To Die Hard #1, Safe Haven #3, And Beautiful Creatures Is Ugly


Easily the best special effect in A Good Day to Die Hard.

A Good Day to Die Hard may have received a critical drubbing but it, along with the Nicholas Sparks weepy Safe Haven, were punching and crying it out for the number one spot this Valentine’s Day weekend at the box office. While Haven took charge with its Feb. 14th opening, John McClane went into Energizer Bunny mode as he was able to outlast the competition to finish in first place.

The fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise finished the three-day weekend with $25 million, while the latest Sparks adaptation landed in the third spot with $21.4 million. Sandwiched in between them is last weekend’s #1 film, Identity Thief, with $23.4 million. If the top three is any indication it was really a weekend where moviegoers gave the middle finger to critics and went to the movies regardless.

If you are one of those moviewatchers that can see the forest from the trees and wonder why studios continue to offer crap instead of taking risks, well this is the end result. Last year, Disney gave us a space opera in John Carter, a film that critics seemed to malign more for its total cost instead of its technical acumen. Going by Rotten Tomatoes that film had an overall rating of 51% – two points lower than the combined scores of the weekend’s top three.

The only other new film in the top 10 that had a good weekend was The Weinstein Company’s animated release Escape from Planet Earth. Parents looking for cheap entertainment went to an animated flick that could very well have the worst advertising campaign I’ve seen so far this year. Seriously. The trailer for the movie is horendous. Yet here again is a film that also defied critical reactions.

Escape scored a solid $16.1 million at the box-office. Warner Bros. dropped Beautiful Creatures into theaters hoping to get a piggyback on the YA success of the Twilight franchise. Based on the best-selling series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, WB was clearly hoping for a franchise, but it seems this one will fall in the one-and-done camp like the studio’s The Golden Compass (under the New Line Cinema brand) several years ago. Any hope for a sequel are nil after it registered a dismal $7.5 million on opening weekend. Oh well, at least Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson got paid, right?

It’s interesting to see that the latest Die Hard is just skating by because it is an established franchise while Beautiful Creatures has a literary fanbase but all readers of books aren’t cinephiles. I guess Bruce Willis has more appeal than his cinematic counterpart from Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Jeremy Irons. Willis, seemingly the last action icon to never have his movies go direct to DVD, 2012 saw a few go that route, but his fans didn’t seem to care. Now the AARP action star has got G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Red 2 upcoming. Looks like this “expendable” is playing the field by not needing to carry a film all by himself. Even in A Good Day to Die Hard he had Jai Courtney helping out with some of the heavy lifting. Still, the two McClanes couldn’t mask the the bad CGI effects. It was to a degree where we could spot Willis’ stunt double. What is this, Spaceballs?

The biggest winner of the weekend, from those that were non-new releases, would probably be Warm Bodies. After three weeks it is sitting at $50 million. It is also a YA release, but it was a self-contained novel, so it didn’t have any added pressure of having to perform well for franchise purposes. The lowest percentage drop in the top ten belonged to Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook. The Weinsteins gave it a slow roll-out before having it go wide. It lost some screens this weekend, but it should cross $100 million domestic by the end of Presidents’ Day. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is close to $50 million domestic (worldwide it is at $150 million and counting). Not bad for a movie that had none of the marketing of last year’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Venturing outside your neighborhood cineplex, in limited release Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet grossed $1.3 million in its sixth weekend. Sony Pictures Classics’ No pulled in $74.5k while the studio’s documentary The Gatekeepers pulled in $46.9k at four theaters.

On tap this weekend we have Snitch starring Dwayne Johnson and the Dimension Films release Dark Skies. So we have two films geared toward similar age groups. Neither should open to great numbers, which means one of the newcomers or holdovers may be able to claim the top spot.

What does everyone think? Sound off below.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for February 15 – February 17, 2013

1. A Good Day to Hard (Fox) – $25 MILLION ($33.2m cume)

2. Identity Thief (Universal) – $23.4 MILLION ($70.7m cume)

3. Safe Haven (Relativity Media) – $21.4 MILLION ($30.25m cume)

4. Escape from Planet Earth (The Weinstein Company) – $16 MILLION

5. Warm Bodies (Summit/Lionsgate) – $9 MILLION ($50.2m cume)

6. Beautiful Creatures (Warner Bros.) – $7.5 MILLION ($10.2m cume)

7. Side Effects (Open Road) – $6.3 MILLION ($19.1m cume)

8. Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company) – $6 MILLION ($98.4m cume)

9. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) – $3.47 MILLION ($49.7m cume)

10. Zero Dark Thirty (Sony Pictures) – $3.1 MILLION ($88m cume)

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