Box Office: Evil Dead Scares Off G.I. Joe and The Croods To Take Weekend


Evil Dead star Jane Levy trying to avoid The Host at all costs.

Here we are once again. The story isn’t that a horror movie opened in first place. The story is a Sam Raimi-produced remake of his film The Evil Dead would outgross the original trilogy (in terms of box office receipts) in a single weekend. The success of Evil Dead continues the trend of having horror remakes be frontloaded only to fall steadily in the coming weeks.

While ED may not have had huge openings a la the Platinum Dunes remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, I wouldn’t expect it to drop as sharply in its second weekend. You have to figure that Evil Dead doesn’t carry the same cache that those movies had – namely, they were franchises with recognizable slasher icons (including one that became a pop culture oddity of the late ’80s and early ’90s).

So what happens next? At the world premiere at this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, ED director Fede Alvarez let it be known that he was currently working on a script for the sequel. I’ve heard and read other “what if they did this”-type of scenarios, one of which included having the sequel set inside a church with sexy teenagers (to which I added “what about sexy nuns?”). One thing is for certain. Evil Dead and its eventual sequel(s) won’t have nearly as many incarnations on home video. Seriously. I’ve lost count of the total number of versions of Sam Raimi’s original trilogy that are circulating on VHS, DVD, and now Blu-ray.

Until the box office actuals come out, we’ll assume that second place is a photo finish with the edge going to bunch of action figures.

Taking it on the chin and falling to second place was G.I. Joe Retaliation. Losing nearly 50% of its first week audience, the Rise of Cobra sequel had a modest second weekend. It’s still one of those disposable blockbuster sequels that is likely to be a steady performer until we arrive at the summer blockbuster season. It will eclipse $100 million by next weekend, and its international numbers should match the worldwide total of the first film. This is great for MGM, who is handling distribution overseas, while Paramount has settle for domestic earnings. With a third film already promised, surely Paramount would want to deliver a sequel where it gets a better reception in the States. Such a sad state that these “real American heroes” are lionized more overseas than in the USA.

The Croods registered the best performer in terms of maintaining viewership from one week to the next. As the best option for kids currently, it only lost about a quarter of its audience from last week. And it’s already doing killer business overseas. International numbers account for more than 60% of the total earnings thus far. Finally, Nicolas Cage has a box office hit, and it didn’t involve him wearing a hairpiece or pantyhose on his head. Granted, most of the target audience probably has no clue who Nicolas Cage is (unless they saw G-Force and remember him as the voice of Speckles), and that’s okay. A win for Cage is a win for mankind. So now levy your best movie pitches at Nic Cage. He’ll take anything. Don’t believe me?

Jurassic Park‘s conversion to 3D may not have eclipsed the numbers that went with last year’s Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace and Titanic, it seems to be standard practice these days to put $10-$15 million aside for converting those films with great excitement and peril and watch as the money rolls in from overseas markets. Plus, by putting the film in the theater for a weekend or two (before it comes out to the Blu-ray Disc 3D format), Universal is pushing the Jurassic Park brand just enough to make audiences cognizant of a Jurassic Park IV arriving in 2014.

Tyler Perry’s movies usually perform like horror movies, in that they fall flat in the second weekend, but Tyler Perry’s Temptation continues to play to its core audience, and it should cross $40 million by mid-week and over $50 million by the end of next weekend. His movies may be reviled by a majority of critics, but no other director is as consistent in terms of success. Small budgets and a key fanbase is apparently the key to success. It did just enough to stay above the better Die Hard sequel this season, Olympus Has Fallen. FilmDistrict is a small entity who hasn’t had much success in terms of box office profit, but the word of mouth seems to better with this Gerard Butler actioneer. Sitting at $71 million after three weeks, it’s not outside the realm of possibly that it crosses $90 million domestic before it exits theaters with just enough time for audiences to forget when they pay to see it again with the release of White House Down in June.

Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful continues to be this year’s biggest film with $212 million in earnings. That number is likely to fall sometime in May. The question is which May blockbuster is going to be the first to pass it. Worldwide The Wizard of Oz prequel has a hefty $455 million. For any other studio that would be reason to cheer, but not at the Mouse House. Investing close to $330 million on film, plus p&a costs hardly quantifies this as a blockbuster.

Looks like Open Road backed the wrong horse when it decided to distribute Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. The distributor that gave us such gems as The Grey and End of Watch looked to target the YA market only to fail. It just goes to show you that just because Twilight was such a worldwide phenomenon, doesn’t mean that audiences will go see anything and everything starring the cast (Pattinson, Stewart, Lautner) or written by Meyer. Hell, Warm Bodies was more appetizing, and that featured a zombie falling in love with a human.

The Call represents the best performer by WWE Films (yes, the wrestling…I mean sports entertainment giant has a film studio) with nearly $50 million, while Admission is one of those misfires on the part of Tina Fey. Having watched it today, I can only wonder how much better it would have been if Fey had written the screenplay. I also had the same thoughts when I saw Baby Mama and Date Night. And poor Paul Rudd. With this and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I’m going to have a hard time playing anything other than an educator.

In smaller release, The Place Beyond the Pines had small expansion going from 4 to 30 theaters to collect $695k. The musical comedy The Sapphires expanded to 60 locations and earned $322k. Making their debuts we had Danny Boyle’s Trance with $136,000 from NY and LA, while Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep took $146k with a $29k average. And in just one theater so far in New York City, Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color grossed $31,500 from numerous sold out shows.

Upcoming we have 42 and Scary Movie 5. Baseball films normally don’t normally open to huge numbers, unless you count the comedy The Benchwarmers, which made $19.6 million its opening weekend in 2006. That same year Scary Movie 4 opened to $40 million its opening weekend. Methinks the fifth installment won’t make nearly as much. Maybe mid-to-high $20s. We will see.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for April 5 – April 7, 2013

1. Evil Dead (Sony) – $26 MILLION

2. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Paramount) – $21.1 MILLION ($86.6m cume)

3. The Croods (Fox/DreamWorkds) – $21.1 MILLION ($125.8m cume)

4. Jurassic Park 3D (Universal) – $18.2 MILLION

5. Olympus Has Fallen (FilmDistrict) – $10 MILLION ($71.1m cume)

6. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (Lionsgate) – $10 MILLION ($38.3m cume)

7. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) – $8.1 MILLION ($212.7m cume)

8. The Host (Open Road) – $5.2 MILLION ($19.6m cume)

9. The Call (Sony Pictures) – $3.5 MILLION ($45.4m cume)

10. Admission (Focus Features) – $2 MILLION ($15.3m cume)

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