It took five weeks, but box offices are beginning to get full on Katniss Everdeen as The Hunger Games fell to third place this weekend. Taking the top spot was Think Like a Man with a big bank of $33 million in estimated domestic gross. Director Tim Story showed that he could overcome disappointing fans of the Fantastic Four franchise and get back to making good films that African-American audiences (though let’s remember, not exclusively) can be excited about like his debut film, Barbershop. It’s good to know that black audiences don’t always have to wait for Tyler Perry to make or produce a film even though it seemed like that was the case for many years. Believe me that’s a good thing because Perry doesn’t always make good films. Think Like a Man opened bigger than any Tyler Perry film with the exception of Madea Goes to Jail and it featured many veteran television and screen actors who are still fresh on the eyes like Michael Ealy (Common Law), Kevin Hart (Barbershop), Jerry Ferrara (Entourage), Meagan Good (Californication), Regina Hall (Law & Order: LA) and Romany Malco (Unsupervised). But to say that Think Like a Man is just a black film would undermine its quality, it’s simply a good film with a great ensemble performance.
But not to be outdone was The Lucky One, which made the Nicholas Sparks brand of films proud by placing second with $22.8 million. It was the second biggest opening for a film based on one of Sparks’ novels and this is the fourth that was produced by Warner Bros. whose last Sparks film was the 2002 film, A Walk to Remember. Can it do as well as The Notebook and Message in a Bottle? That would be a tall order but it will provide an alternative to a little film called The Avengers coming out in two weeks. One more week until the summer film season officially kicks off, any one of these top three film would be happy to add to their gross before the fanboy tidal wave hits the shore.
Dropping accordingly were the remaining films that finished in last week’s top five including The Three Stooges (fifth, $9.2 Million) which will amazingly turn a profit when it completes it run, horror hate letter The Cabin in the Woods (sixth, $7.75 million), American Reunion (seventh, $5.2 million), and Titanic 3D (eighth, $5 million). Theaters gave Lockout another week but the nod to 80′s action films fell flat again, dropping to 12th and barely clearing the $3 million mark.
In the dollar and cents department, 21 Jump Street is tracking down like all good comedies, dropping just below -30% and has turned a huge profit from its $42 million budget. It fell just one spot to ninth with $4.6 million and a total domestic gross at $127 million after six weeks. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is on its way down, but is about to hit the second-run theaters already made $207 million in eight weeks. It could be another month before it’s officially out of theaters but will probably make over $225 million. Not everything can make money and both Mirror Mirror (10th, $4.1 million) and Wrath of the Titans (11th, $3.8 million) are slow to recoup any of their bloated production budgets ($85 million and $150 million respectively) and will be two of the biggest money losers on a domestic level but foreign box offices have put both films well in the green as Mirror has made $119 million and Wrath has brought in $278 million worldwide. Even John Carter made back its production budget with a worldwide gross of $269 million.
In indie news, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen hung tough falling just -24.6% off its previous week and dipped to 14th. The film’s modest box office draw is not indicative of its enjoyable experience. It’s a classic Lasse Hallstrom film (Chocolat, Cider House Rules) and even though it was never going to challenge for the top spot, it is a film that leaves everyone happy. I am surprised at how little overall it’s done, but the title was a hurdle every viewer has to get past. After surprising some in a slow week, The Raid: Redemption fell off -50% from last week to 16th place; losing 333 theaters was a big part of that.
Two documentaries of note, Bully and Marley did moderately well finishing 15th and 17th respectively. Bully fell off last week’s pace by just -5.7% even though it added another 105 locations. Call-to-action documentaries are a tough sell, but hopefully it continues to do decently in the art houses to give Lee Hirsch and the victims of bullying some ammunition as they hope to try and get the film mandated in school systems and communities nationally. I’ll be honest though and say that theaters were hoping it would do better. I would love to see the film get into the multiplexes across the country because it’s a film that needs to get out into the smaller towns populated by conservative communities as much as it does to the metropolitan areas. In fact, it may be even more important because change does not happen in these communities easily.
The Bob Marley doc did very well, opening in just 42 theaters and cashing in an average of $6,190 per theater. I’m not sure how wide a release Marley will get, but it is also available through video on demand (VOD) if you check your local streaming and cable services. That may be another option for the documentaries and indies to reach audiences where it normally would not but I don’t have the numbers to show what kind of impact. If these films don’t reach your multiplex or there’s not an art house near you, it comes down to figuring out what On Demand sources get each film. Neither doc was available on Amazon, but Marley was on iTunes and my Time Warner Cable’s On Demand menu. It’s how I watched Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope which opened to just 4 theaters on the weekend of April 6 and left theaters but I imagine it’s reaching more people through alternate avenues. I can say this about Marley, there is a warmth in hearing Bob Marley’s music, an emotional connection with the film that’s made in a theater and a home theater that I am still unconvinced you get that experience through a smart phone but times are a changing.
Here is the list of the top 20 films in Weekend #9 of 2012 according to Box Office Mojo and their actual box office numbers.
1 Think Like a Man (Screen Gems) $33,000,000
2 The Lucky One (Warner Bros) $22,805,000
3 The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) $14,500,00
4 Titanic 3D (Paramount) $10,205,000
5 The Three Stooges (Fox) $9,200,000
6 The Cabin in the Woods (Lionsgate) $7,750,000
7 American Reunion (Universal) $5,200,000
8 Titanic 3D (Paramount) $5,000,000
9 21 Jump Street (Sony) $4,600,000
10 Mirror Mirror (Relativity) $4,114,000
11 Wrath of the Titans (Warner Bros.) $3,825,000
12 Lockout (Film District) $3,094,000
13 Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (Universal) $1,702,000
14 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (CBS) $670,000
15 Bully (The Weinstein Co.) $505,000
16 The Raid: Redemption (Sony Pictures Classic) $481,000
17 Marley (Magnolia) $260,000
18 October Baby (Samuel Goldwyn) $243,000
19 Safe House (Universal) $227,300
20 This Means War (Fox) $210,000