BOX OFFICE: ‘Riddick’ Sees Through Dark Weekend

RiddickWhat is else is there to say about a weekend like this? With scarcely any legitimate releases, there’s little to no room for a fully defined Winners and Losers bracket. For that matter, the one film the opened this weekend might as well be seen as both. If we want to take stock of the weekend’s real winners, they’re the ones that only took in the smallest amounts this weekend. The Grandmaster continues to do Weinstein well, American audiences not privy to the truncation of the U.S. cut of the film fueling it to $5 million. Blue Jasmine remains the late standout of the summer, this weekend surging past Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona to become Woody Allen’s second biggest hit of the new century, behind more overt charmer Midnight in Paris

Edgar Wright’s The World’s End may sadly not even reach the total Blue Jasmine has long strived to reach, now at just $21.8 million. It’s still on pace to be Wright’s second biggest hit behind Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but the mediocre box office performance of all his films is more than a bit disheartening given their zest. American apocalypse comedy This Is the End, however, re-expanded this weekend to get to $99 million, no doubt with the $100 million mark in its sights as landmark goal.

[NOTE: I’m still not talking about Instructions Not Included because A) it doesn’t exist, and B) if we admit it does, we must also admit it’s doing better than Blue Jasmine, Fruitvale Station, Mud, The Place Beyond the Pines, and pretty much every film we value in terms of quality. I’d like to think we live in a better world than that. We don’t, but I’ll just sit here thinking that anyway.] And yeah, The Butler and We’re the Millers continue to play like gangbusters, but what else is new? It’s a dry slate, we’re all parched, but thirsty audiences will almost certainly be scrambling for a pint of blood at next weekend’s Insidious: Chapter 2. Till then, we’re trapped in the dark with…

Weekend Winner & Loser

RiddickRiddick rules an open slate

This was the only new option audiences had going into this weekend, so why would it not do well? Possibly because audiences just wouldn’t want to see it anyway, opting instead for the smaller films they missed out on. The film did well enough, its $18.7 million opening matching with its $38 million price tag, but this is not the hit that Vin Diesel or Universal set out to make. There’s also the detracting factor that the film looks a lot like Pitch Black, a film that already exists in roughly the best quality a film of its focus can hope to each. Why see something that’s just more of the same. Don’t we go to the movies for something different? [he pauses to recall Kick-Ass 2, The Smurfs 2, Red 2, Grown Ups 2, Despicable Me 2, etc.] I suppose not.

Box Office History

Don't feel so bad for him. A) He's got 'Silver Linings Playbook' & 'Place Beyond the Pines'. B) He's gorgeous.

Don’t feel so bad for him. A) He’s got ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ & ‘Place Beyond the Pines’. B) He’s gorgeous.

In case you needed a pick-me-up, more dismal box office results have come from this frame in past years. Just look at last year, when Bradley Cooper vehicle The Words opened to only $4.8 million, ending with just $11.5 million. That was the only new film released that weekend, yet it outwardly appeared just too dull for audiences to take an active interest. The prior year fared reasonably better, if only because the #1 film hit above $20 million. Contagion had the make and polish of a skin-crawling Hollywood thriller, the $22.4 million opening showing how many audiences really wanted to immerse themselves in a realistic portrayal of a viral pandemic, finishing up with $75.7 million. Sad that they couldn’t spare the time for Steven Soderbergh’s similarly polished, but far more rich thriller Side Effects.

The competitors of that weekend, however, did not fare nearly as well as the Soderbergh film did. Gavin O’Connor’s MMA fighting drama Warrior opened to just $5.2 million and ended at merely $13.7 million. It’s a regrettably low score for a film that totes two literally strong performances, both Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton oozing chaotic frustrations through their pores. They still could have done far worse. How, you ask? Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star: opened to $1.4 million. Ended at $2.5 million. For some reason they thought this film would be a significant hit. For the life of me, I have no clue why. You can do worse than Riddick. You can do MUCH worse.

Box Office Top 10 – September 6-8, 2013

Box Office Results via BoxOffice.com

1. Riddick (1st Weekend: $18.7 million)
2. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (4th Weekend: $8.9 million; Total: $91.9 million)
3. We’re the Millers (5th Weekend: $7.9 million; Total: $123.8 million)
4. Instructions Not Included ($8.1 million; Total: $20.3 million)
5. Planes (5th Weekend: $4.3 million; Total: $79.3 million)
6. One Direction: This Is Us (2nd Weekend: $4.1 million; Total: $24 million)
7. Elysium (5th Weekend: $3.1 million; Total: $85.1 million)
8. Blue Jasmine (7th Weekend: $2.7 million; Total: $25.4 million)
9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (5th Weekend: $2.5 million; Total: $59.8 million)

10. The World’s End (3rd Weekend: $2.3 million; Total: $21.8 million)

What did you see this weekend? Answer! We simply must know!

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