Box-office bombs litter the weekend

24 March, 2014 by Don Groves

It’s every exhibitor’s worst nightmare: Four mainstream films open on the same weekend, three are instant flops and the other is just OK.

Except on this occasion there were no surprises as Ride Along, Pompeii, Cuban Fury and I, Frankenstein all arrived with minimal expectations, at least from exhibitors if not the distributors.

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Ride Along has raked in $US133 million in the US, drawing a sizable African-American audience, but buddy-cop comedies rarely replicate that  level of success internationally, including Australia, with a few exceptions such as the Rush Hour, Bad Boys and Beverly Hills Cop franchises.

The caper starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube as an Atlanta detective and his pal, a high school security guard and wannabe cop who get mixed up in a deadly arms deal, took $926,000 on 145 screens, according to Rentrak's weekend estimates.

Big-budget disaster movie Pompeii was a debacle in the US last month, performing way below director Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil movies. The CGI actioner, which features Game of Throne’s Kit Harrington as a gladiator/slave, Emily Browning as his love interest and Kiefer Sutherland as an evil Roman Senator, fetched a measly $634,000 on 175 screens, $650,000 with previews.

Cuban Fury stars Nick Frost as a nerdy schlump who brushes up on his boyhood skills as a salsa dancer to try to win over his American boss (Parks and Recreation's Rashida Jones) in a contest with his obnoxious colleague (Chris O’Dowd). That concept didn’t grab moviegoers, reflected in the $314,000 debut on 182 screens, $391,000 with sneaks.

Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein has been pilloried by the critics (77 rotten reviews versus 3 fresh, according to Rotten Tomatoes) and ignored by audiences in the US. So Entertainment One (formerly Hopscotch eOne) went into damage control by limiting the release to 64 screens, where it scraped up $183,000.

Well at least it had a positive economic impact in Melbourne, where Minister for Innovation Louise Asher said the film spent more than $35.5 million in pre-production, filming and post-production and it employed 1,176 Victorians, including more than 400 extras.

“That was one of the most disappointing set of openings I’ve ever seen,” one veteran film industry executive mused today.

It was one of the worst weekends of the year, with only two titles surpassing $1 million. In light of the weak competition, George Clooney's The Monuments Men easily retained top spot despite falling by 26% to $1.7 million in its second weekend, bringing its total to $5.06 million.

Fox ran previews of DreamWorks Animation's Mr Peabody & Sherman, which did about $1.1 million. The distributor did not report a figure and presumably will add that to the opening tally next Monday.

Action-adventure Need for Speed is running out of gas, dropping by 37% to $958,000, scoring a mediocre $2.9 million in 11 days.

John Curran’s Tracks collected $203,000 in its third weekend (down 36%), and $1.8 million thus far. The film looks like winding up with about $2.5 million, below expectations given the mostly positive reviews, Mia Wasikowska's impressive performance and extensive publicity campaign.

In the art-house sector, Haifaa al-Mansour's Wadjda, the first film from a female director from Saudi Arabia, shot entirely in the kingdom, opened with a modest $94,000 at 23 screens.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE March 20-23

 

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

The Monuments Men

2/329

$1,714,813

-26

$5,061,401

2

Need for Speed

2/320

958,512

-37

2,903,652

3

Ride Along

1/145

926,637

NA

933,231

4

300: Rise of an Empire

3/430

916,017

-42

 7,408,145

5

Pompeii

1/175

634,461

NA

650,884

6

Non-Stop

4/175

 395,635

-39

5,122,183

7

Cuban Fury

1/182

313,762

NA

390,607

8

12 Years a Slave   

8/164

236,114

-38

7,105,439

9

The Wolf of Wall Street

9/70

224,684

-32

22,929,995

10

Vampire Academy

3/162

214,951

-46

1,646,703

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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