“I’ve been thinking about it. I put together some numbers and it’s not impossible…”
–Jared Leto (Requiem For A Dream)

 April 30th, 2012

When you know shit’s about to go down, you always get a heightened awareness of the stillness that surrounds you, hence, “the calm before the storm.” In terms of the box office, such a calmness means fewer tickets bought and fewer dollars made. That was definitely the case this last weekend because baby, we know some shit’s about to go down. In the ultimate frame before The Avengers assembles all over America’s ass, the looming presence of the possibly record-breaking opening was definitely felt as a few weak new entries and some returning hits carved up what there was of the date-night market and left the rest out to dry. Meanwhile the distant thunder of the superhero crew making serious coin overseas lightly reverberates through the humid air.

And hell, half the new releases didn’t make it into the Top 5, and even the ones that did are so close to each other that they might all change positions tomorrow when the numbers solidify.

1. Think Like A Man ($18 million)

[Total: $61 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: $12m]

While I managed to sneak a rider in the contract so that it had to be double-featured with Cabin In The Woods, I was compelled by unstoppable forces to see this flick over the weekend. Turns out I was inadvertently contributing to its 50% hold that allowed it to easily hold off each and every new release and take its total north of $60m. And while last week I posited that this win and the subsequent efforts to replicate it may be a net positive good for society in a fucked up, conglomerates-pandering-to-all-races-equally kind of way, I’m sad to say it’s just as trite and lame as you’d suspect. It’s also even more of a vanity project for Steve Harvey than I expected, even if it does brilliantly use his book as an excuse to cram four rom-coms worth of trite bullshit into a single concentrated, aspirational paste. It may fold up a little too quickly to make it past $100m, but if it levels out and makes some superhero spillover at the same time, it could happen.


2. Pirates! Band of Misfits ($11.5 million)

[Total: $11.5 million | Worldwide: $75m | Budget: $55m]

These Aardman flicks — be they digitized or legitimately stopmo — just can’t get past the European quirk enough to catch on in the states. This is among the worst of the openings for such a film over here, but if you’ll point your unpatched peeper towards that worldwide total, you’ll see that the story for this film isn’t a sad one at all. The booty just ain’t in the states anymore folks…


3. The Lucky One ($11.5 million)

[Total: $40 million | Worldwide: $44m | Budget: N/A]

I’m resisting simply writing “[fart noise]” and moving on, but overall the pace for this thing is good, and it ended up holding decently enough considering the date night options were more fragmented than an Android OS release chart. Good for Efron, nice for the Sparks brand.

Alright, now I’m done.

[wet fart noise]


4. The Hunger Games ($11 million)

[Total: $372.5 million | Worldwide: $601m | Budget: $78m]

I would suspect the IMAX re-release (which robbed me of my chance to see Titanic in IMAX forever!) helped keep the Hunger Games drop below 25%. It won’t take more than a weekend and change for it to finally beat Deathly Hallows: Part II‘s domestic total, though that monolithic film scoffs at the mere $600m worldwide purse Katniss has amassed, as she would be lucky to grow further and match even half of the final Potter’s $1.3 billion global tally.


5. The Five-Year Engagement ($11 million)

[Total: $11 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: $30m]

This is a pretty thudding failure that is hard to reconcile with what — on paper — would seem like at least a surefire modest hit. Segel is a proven harmless lead between Sarah Marshall, The Muppets, and his network TV success, but it just didn’t catch on here. And as easy as it is to cram it into the Bridesmaids box (hot!) and try and slide it out that way, it didn’t fool anyone. Least of all me, as I actively chose Think Like A Man over this bland-looking sea of translucent faces with problems that don’t even knock on the gate of the compound “compelling” happens to live on. At least there’s a sort useful, real-world pragmatism to the cliches of Think, whereas this just looked like The Muppets with no Muppets, which leaves you with “The….”

Who’s paying $10 for that?


The Rest…

Lest you think of The Avengers purely as an awesome, rip-roarin’ American time at the movies — and it is fucking awesome — note that a large portion of the world has already seen it, flipped for it, and made plans to see it again. The flick took home $170m worldwide this last weekend, and that’s leaving out some major overseas markets and a portion of the screens it might otherwise have had if Battleship wasn’t around. Considering Iron Man 2 is Marvel’s internationally top-grossing film with a bit over $300m, The Avengers will definitely be Marvel’s strongest worldwide showing. So now the question is where between half-a-billion and all-a-billion the film will end up landing, out across all those ponds…

That “SUCCESS!” puts into perspective the “success” Battleship has been enjoying overseas… While approaching $200m internationally isn’t by any means a bad thing, it folded awful quick under Avengers pressure. Perhaps the costly blockbuster’s surely soft domestic run will seem almost like an afterthought because of its front-loaded success, but if the budget really was anything even close to the rumored $250m, then it’s still going to be a pretty spectacular failure for Hasbro and co. The flip-flopped release maybe softened the PR blow, but when you start tacking on P&A, international marketing, carved up distribution deals, theater splits… it’s going to have to do much better than it’s going to do in the States to make Universal any dimes.

Oh, and I suppose it’s worth noting that that the edgier new releases in the states — The Raven and Jason Statham’s Safe — both made between $7m and $8m and didn’t even squeak into the crammed top 5. That’s an abnormally low total for Statham, but did anyone expect anything better from The Raven?

By the way- Cabin In The Woods enjoyed one more weekend in the top 10, with just under $5m added to its tidy little sum.


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Numbers (rounded off to nearest .5m) via BoxOfficeMojo