With $28.75 million in opening revenue, "The Expendables 2" was the top box office draw of the weekend, easily outgunning "The Bourne Legacy" and "ParaNorman" in a fairly slow overall weekend for theaters across the country. "ParaNorman" had the second biggest opening with $14 million and both "Sparkle" and "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" put up so-so numbers in limited release. While the new releases struggled to find their target demographics, "The Dark Knight Rises" continued to hit with action audiences, finishing with at least $10 million for the fifth consecutive weekend as it closes in on $1 billion in worldwide revenue.
Following up the $34 million opening of "The Expendables" back in 2010, expectations were fairly high for the sequel this weekend, particularly with bigger roles for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis as well as new additions like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. But even with heavy marketing efforts and some new faces, "The Expendables 2" managed only $28.75 million in opening revenue on a per theater average of less than $9,000 - low numbers for a $100 million production.
Part of the reason that "The Expendables 2" struggled so much was the presence of "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Dark Knight Rises," which is something that the original "Expendables" didn't have to deal with when it launched a couple summers ago. "The Expendables 2" will have further competition over the next few weekends, making it a hard sell to action-seeking audiences in the U.S. moving forward.
But even if numbers in the U.S. aren't all that impressive, "The Expendables 2" should still sell plenty of tickets internationally. Thanks to the popular cast, the first "Expendables" racked up a solid $171 million in foreign revenue, and similar numbers are expected for "The Expendables 2." Look for "The Expendables 2" to hang around the top 10 in the U.S. for a few more weekends but to do most of its box office damage on foreign soil.
As "The Expendables 2" took aim at fans of classic action films this weekend, animated "ParaNorman" looked to find the lucrative family demographic. Boasting very positive critical reviews, "ParaNorman" had a leg-up on "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," though that only translated to a mediocre opening of $14 million. "ParaNorman" may be able to gain some momentum with positive word-of-mouth in the coming weeks, but a lack of major studio marketing and big names in its cast will make it hard on the Focus distribution throughout the rest of August.
With an overlapping target audience with "ParaNorman," "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" managed just $10.91 million on a per venue average of only $4,199. "Timothy Green" also doesn't have the strong critical support that "ParaNorman" has, which could scare off some family audiences in the coming weeks. Look for "Timothy Green" to see a steady slip over the next few weekends and to have a minimal overall impact at the box office.
Also posting somewhat meager opening weekend numbers was "Sparkle," a PG-13 music drama starring the late Whitney Houston. But even though $12 million is far from a huge opening, the production budget for "Sparkle" is only $14 million and it looks like it will end up a quiet success for distributor TriStar. Expect "Sparkle" to put up some decent numbers during the week but to see a major slip by the time next weekend rolls around.
As some of the new releases struggled to find audiences, "Total Recall" continued its emphatic drop and landed at the very bottom of the top 10 in just its third weekend in theaters. The $125 million production proved to be no competition for the plethora of other action titles, leading to another drop of more than 55% for distributor Sony/Columbia and a paltry 17-day total of only $51.78 million. "Total Recall" should drop well out of the top 10 by next weekend, making it easily one of the worst big-budget releases of the year.
Next weekend, action flick "Premium Rush" hits theaters with Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring, and thriller "The Apparition" also gets its wide release, though neither appears to be in position for a big weekend as we enter one of the slowest parts of the year at the box office. R-rated action-comedy "Hit & Run" is another title getting launched, but the Open Roads Films distribution should likewise have a hard time finding much of an audience.
Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 8/17/12 - 8/19/12 (in millions), [RTT Prediction]:
1. The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate): $28.75 [$41]
2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal): $17.02 [$19]
3. ParaNorman (Focus): $14 [$15.3]
4. The Campaign (Warner Brothers): $13.39 [$16]
5. Sparkle (TriStar): $12 [$10.2]
6. The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brother): $11.14 [$10]
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Disney): $10.91 [$10]
8. Hope Springs (Sony/Columbia): $9.10 [$8.8]
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Fox): $3.85 [$4.7]
10. Total Recall (Sony/Columbia): $3.50 [$3.8]
by RTT Staff Writer
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