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'Warm Bodies' Easily Tops Box Office As 'Bullet To The Head' Bombs


While new releases "Bullet to the Head" and "Stand Up Guys" completely misfired with their target audiences, teen-friendly zombie movie "Warm Bodies" rode positive critical reviews straight to the top of the charts, earning a solid $19.5 million and setting it up for a decent overall box office run. "Silver Linings Playbook" also continues to be a major hit with adult crowds thanks to a bevy of Oscar nominations, as director David O' Russell's latest landed in the top five for the third consecutive weekend and broke past $100 million worldwide. Steven Spielberg's latest Oscar contender "Lincoln" also made a reappearance in the top 10, pushing its domestic total to a spectacular $170 million with several weeks left in its Oscar campaign.

Looking to appeal to the same target audience that made "Twilight" nothing short of a phenomenon, distributor Summit's "Warm Bodies" hit more than 3,000 venues this weekend with hopes of making a connection with teen moviegoers. Even in a weekend that is typically difficult to open, "Warm Bodies" managed to bring in more than $6,400 per site on its way to being far and away the top movie at the box office. With an estimated production budget of close to $35 million, an opening intake near $20 million is a very good sign for "Warm Bodies," particularly with the lack of popular actors in its cast and limited notoriety surrounding the novel it's based on.

Moving forward, "Warm Bodies" also stands a great chance of holding on to a high percentage of its target audience, mostly thanks to strong critical support (76% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a lack of other PG-13 releases reaching theaters next weekend. Look for "Warm Bodies" to benefit from some positive word-of-mouth and put together one more fairly big weekend in theaters before losing some of its audience to "Beautiful Creatures" around Valentine's Day.

While "Warm Bodies" made a dent with its target audience over the weekend, the other wide releases proved to be complete duds. Despite a release of more than 2,400 total venues around the country, Sylvester Stallone's R-rated action flick "Bullet to the Head" managed only $4.5 million on a very meager per venue average of less than $2,000. "Bullet to the Head" will also face significant competition for adult audiences over the next couple of weeks, likely contributing to what should be one of the worst performing movies in Stallone's career.

Also not having any success with adult crowds over the weekend was "Stand Up Guys," an R-rated action-comedy that didn't even make it into the top 15 as it hit 659 total theaters. Even with famous actors Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin heading its cast, "Stand Up Guys" managed only $2,276 per site and should see a very brief run in theaters before heading to DVD and Blu-ray.

But while the new adult-targeted films struggled to find an audience, "Silver Linings Playbook" had no problem putting up another big weekend for distributor Weinstein. With $8 million over the weekend, "Silver Linings Playbook" is now up to $80 million domestically and $100 million worldwide, which are excellent numbers for a $21 million production that still has some time left in theaters. "Silver Linings" is the second straight commercial success for director David O' Russell, whose "The Fighter" rode awards season buzz to very strong overall numbers at the end of 2010.

As "Silver Linings" continues its late charge at the box office, "Lincoln" is another major Oscar contender that has maintained considerable sway with audiences. After finally dipping out of the top 10 a couple weekends ago, "Lincoln" saw another minimal slip in revenue and squeezed back in thanks to lackluster new releases and steady buzz surrounding its Oscar campaign.

Though "Lincoln" originally seemed to only have a domestic audience due to its subject, the worldwide influence of the Academy Awards has also helped secure a significant international release as well, boosting its worldwide intake to more than $200 million so far. "Lincoln" won't come close to matching Spielberg's biggest blockbusters in terms of overall revenue, but it's also his most successful small-scale release since "Catch Me If You Can" became a major hit back in 2002, earning $352 million around the globe with a budget of just $52 million.

Next weekend, director Steven Soderbergh will see if he can follow the commercial success of "Magic Mike" with "Side Effects," another critically lauded drama starring Channing Tatum that will try to find a home with mainstream audiences. Also hitting theaters will be the Jason Bateman-starring "Identity Thief," an R-rated comedy that is expected to be the widest release of the weekend at roughly 3,000 theaters. Theaters will get a few other new titles on Thursday, February 14th for Valentine's Day, as teen-friendly "Beautiful Creatures" and action flick "A Good Day to Die Hard" will both hit theaters.

Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 2/1/13 - 2/3/13 (in millions), [RTT Prediction]:

1) Warm Bodies (Summit): $19.50 [$23]

2) Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount): $9.21 [$9.2]

3) Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein): $8.11 [$6.9]

4) Mama (Universal): $6.73 [$6.3]

5) Zero Dark Thirty (Sony/Columbia): $5.30 [$6.4]

6) Bullet to the Head (Warner Brothers): $4.50 [$7.8]

7) Parker (Film District): $3.22 [$3.4]

8) Django Unchained (Weinstein): $3.04 [$2.9]

9) Les Miserables (Universal): $2.44 [$2.2]

10) Lincoln (Disney): $2.41 [N/A]

by RTTNews Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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