On a relatively slow weekend at the box office, newcomer Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters easily claimed the top spot with a decent $19.7 million opening. Meanwhile, Parker and Movie 43 had terrible debuts, and as a result the Top 12 was off over 10 percent from the same weekend last year.
Hansel and Gretel's $19.7 million start is better than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter's $16.3 million and The Brothers Grimm's $15.1 million, though it's about even with Grimm in estimated ticket sales. While that's definitely not a great start, it's passable for a $50 million production that's been wasting away on the shelf for the last year. The movie benefited from a clearly articulated premise (it's right there in the title), action-packed commercials, and a lead actor (Jeremy Renner) who has seen his stock go up significantly in the last two years.
While Hansel and Gretel has been savaged by critics (15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences gave it a "B" CinemaScore, which suggests it might be able to come close to $50 million by the end of its run. Add in an overseas total that will be way above $100 million and it looks like Hansel and Gretel is going to avoid being labeled a flop.
The movie's audience was 55 percent male and 57 percent were 25 years of age or older. 3D showings accounted for 66 percent of the gross (55 percent regular 3D, 11 percent IMAX 3D).
In second place, last weekend's winner Mama fell 54 percent to an estimated $13.1 million. While that's a pretty steep decline, it is fairly standard for a January horror release. The movie is already at $48.9 million, and is on pace to out-gross any of 2012's horror offerings.
In its third weekend in nationwide release, Zero Dark Thirty dipped 39 percent to $9.7 million. While that's definitely a good hold, it is starting to seem like the buzz has evaporated on this title (what happened to all the torture controversy?). The Oscar-nominated CIA thriller has grossed $69.8 million so far, and it now looks like there's a good chance it winds up below $100 million.
Silver Linings Playbook dipped to fourth place this weekend with $9.4 million. That's off just 12 percent from last weekend, which once again reinforces just how strong the word-of-mouth is on this Oscar-nominated romantic comedy. Silver Linings has now earned $68.9 million, and if it continues to hold well through the Academy Awards ceremony (which is four weekends from now), it will wind up with over $100 million. Parker opened in fifth place with $7.01 million from 2,224 locations this weekend. That's less than Jason Statham's last solo outing, Safe, which bombed last year with just $7.9 million. It is at least slightly higher than 2009's Crank: High Voltage ($6.96 million), though that's a very minor consolation.
Jason Statham clearly has a fan base, but it's starting to look like it's only good for about $7 million on opening weekend. To get higher there needs to be something else presented that connects with other audiences, and that doesn't seem to have happened with Parker.
The movie at least received a good "B+" CinemaScore, which means it could wind up near $20 million by the end of its run.
In seventh place, star-studded comedy anthology Movie 43 tanked with just $4.8 million. That's lower than practically any comparable titles, including spoof comedy Disaster Movie ($5.8 million). The audience skewed younger (59 percent under 25 years of age) and about even on gender (51 percent male), and they gave the movie an atrocious "D" CinemaScore.
The movie cost just $6 million to make, and Relativity says that they covered all costs with foreign pre-sales and their Netflix deal. Still, this is one experiment that isn't likely to be replicated anytime soon.