On what will likely be one of the slowest weekends of the year, Warm Bodies successfully counterprogrammed the Super Bowl with a first place opening just over $20 million. The male-oriented newcomers didn't fare nearly as well: Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head bombed, while Stand Up Guys failed to even crack the Top 15.
The Top 12 earned $68.4 million this weekend, which is off a whopping 27 percent from Super Bowl weekend last year. This discrepancy can be blamed on a quiet late January and the lack of a second strong newcomer this weekend.
Including $520,000 from preview shows on Thursday, Warm Bodies grossed $20.35 million this weekend. That ranks seventh all-time among Super Bowl openings, and is generally in line with last year's Chronicle ($22 million) and The Woman in Black ($20.9 million). While it was also off a bit from Zombieland's $24.7 million, this is without-a-doubt a strong start for a unique movie that could have very easily been ignored on another weekend.
Aside from picking a great date, distributor Summit Entertainment put together a really good marketing effort that clearly communicated the movie's intriguing premise (zombie falls in love with human girl, begins to come back to life) while also making the movie look like a lot of fun (always a solid choice to cut previews to The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy"). As expected, the audience skewed female (60 percent) and younger (65 percent under the age of 25); they gave the movie a "B+" CinemaScore, which improved to an "A" among the under-18 crowd.
In second place, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters fell 52 percent to $9.4 million. That's obviously not an impressive hold, but it could have been worse given the movie's middling word-of-mouth and awful reviews, and the shortened Super Bowl weekend. Through 10 days, the movie has grossed $34.7 million, and by the end of the week it will pass Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter's $37.5 million.
It feels redundant to say at this point, but Silver Linings Playbook once again had a fantastic weekend. The Oscar-nominated romantic comedy eased 18 percent to $7.7 million, which brings its total to $80 million. It now looks likely that it will pass $100 million ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24. Mama declined 50 percent to $6.6 million in its third weekend. To date, the movie has grossed $58.1 million, which makes it the top horror movie since 2011's Paranormal Activity 3. Zero Dark Thirty rounded out the Top Five with $5.2 million, which is a 47 percent drop from last weekend. The controversial CIA thriller has now earned $77.7 million, and should ultimately get to at least $90 million.
Playing at 2,404 locations, Bullet to the Head opened to a terrible $4.55 million. That's the second-lowest nationwide debut ever in Sylvester Stallone's career ahead of 1981's Nighthawks (which still had greater attendance). It's also the worst opening in over 2,000 locations so far this year—even worse than Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand ($6.3 million) and comedy bomb Movie 43 ($4.8 million).
The Expendables 2 cast has had a rough time over the past three weeks: first, Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand, then Statham's Parker ($7 million), and now Stallone's Bullet to the Head. All three of these movies suffered because their marketing focused on the star and failed to show what was unique or special about the movie itself. If it comes down to the star alone, the value proposition doesn't work out, especially considering that just last year audiences got to see all three of these actors (plus a handful more) for the price of one movie ticket. Bullet to the Head's audience was 60 percent male and 81 percent over the age of 25, and they awarded the movie a poor "B-" CinemaScore.
In 17th place, Stand Up Guys opened to $1.49 million from 659 locations. Reviews were poor and the movie received almost no marketing push, so this isn't really a surprising outcome.