Weekend Report: '2 Guns' Takes Top Spot, 'Smurfs' Struggles
by Ray Subers
August 4, 2013
The final month of Summer got off to a modest start this weekend. 2 Guns took first place but fell short of $30 million, while The Smurfs 2 opened way below its predecessor. The Top 12 earned $123.3 million, which is up eight percent from last year but makes this the quietest weekend yet this Summer.
Playing at 3,025 locations, 2 Guns opened to $27.1 million. That's a bit above Contraband ($24.3 million), which shares a director (Baltasar Kormakur) and star (Mark Wahlberg) with 2 Guns. Unfortunately, Contraband didn't have Denzel Washington, who is one of the most consistently bankable stars in the business. By adding him to the mix, it seemed like 2 Guns should have done a bit better.
The movie's $27.1 million debut was significantly lower than Washington's Safe House ($40.2 million)—which also paired him with a younger star—and a bit lower than The Book of Eli ($32.8 million). Still, it ranks fifth all-time for Washington, and is a bit ahead of recent movies like Unstoppable ($22.7 million) and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 ($23.4 million).
It's likely that 2 Guns's biggest strength was also what held it back a bit. Washington and Wahlberg are both incredibly popular stars, and Universal's marketing put them front-and-center. As has been proven time-and-time again, though, star power alone can't drive strong business, and 2 Guns was noticeably lacking any kind of compelling story.
The movie's audience skewed female (51 percent) and older (77 percent were 25 years of age and up). The crowd was 28 percent African-American and 14 percent Hispanic, which suggests that the movie had particularly strong appeal among minority audiences. 2 Guns received a "B+" CinemaScore, which isn't all that great. Combine that with middling reviews, and there is no chance this makes it to $100 million by the end of its run.
After opening on top last weekend, The Wolverine took second place this weekend with $21.3 million. Its 60 percent drop was about in line with Captain America: The First Avenger—which opened at the same time in 2011—and was significantly better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine (69 percent decline). Through 10 days, The Wolverine has earned $94.6 million, and it remains on track for a final tally around $140 million. The Smurfs 2 opened to $17.5 million at 3,866 locations this weekend. Add in its Wednesday and Thursday grosses, and it earned $27.1 million through its first five days. That's noticeably lower than the first movie's $35.6 million three-day start at the same time in 2011, and is also the worst start for a family movie so far this Summer behind Turbo ($31 million five-day).
The first Smurfs movie had two things going for it that The Smurfs 2 did not. First, Summer 2011 hadn't been a particularly strong season for family movies: Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 were on top, though both earned less than $200 million. In comparison, Summer 2013 has been incredibly busy—Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University are on pace to combine for around $600 million—and The Smurfs 2 is the latest victim of family audience fatigue. Audiences also gave The Smurfs the benefit of the doubt because it was something new: unfortunately, it was generally disliked among adults, which likely caused many of them to hold off on the sequel.
Families accounted for 80 percent of The Smurfs 2's business, while 63 percent of audience members were female. They gave it a good "A-" CinemaScore, though it's rare for a family movie to go lower than that. With tough competition from Planes this coming week, there's no way The Smurfs 2 winds up anywhere near $100 million. Ultimately it doesn't matter too much how The Smurfs 2 performs at the domestic box office, though, considering its in line for huge overseas business (see Around-the-World Roundup for more).
In fourth place, The Conjuring eased 41 percent to $13.03 million. That's another fantastic hold for this horror phenomenon, which so far has earned an incredible $108 million. It's currently on pace to finish with at least $130 million. Despicable Me 2 rounded out the Top Five with $10.1 million. Even with direct competition from The Smurfs 2, the animated blockbuster only fell 38 percent. Through its fifth weekend, Despicable Me 2 has grossed $326.4 million.
After expanding nationwide last weekend, The Way, Way Back added more theaters this weekend and dipped just 21 percent to $2.73 million. Meanwhile, Fruitvale Station fell 43 percent to $2.6 million. To date, the two Sundance hits have earned $13.6 million and $10.9 million, respectively.
Writer/director Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine expanded to 50 locations this weekend and earned an excellent $1.86 million. That translates to a per-theater average of $37,174; in comparison, Midnight in Paris averaged $33,268 at 58 theaters on the same weekend. Based on these great early results, Blue Jasmine seems poised to easily match Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona ($23.2 million each), though it remains to be seen if the movie can connect with general audiences enough to get near Midnight in Paris ($56.8 million).
In its second weekend, The To-Do List plummeted 61 percent to an estimated $622,000. Through 10 days the movie has earned just $3.1 million, and at this rate will be lucky to close over $5 million.
In limited release, The Spectacular Now opened to a very good $197,415 at four locations in New York and Los Angeles. The movie's $49,354 per-theater average is a bit ahead of distributor A24's last movie, The Bling Ring ($42,879). A24 is planning to gradually expand the movie over the next month, and with great reviews and good word-of-mouth it could wind up being a minor late Summer hit. Around-the-World Roundup Pacific Rim was always expected to do great business in Asia, but few expected it to do this well: the movie opened to an incredible $45.2 million in its first five days in China, which is Warner Bros. biggest opening ever. Overall, the movie took in $53 million this weekend, and its overseas total is now just over $200 million. With Spain, Brazil and (most notably) Japan opening Friday, Pacific Rim should have no problem getting to $300 million by the end of its run.
Coinciding with its disappointing domestic debut, The Smurfs 2 opened in 43 foreign markets and took in a very good $52.5 million. According to Sony, that's off four percent from the original movie's debut; considering sequels tend to fall off faster, The Smurfs 2 probably won't match the first movie's $420 million total.
Its top opening came in Russia, where it debuted to $5.3 million. It also performed well in the U.K. ($5.1 million), Brazil ($4.7 million), Mexico ($4.3 million), France ($4.2 million), Germany ($3.8 million) and Spain ($3 million). The movie still to open in Australia, Italy and China, and should earn over $300 million without much difficulty.
After its awesome debut last weekend, The Wolverine fell over 50 percent to $38.2 million. Still, it's already earned $159 million and hasn't even opened in China or Japan yet. Despicable Me 2 added $13.8 million from 51 markets this weekend. To date, the animated sequel has earned $387 million overseas, and its worldwide total has now eclipsed $700 million.
Magician thriller Now You See Me opened to $5.9 million in France and $2.8 million in Mexico this weekend. Overall, it earned $13.1 million for a new foreign total of $117.6 million. Meanwhile, fellow Lionsgate release Red 2 added $11.9 million—$5.1 million from its Russia opening—for an early total of $33.4 million. The Conjuring is already a major hit at the domestic box office, and now seems poised to do similarly strong business overseas. The movie added $11.6 million this weekend, and was down just 19 percent on average across its holdover markets. It's already earned $28.6 million, and has yet to open in most major territories.
Finally, Monsters University earned $11.4 million for a new total of $354.9 million. The movie still has Italy and China on the way, and should end its run north of $400 million.