Weekend Report: Good 'Grandpa,' Bad 'Counselor'
by Ray Subers
October 27, 2013
|Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa|| |
After dominating the box office for three-straight weeks, Gravity fell to second place behind Jackass spin-off Bad Grandpa. Meanwhile, Ridley Scott's The Counselor became the latest October release to disappoint with an opening below $10 million.
At 3,336 locations, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa opened to a very strong $32.1 million. That's the second-highest start in the Jackass franchise behind Jackass 3-D ($50.4 million); adjusted for ticket price inflation, Bad Grandpa's attendance was about on par with the original Jackass: The Movie.
Moviegoers have clearly shown an appetite for comedy this year. Bad Grandpa is the fifth live-action comedy to open over $30 million in 2013, and that list doesn't even include We're the Millers or This is the End (which burned off demand with Wednesday openings).
Bad Grandpa's success can be attributed to a number of factors. Even though it was a spin-off, the movie's painful pratfalls and documentary-style footage aligned nicely with the very strong Jackass brand. Also, the movie had an easily-explainable, universally-related premise—everyone has had an inappropriate older relative, and it's cathartic to get together and laugh about it. Finally—and most importantly—the previews were laugh-out-loud funny, which is the very basic key ingredient for comedy success.
Bad Grandpa's audience was 56 percent male and 63 percent over the age of 25. In comparison, Jackass 3-D's crowd was 61 percent male and only 33 percent over 25. The fact that Bad Grandpa skewed older and was more evenly split between genders suggests that it will play better long-term. While its "B" CinemaScore is nothing to write home about, it should still be on pace for a final total of at least $75 million.
In its fourth weekend, Gravity fell 33 percent to $20.1 million. That's the movie's steepest drop yet, though it's still a fantastic hold for the acclaimed space thriller. To date, Gravity has earned $199.6 million, which ranks ninth on the year. While it's going to lose most of its IMAX screens to Ender's Game next weekend, Gravity is still on pace to earn at least $250 million by the end of its run.
It was smooth sailing for Captain Phillips in its third weekend. The movie eased 29 percent to $11.6 million, and has now grossed $69.9 million. It remains around $10 million ahead of Argo through the same point, and should get past $100 million eventually.
At 3,044 locations, star-studded thriller The Counselor opened to a very poor $7.8 million. That's generally in line with other recent disappointing R-rated crime movies like Broken City ($8.3 million), Runner Runner ($7.7 million) and Killing Them Softly ($6.8 million), which also starred Brad Pitt.
The Counselor is the latest example of the limitations of "star power" at the box office. The movie was absolutely stacked with top-tier talent in front of and behind the camera—Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Pitt, director Ridley Scott, and writer Cormac McCarthy. Marquee names can only take a movie so far: for audiences to really invest, there needs to be an interesting story on display, and The Counselor's vague allusions to a crime plot didn't cut it. The nail in the coffin was the terrible reviews (35 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), which likely kept some more discerning audiences away.
The Counselor's audience was 51 percent female and 85 percent over the age of 25. They awarded the movie a terrible "D" CinemaScore, which suggests it's going to have a very short run (a final total below $25 million is a guarantee).
In the month of October, nine movies debuted at over 1,500 locations. Five of those titles opened below $10 million—Runner Runner, Machete Kills, Escape Plan, The Fifth Estate and The Counselor. Even with a huge hit like Gravity out there, that kind of consistent failure is going to lead to a depressed marketplace. In fact, this was the first weekend of the month that was up year-over-year (the Top 12 was up 17 percent to $94.9 million), and overall October business is going to fall way short of record levels.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 rounded out the Top Five with $6.3 million, which was off a light 35 percent from last weekend. On Sunday, the movie passed $100 million; unfortunately, it's noticeably lagging behind the first Cloudy, and is going to take a hit next weekend when it faces off against Free Birds.
Last week's new releases all got crushed this weekend. The Carrie remake plummeted 63 percent to just under $6 million, which brought its total to an unimpressive $26.1 million. Escape Plan fell 54 percent to $4.6 million for a new total of $17.6 million. Finally, The Fifth Estate collapsed 66 percent to $570,890 for an atrocious 10-day total of $2.85 million.
With great reviews and a ton of awards buzz, 12 Years a Slave expanded to 123 locations and earned $2.13 million this weekend. That translates to a very good per-theater average of $17,352. The Fox Searchlight slavery drama has now grossed $3.4 million, and is set to expand to over 400 theaters next weekend.
At four locations, Palme D'Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color opened to $100,316 ($25,079 per-theater average). That's a fine debut for the acclaimed French drama, though it doesn't give a clear indication of the movie's long-term potential. With a three-hour runtime and a restrict NC-17 rating, it's hard to imagine the movie gains much traction outside of major arthouse locations.
With $36.6 million—its best weekend so far—Gravity held the top spot at the foreign box office for the fourth-straight frame. It was propped up by a fantastic $11.8 million opening in France, which is its highest debut yet. It also continued to play well in holdover markets South Korea ($5.8 million) and Mexico ($4 million). To date, Gravity has earned $164.4 million; it reaches the U.K. and China in November and Japan in December, and should earn well over $300 million by the end of its run.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 expanded in to a few key territories this weekend and added $17.9 million. It took first place in the U.K. with $6.1 million, and also did solid business in Russia ($3.8 million) and Germany ($3.2 million). In all three of those markets, it opened noticeably higher than the first Cloudy movie. So far, Cloudy 2 has grossed $49.2 million overseas.
DreamWorks Animation's Turbo earned $14.2 million from 23 markets this weekend. Its top market was France, where it added $5.8 million (up 76 percent, not including previews). Turbo has now earned $163.4 million, and should get past $200 million by the end of its run.
In its second weekend, Captain Phillips banked $12.1 million. It had a strong $2.1 million debut in Australia, and opened just under $1 million in South Korea. However, its biggest territory was the U.K. where it eased 19 percent to $4 million. So far, Phillips has taken in $26.7 million overseas.
Coinciding with its domestic debut, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa opened to $8.1 million at 16 foreign markets. According to distributor Paramount Pictures, that's on par with Jackass 3-D across the same territories. Its biggest openings came in the U.K. ($3.2 million) and Germany ($3.1 million).
As of this weekend, Despicable Me 2 has now earned over $900 million worldwide. It's the 27th movie—and only the fifth animated movie—to ever reach that level.
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• Audiences to Take a Trip with 'Grandpa' This Weekend
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2012 - 'Argo' Ahead of Four Dreadful Debuts
• 2011 - 'Puss' Purrs Softly
• 2010 - 'Saw' Sharpens with "Final Chapter," 'Paranormal Activity' Fades
• 2009 - 'Michael Jackson' Strikes Top Spot
• 2008 - 'Zack and Miri,' 'Changeling' Contribute to Bleak Halloween
• 2007 - 'Saw IV' Loses Little Blood
• 2006 - 'Saw' Sharp in Third Outing
• 2005 - 'Saw II' Gores 'Zorro' on Halloween Weekend
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic