The smash-and-grab — who needs a fourth or fifth weekend, when you can nail down a profit after your first day? Paramount dipped into the kitty and spent a million producing “The Devil Inside” (through their low budget shingle Insurge) and a little bit of marketing later, we have our first big winner of the new year. Final estimates have the studio looking at a big $30 million+ weekend for the latest in a wave of cheap found-footage horror films.
Even when they aren’t massive blockbusters, and even when they aren’t well-liked, this is one peculiar sub-genre that looks like it will continue to make executives rich. “The Devil Inside” was neither expensive nor a favorite, as general reaction to the film seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of “acidic.” A rare “F” Cinemascore was awarded to the film, and while that sort of negative reaction isn’t unprecedented (horror films generally score low), it’s hard to find a single positive word being said about this effort. And yet you bet they’re popping a few corks over at the studio, stunned they got away with this one.
Falling out of the top spot after two weeks was “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” which should pass the first film’s domestic gross by next weekend. It won’t leapfrog the second film’s mammoth $546 million global take, but it’s worth considering that there was a lot of doubt surrounding the franchise’s vitality, and the $450 million worldwide the film has amassed thus far does a lot to dispel any notions that Tom Cruise isn’t still popular with general audiences. It’s also a bit surprising considering action-heavy blockbusters don’t usually see release in winter months, so expect to see a lot more confidence from studios to let the bullets fly during Christmas.
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows” is steadying, and while its grosses don’t match the first film, it’s encountering much smaller drops than its predecessor at this same point. It won’t hit $209 million stateside, as part one did, but it could certainly come close. More troubling is the franchise’s somewhat softer take worldwide, though there are plenty more territories left for the film to make up lost ground. Reports of Mr. Holmes’ demise were, of course, premature.
The weekend’s strongest hold was again “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” The film stabilized thanks to adult audiences waiting past the holidays to catch a sex-filled serial killer thriller, and it should pass $80 million by mid-week, with an outside shot at $100 million. That leaves international, where 'Tattoo' is dealing with its foreign predecessor, itself a global $100 million hit. Sony didn’t skimp, so the positive results remain to be seen, though this title is bound to be a big renter on the DVD market.
Audiences continue getting 'Chipwrecked' as the third “Alvin And The Chipmunks” film made it to nine figures last week. The first two films did more than $200 million stateside, so charitably this franchise probably lost a good quarter of its audience. And yet, a hearty $200 million global ensures that nobody’s going to go poor trotting these characters out over and over and over again.
“War Horse” is playing to solid, if not spectacular audiences, and it could have the legs (neigh!) to continue pulling in audiences into February, especially in the thick of awards season. Keeping pace with the Spielberg film is “We Bought A Zoo,” which itself has stabilized after a lesser opening. While the 3D-enhanced “The Adventures Of Tintin” continues to stumble about, the picture did cross $300 million worldwide this past week, so not all is lost on that front — despite less-than-blockbuster numbers stateside, Steven Spielberg can still pretty much cash his own check.
A nationwide expansion of 800 theaters greeted “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” boosting the Brit thriller to solid numbers and a $6.5k per-screen average in its fifth week. The film was more warmly received internationally, and could cross $40 million worldwide within the next few days. Bringing up the rear, because somebody had to, was “New Year's Eve,” crossing $50 million. After five weeks, it’s domestic total has yet to match the first three day tally for “Valentine’s Day.”
Finally, at the art house, "The Artist" continues to chug along, adding another $1.1 million to a box office take that should continue to grow steadily particularly as awards season talk heats up. "The Iron Lady" pulled in $172, 000 at five locations, and the week's best per-screen average at $34k. "Pariah" took $112,000 at four locations while "Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close" brought up the rear with a mere $96,000 at on six screens.
Opening in limited release was "Once Upon A Time In Anatolia," which grossed a solid $11k in one NYC theater despite a massive runtime. It was only slightly outgrossed by "Norwegian Wood," but that picture only pulled in $13k at three theaters. And in week three, "Pina" increased it's gross despite not adding any theaters, pulling in $81k on only three screens, while "A Separation" closed its second week by doubling its screen count to six and grossing $96k. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. The Devil Inside, Every Single One Of Us, The Devil Inside (Paramount) – $34.5 million
2. Mission: Impossible – Boogeyman Plan (Paramount) – $20.5 million ($170.2 mil.)
3. Sherlock Holmes 2: Sherlock Holmes Again (Warner Bros.) – $14.1 million ($157.4 mil.)
4. The Girl With The Threatening Body Ink (Sony) – $11.4 million ($76.8 mil.)
5. Alvin And The Chipmunks: Al Qaeda (Fox) – $9.5 million ($111.6 mil.)
6. Battle Equestrian (Disney) – $8.7 million ($57 mil.)
7. We Bought ‘Zoo’ On DVD (Fox) – $8.5 million ($57 mil.)
8. The Adventures Of A Boy Detective No American Could Ever Appreciate And Understand 3D (Paramount) – $7.2 million ($62 mil.)
9. Tinker, Tailor, Souljaboytellem (Focus/Universal) – $5.8 million ($10.3 mil.)
10. New Year’s Eve (Warner Bros.) – $3.3 million ($52 mil.)