As the Olympics head to a close, overall weekend grosses show signs of life, and better yet, are spread over several films with different core audiences. All three new films performed well, with “Hope Springs” likely to have the best hold down the line. “The Dark Knight Rises” fell two places to third, but the biggest drop went to “Total Recall,” after a tepid opening weekend, making its second-week fall-off even more disappointing.
1. THE BOURNE LEGACY (Universal) – NEW ( Cinemascore: B; Metacritic score: 61)
$40,300,000 in 3,745 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $10,749; Cumulative: $40,300,000
The second major series reboot of the summer (after “The Amazing Spider-Man”) met expectations with a solid opening. While the numbers were far the last two Damon/Greengrass installments, they are still decent, particularly as this entry earned only slightly favorable reviews, lower than the other “Bourne” films.
The opening puts the $125-million film in position to make money and extend the series. Somewhat surprisingly, the previous films did not show significantly larger foreign returns, so if this installment improves its global performance, this could double the initial cost in gross. Universal reports strong openings in a handful of territories so far.
And although Universal’s most expensive film of the year, “Battleship” badly underperformed, "The Bourne Legacy" continues a string of strong performers – including “Ted,” “The Lorax,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and “Safe House.” Their diverse slate paid off.
This should be a boost for Jeremy Renner, the late-blooming actor who has been riding a wave since “The Hurt Locker” with a series of smart career choices. He took a supporting role in Ben Affleck's well-reviewed hit (“The Town”), which earned him his second Oscar nomination, followed by significant non-leads in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “The Avengers.” All this gave him the heft to step in for Matt Damon. Renner can take considerable credit if the film continues to play well. He is now approaching A-list status (as older male stars Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Adam Sandler stumbled this summer).
Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the earlier "Bourne" films, shows that he can handle more than adult-oriented dramas like “Michael Clayton" and the underperforming "Duplicity." The weekend total for "Legacy" comes in just below the total domestic gross for both of those earlier films.
What comes next: The movie needs to hold well and show overseas strength to justify another sequel. Heading into a post-Olympics environment, the movie could surpass $100 million in the US/Canada, then more than double that elsewhere if it follows normal patterns. Its B Cinemascore suggests that word of mouth is not universally strong, however.
2. THE CAMPAIGN (Warner Brothers) – NEW (Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic score: 50)
$27,440,000 in 3,205 theaters; PSA: $8,562,000; Cumulative: $27,440,000
The stronger than expected opening numbers for “The Campaign” take some edge off “The Dark Knight Rises” falling to third place this weekend for Warners. Not a low-budget comedy by any means (estimated budget was over $50 million), this gross suggests a chance for success.
Political comedies are a tough sell, even more so when they aren’t backed with strong reviews (“Dave,” “Bulworth,” ” The American President”). This film's kickstart comes from the pairing of Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis as leads together for the first time. Ferrell has been uneven throughout his career (as well as taking regular chances in smaller films, such as the recent “Casa de mi Padre”). This is performing slightly better than his two most recent $100 million-plus domestic grossers (“The Other Guys” and “Step Brothers” – he seems to score a comedy hit only in even-numbered years). For Galifianakis, who was elevated by his “Hangover” film appearances, these numbers are similar to the opening of his other second-lead comedy success, “Due Date.”
The film marks a step up for director Jay Roach from his most recent feature film “Dinner for Schmucks,” which even with Steve Carrell managed a just OK $23.5 million opening two years ago. It will perform below his huge successes with the “Austin Powers” and “Meet the Parents” franchises. Still, it shows how a veteran comedy director can upgrade a seemingly routine comedy pairing.
Ferrell, as well as his frequent past director Adam McKay joined Roach and Galifianakis as the producers of the film.
What comes next: They got the audience sampling they wanted. Now, without a significant new comedy next weekend and less TV competition, good word of mouth could propel this much further. At the least, all involved will stay in great demand.
3. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warner Brothers) – Week 4 (last week #1)
$19,540,000 in 3,690 theaters (-552); PSA: $5.295; Cumulative: $390,149,000
Four years ago, the fourth weekend of “The Dark Knight” opened against the 2008 Olympics. The result was the franchise's fourth #1 opening and a fall of only 38% from the previous weekend (total gross over $26 million). This weekend’s figures confirm that the appeal of “Rises” is not that of its predecessor, despite the general acclaim and huge want-to-see.
What comes next: "Rises" has been losing theaters at a faster rate than in 2008, a pace that will accelerate in upcoming weeks. And it's unlikely that this installment will still be in the top 10 in its tenth week. With Nolan no longer directing the costly series, Warners faces a challenge keeping this franchise robust.
4. HOPE SPRINGS (Sony) – NEW (Cinemascore: B; Metacritic score: 66)
$15,600,000 in 2.361 theaters; PSA: $6,607; Cumulative: $20,053,000
Opening on Wednesday to both gain word of mouth and improve visibility against the Olympics (which appeal to older audiences), a strong Saturday gross boosted the weekend estimate higher than the first three days had suggested.
A modest $20-30 million budget helps the relationship comedy's long-term chances. Both Meryl Streep comedies “Julie and Julia” and “The Devil Wears Prada” ended up with grosses close to five times their opening weekends (with industry seasonal averages closer to tripling the number), although neither had to worry about Olympics competition when they opened. Also, some of the two-day Wednesday/Thursday gross of around $4.5 million would likely have shown up this weekend with a normal Friday opening, so the uptick could be even greater.
On the other hand, unlike the prior two films (or Streep hit “It’s Complicated”), this story focuses entirely on an over-60 couple, which restricted its initial appeal. Eight years ago, the similar “Something’s Got to Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson amassed $125 million (which would be over $160 million today), although it was boosted by a Christmas season release.
For director David Frankel , this should fall short of his two biggest hits – “Prada” and “Marley and Me” – but reinforces his brand as a studio director who combines comedy and drama with quality adult-appeal projects. Not bad for someone who had to wait 11 years after his first film (the low-grossing “Miami Rhapsody”) to get his second chance with “Prada.”
What comes next: This could end up playing steadily over the next few weeks and still hit $100 million plus in the US/Canada. The performance on Streep-starring comedies worldwide has been all over the place, but at this point, the overseas take will be gravy above the likely domestic profits.
5. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID – DOG DAYS (20th Century-Fox) – Week 2 (last week #3)
$8,200,000 in 3,398 (+7) theaters; PSA $2,413; Cumulative: $30,554,000
Falliing off far less than week two of last year’s sequel (44% compared to 57%), this continues to yield modest returns.
What comes next: With one more week before school resumes for much of the film's target audience, totals should top out somewhere above $40 million. Whether that is enough to keep the series going remains to be seen (“Roderick Rules” did just under $53 million).
6. TOTAL RECALL (Sony) – Week 2 (last week #2)
$8,100,000 in 3,601 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,249; Cumulative: $44,188,000
A bad decline for this expensive remake. With an estimate 70% drop the second Friday, this is going to struggle to get much beyond $50 million stateside.
What comes next: Unless the rest of the world – most territories have yet to open – responds much better, this is going to come up far short for Sony. And now they need to worry about competition from the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred in the original, as “The Expendables 2” opens worldwide.
7. ICE AGE – CONTINENTAL DRIFT (20th Century-Fox) – Week 5 (last week #4)
$6,750,000 in 3,103 theaters (-439); PSA: $2,175; Cumulative: $144,064,000
Heading for the far side of $150 million as this continues to hold well.
What comes next: Though this won’t approach $200 million as the last two entries did, the success this go-round likely is enough to continue the series.
8. TED (Universal) – Week 7 (last week #7)
$3,300,000 in 2,208 theaters (-559); PSA: $1,494; Cumulative: $209,900,000
After falling less than 25% last weekend, this week fell 41% (abetted by theater count losses), but it’s all gravy at this point.
What comes next: Much of the world remains to open, so a $400 million total looks likely. Prepare for a sequel.
9. STEP UP REVOLUTION (Lionsgate) – Week 3 (last week #6)
$2,900,000 in 1,898 (-708) theaters; PSA: $1,502; Cumulative: $30,200,000
50% falloff, which is standard at this point with the theaters lost this week.
What comes next: To pass $35 million domestically with strong international appeal going for it, this series delivers solidly this go-round, which might not be the last.
10. THE WATCH (20th Century-Fox) – Week 3 (last week #5)
$2,200,000 in 2,461 theaters (-707); PSA: $893; Cumulative: $31,375,000
Falling like a rock, its third weekend will do less (by some distance) than the seventh for “Ted.”
What comes next: Very little, to be honest.
10. (tied) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Sony) – Week 6 (last week #8)
$2,200,000 in 1,585 theaters (-840); PSA: $1,388; Cumulative: $255,543,000
Barely scraping the top 10, but six weeks into the run, not bad.
What comes next: Passing $700 million worldwide. These days, this counts as a modest success for a 3-D ticket price-boosted massive production like this.