This weekend saw the entry of a few new arrivals at the box office. The Expendables 2 was meant to capture the action crowd; Sparkle looked for females; and The Odd Life of Timothy Green and ParaNorman fought over families. While Odd Life was expectedly weak (live-action family movies are tough to pull off,) the other entrants banked some serious coin for the first weekend of ‘back-to-school.’
The Expendables 2 was the big one to watch. Despite tepid reviews for the series’ first outing from both critics and theater goers, Hollywood anticipated a $40 million weekend which would have signified a near 20% bump from 2010 which opened with a $13.3 million Friday. Instead, the Simon West-directed ensemble flick failed to capitalize on much better reviews and word of mouth by banking a mere $10.5 million in its first 24 hours.
On that front, it is a bit comedic how Lionsgate advertised the film as the ‘last major blockbuster of the summer’ as it would appear that they were a week too late as Bourne took that title. Estimates are now south of $30 million for The Expendables 2′s opening weekend suggesting the 20% swing went the other way. So much for the bigger roles given to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis because it looks as if nobody cared. This might not be a good sign for other upcoming movies starring Arnold, The Tomb and The Last Stand.
The lone animated entry into the market since Ice Age 4 is Focus Features’ ParaNorman which debuted to $4.6 million on Friday. This project was the directorial debut of Chris Butler who also wrote the effort. While Sam Fell co-directed, decent reviews are leading some to believe Butler will have quite the career ahead of him.
One of the bigger surprises of the weekend was Salim Akil’s remake of Sparkle. The musical drama was meant to be seen as Jordin Sparks’ feature film debut, but ultimately the movie got played up as Whitney Houston’s final theatrical effort even though she had a small role. Nonetheless, it worked as Sparkle banked $4.6 million on its first day. Some are suggesting a weekend in the mid-teens.
The Ode Life of Timothy Green added $3.4 million to its total on Friday, bringing its haul since its Wednesday opening to $7.7 million. Once again, this is a family movie that also is said to target the female demographic to a degree. Given its PG Fantasy appeal, such a gross is definitely not embarrassing, but it sure is not impressive either. The film’s budget was $40 million.
As for the holdovers from last week, The Bourne Legacy dropped to $5.3 million on its second Friday. We are talking about a 50% week-to-week slide for the weekend which is to be expected when a newer actioner hits the big screen.
The Campaign is definitely shrinking fast with at $4.2 million start to week two. Seven days ago, the number was $10.2 million indicating a slide much the same as Bourne Legacy which is somewhat interesting considering the Will Ferrell-starrer has a monopoly on comedies at the moment and had pretty solid reviews. Perhaps word of mouth is misleading because there is that stamp on the end of these positive sentiments surrounding the film that it was not anything special.