Box Office: Gatsby earns $50 mil as Tyler Perry’s latest bombs. Horseman of apocalypse throws shoe?

Senior Editor
05.12.13 17 Comments

This statement has a lot of caveats, but we’ll ignore them for now because it’s a fun story: this weekend, a film adaptation of the great American novel earned more than $50 million on the same weekend a Tyler Perry-produced romantic comedy earned less than $5 million. So this is what pleasant surprise feels like. Huh. Neat.

1) Iron Man 3, BV $72,472,000 Total: $284,893,000

2) The Great Gatsby, WB $51,115,000

3) Pain and Gain, Paramount. $5,000,000 Total: $41,608,000

4) Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, LGF $4,850,000

5) 42, WB $4,650,000 -Total: $84,732,000

6) Oblivion, Universal $3,864,000 Total: $81,655,000

7) The Croods, Fox $3,600,000 Total: $173,215,000

8) The Big Wedding, Lionsgate, $2,500,000 Total: $18,288,000

9) Mud, Roadside Attractions, $2,343,000 Total: $8,363,000

10) Oz The Great and Powerful, BV $802,000 Total: $229,985,000 [Indiewire]

I’d like to think the general populace was just too smart for a movie that once was called “Meet the Peeples,” which sounds like a fake Tyler Perry movie name generated by computer, and that sat on the shelf for a few years before it was released and generally looked pretty horrible, but let’s be honest, none of those things have ever slowed Tyler Perry down before. More than likely, his cultish fan base just didn’t realize or recognize it as a “Tyler Perry movie,” since he didn’t really do much to it creatively beyond stick his name on it. Peeples reportedly cost around $15 million, and almost certainly won’t make that back. It’d be nice if this slowed Tyler Perry down at all, or forced him to try to make better movies, but shit rolls downhill, so most likely it’ll probably just hurt the talented people who agreed to be in it, like Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington. Hopefully it won’t hurt much, because Craig Robinson is awesome. He nodded “sup” to me once at the Hollywood Improv. Cool story, huh.

The Great Gatsby‘s $51.1 million debut ranks as the third-highest second place debut ever behind The Day After Tomorrow ($68.7 million, behind Shrek 2) and Sherlock Holmes ($62.3 million, behind Avatar). It’s easily the best start ever in director Baz Luhrmann’s career, and it’s on pace to become his highest-grossing movie ahead Moulin Rouge! ($57.4 million) by Tuesday. This opening also ranks as the second-highest ever for star Leonardo DiCaprio behind 2010’s Inception.

Exit polling confirmed that the audience skewed female (59 percent) and older (69 percent over the age of 25). They gave the movie a “B” CinemaScore, which suggests word-of-mouth won’t be great; still, without much direct competition, the worst-case scenario for the movie is about $120 million total, which is a very good performance for a romantic drama.

The Great Gatsby‘s success tells us two things: one, DiCaprio is a legit “star,” inasmuch as that means anything anymore (it makes a difference, but not as much of one as studios still think it does), and two, spectacle is still the main reason people go to the movies. Baz Luhrmann may make cheesy love stories, but he does spectacle pretty well. And consider the two highest-grossing movies of all time are Avatar and Titanic, “spectacle + cheesy love story” isn’t a bad way to go. It all seems so clear in hindsight, doesn’t it? Oh, and Iron Man 3 has made almost a billion dollars worldwide already, so there’s that.


Laremy (First overall pick)

1. Iron Man 3 – $175.3

2. Man of Steel (Bomb)

3. Epic

4. 300: Rise of an Empire (release pushed back an entire year, just like when Laremy picked GI Joe: Retaliation last year. Man is the kiss of death)

Total: 175

Vince (2nd pick):

1. 6 Fast 6 Furious

2. Pacific Rim

3. The Wolverine

4. We are the Millers (Bomb)

Bret (3rd pick)

1. Star Trek 2

2. Despicable Me 2

3. Lone Ranger (Bomb)

4. After Earth

Brendan (4th pick)

1. Man of Steel

2. Hangover 3

3. The Internship

4. The Great Gatsby (Bomb): $51 million on a $105 million budget, which equals 49 percent of budget, subtracted from 100 is 51.

Total: 51

Ben (5th):

1. Monsters University

2. Planes

3. World War Z

4. World War Z (Bomb)

Author Profile Picture
Vince Mancini is a writer, comedian, and podcaster. A graduate of Columbia’s non-fiction MFA program, his work has appeared on FilmDrunk, the UPROXX network, the Portland Mercury, the East Bay Express, and all over his mom’s refrigerator.

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