Meryl Streep returned to theaters Wednesday for the first time since winning her third Academy Award for “The Iron Lady.” This time around she’s starring in the intentionally more commercial dramedy “Hope Springs” alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. Unfortunately, the Sony Pictures release isn’t living up to the previous summer successes Streep enjoyed with “Mamma Mia,” “Julie & Julia” or “The Devil Wears Prada.”
“Springs” debuted on just 2,361 screens Wednesday with $2.265 million or $995 per screen. That was good enough for second place behind “The Dark Knight Rises” which remained in no. 1 with $3.6 million and $367 million in just 20 days. “Total Recall” was barely in third with $2.263 million and $34 million in its first six days of release.
Initially promoted as a romantic comedy, Sony Pictures did something of an about face a few weeks ago and started modifying their TV spots to center on the true dramatic nature of the David Frankel directed picture. Certainly not aimed at all audiences, “Springs” has been mostly embraced by critics earning a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid 67 on Metacritic. With the Olympics ending this weekend, Sony is no doubt hoping the picture will generate good word of mouth and older audiences will eventually put it on their must see lists (older audiences traditionally wait till the second or third weekend to see a film). Still, “Springs” could find $15-17 million over the upcoming three-day weekend. That would be a five-day start just below “Julia” which grossed $20 million in 2009. That romantic dramedy mix eventually fount $94.1 million at the box office in the U.S.
New releases opening Friday include “The Bourne Identity” which is expected to gross over $40 million for the three-day and knock “The Dark Knight Rises” from the top spot. “The Campaign,” starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis is expected to make over $25 million.
Look for continuing box office updates all weekend on HitFix.