Weekend Box Office: Arnold’s Comeback Bombs

The Guillermo Del Toro-produced Mama debuted at number one over the weekend, once again proving that modestly-budget horror movies are the closest thing to selling legalized crack. It also benefited from the lead actress’s Oscar nomination coinciding with its release. I didn’t see it, but I’ve been sneaking up behind all my friends and whispering “…mama.” all weekend. Meanwhile, Broken City, Allen Hughes’ first solo-directed film without his brother, Albert, with whom he directed Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, and Book of Eli, landed down at number five, with a fairly uninspired nine million. Let’s face it, you dump a movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe into a mid-January release, it’s a pretty good indication that that movie is a fartbomb.

Estimated domestic box office totals for Friday to Sunday.

1. Mama (Universal/Entertainment One) NEW – Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic score: 58

$28,100,000 in 2,647 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $12,530; Cumulative: $28,100,000

2. Zero Dark Thirty (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend: #1

$17,600,000 (-28%) in 2,946 theaters (+9); PSA: $5,974; Cumulative: $55,945,000

3. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 10 ; Last weekend: #10

$11,351,000 (+126%) in 2,523 theaters (+1,713); PSA: $4,499; Cumulative: $55,310,000

4. Gangster Squad (Warner Brothers) Week 2; Last weekend: #3

$9,100,000 (-47%) in 3,103 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,936; Cumulative: $32,220,000

5. Broken City (20th Century-Fox) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic score: 49

$9,000,000 in 2,620 theaters; PSA: $3,435; Cumulative: $9,000,000

But perhaps the biggest story of the weekend is that The Last Stand, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the movies after a nine-year hiatus spent banging maids and governing states, which had all the country’s most obvious-minded critics shouting “Arnold Schwarzenegger is back!”, debuted all the way at number 10, with an estimated $6.6 million.With its $45 million production budget, Indiewire estimates that Lionsgate could be looking at a $50 million loss, unless it makes it up internationally. Though that doesn’t factor in The Last Stand‘s Corvette sponsorship money. But not only did hardly anyone see it, the ones that did gave it a fairly lukewarm B cinemascore. Which is odd, because the Rex Ryan-esque man sitting next to me at my screening kept yelling “HA!” so loud at every joke I thought he was going to shake loose a molar. I didn’t like it that much, but… I don’t know, it seemed like a crowd-pleaser. It does seem weird to have so many hyper-violent, R-rated movies that otherwise seem to be aimed at 10-year-olds.

6. A Haunted House (Open Road) Week 2; Last weekend: #2

$8,330,000 (-52%) in 2,160 theaters (unchanged); PSA:$3,900; Cumulative: $30,000,000

7. Django Unchained (Weinstein) Week 4; Last weekend: #4

$8,243,000 (-25%) in 2,516 theaters (-496); PSA: $3,276; Cumulative: $138,362,000

8. Les Miserables (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend: #5

$7,800,000 (-19%) in 2,579 theaters (-348); PSA: $2,700; Cumulative: $130,400,000

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Warner Brothers) Week 6 ; Last weekend: #6

$6,405,000 (-) in 2,323 theaters (-689); PSA: $2,757; Cumulative: $287,395,000

10. The Last Stand (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metascore: 54

$6,300,000 in 2,913 theaters; PSA: $2,163; Cumulative: $6,300,000 [source: Indiewire]

If there’s a rub here, it’s that the days when you could just stick a big star’s name above the title and make it rain coke money are long over. There are too many entertainment options now. Not to mention, Arnold’s last movies before his hiatus (not including T3 or Expendables cameos) were The 6th Day and Collateral Damage, which weren’t exactly burning down the ticket booths either. It’ll be interesting to see what Summit does with The Tomb (Arnold and Sly) after Bullet to the Head (Sly’s Last Stand, basically) inevitably bombs too. The Last Stand was far from the worst movie ever, it just… it smacked of safe business decisions, which is a strange thing to be saying in an article about it bombing. Look, no one’s a bigger Schwarzenegger fan than me, but maybe we could inject the smallest ounce of creativity into an Arnold-movie premise? Even Michael Jordan had to learn a jump shot.