The big story this weekend is that overall box office was down almost 40% from the same weekend last year. Chappie (our review) was number one with a paltry $13.3 million, which still wasn’t nearly as bad as Vince Vaughn’s latest, Unfinished Business (our review), which came in with an estimated $4.8 million in domestic gross, barely cracking the top ten. Chappie was Blomkamp’s worst opening by a margin ($37 million opening for District 9, $29.8 for Elysium), while Unfinished Business was Vince Vaughn’s fifth straight and worst bomb.
Luckily for Sony, Chappie only cost a relatively modest $50 million and doesn’t look to be a major financial disaster.
“The film definitely played in the realm of our expectations,” said Rory Bruer, distribution president of Sony Pictures, which had expected a $14-million opening. [LA Times]
“Neill is a gifted filmmaker, and Chappie is a great character. I do think people wll be talking about this movie for some time to come,” he said. [HollywoodReporter]
I’m perfectly fine with being virtually the only person who actually liked this movie, which earned a 30% recommended rating on Rottentomatoes and a B Cinemascore. Part of its charm was that it reminds you of a kid filming weird sh*t in his backyard.
As for Unfinished Business, it came from the same director as Vince Vaughn’s last flop (Delivery Man), so I’m not sure what anyone was expecting. Here are his last five openings:
- Unfinished Business (2015): $4.8 million
- Delivery Man (2013): $7.9 million (on its way to $30.6 million domestic)
- The Internship (2013): $17.3 million (on its way to $44.6 million domestic)
- The Watch (2012): $12.7 million (on its way to $35.3 million domestic)
- The Dilemma (2011): $17.8 million (on its way to $48.4 million domestic)
Of those, Delivery Man was the only one where the domestic gross exceeded the budget. Unfinished Business (which cost $35 million) looks to be the worst of the bunch, obviously, and with a B- Cinemascore and 13% recommended on Rottentomatoes, that’s probably not going to change, unless the French decide to love Vince Vaughn out of spite like they did with Jerry Lewis. Luckily for Vince Vaughn he has True Detective coming up, which means he can basically continue making lots of money and not really giving a sh*t. You have to appreciate that.
The lone bright (ish) spot of the weekend was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which earned $8.6 million on just 1573 screens and landed in third place behind Focus. I didn’t see it, but I’m told its one of the five best movies ever made about marigold hotels. The first actually made $136.8 million worldwide on a $10 million budget. The sequel is performing similarly. 65% of the audience was female and 80% was older than 35, meaning it was a great place to pick up chicks.
Some industry watchers blamed the weekend’s sluggish performance on the glut of R-rated movies, which… may be… partly true? But I’m guessing the bigger issue is that all the R-rated releases (Focus, Chappie, Unfinished Business) in the past two weeks were just films that people didn’t really like.
“By its very nature, the R rating limits the potential available audience and therefore movies that bear this more restricted rating often have a tougher time generating big numbers than their PG-13 or PG brethren,” Rentrak senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian told TheWrap on Sunday.
“Certainly ‘American Sniper,’ ‘Fifty Shades’ and ‘Kingsman’ proved that there is an audience out there for these films, but each of those had a branding or controversy hook to draw audiences or, in the case of ‘Kinsgman,’ it just looked so darn cool and got solid reviews that it became irresistible,” he said. [TheWrap]
Gosh, brilliant analysis there. “These three R-rated movies that didn’t do well proves my point that R-rated movies have a tough time, despite the three previous R-rated movies that did really well but don’t count because I said so.” R-rated movies people want to see make money, R-rated movies they don’t, don’t. And on that note, American Sniper is now the highest-grossing movie of 2014.
Next week brings us live-action Cinderella and Liam Neeson’s Taken by any other name, Run All Night. Liam Neeson has to protect his son in this one, that’s the twist.