Weekend Box Office: ‘Expendables 3’ Opens Terribly And It’s All Because Of PIRATES!

As soon as that story about the leaked copy of The Expendables 3 started going around, there was a palpable sense of “convenient future excuse.” Which brings us to today. The Expendables 3 opened with $16.2 million, down 43% from The Expendables 2, which opened with $28 million domestic in 2012, which was in turn down from The Expendables’ $35 million 2010. Right on cue came the Variety headline “Expendables 3 Flops: Is Piracy to Blame?

Hey, man, they’re just asking the question.

The answer, incidentally, is no. The Expendables is the epitome of a movie you torrent because it’s not worth seeing in the theater. Besides, when the sequel is already doing worse than the first installment, it’s a pretty good sign that your franchise is circling the bowl. Iron Man, by comparison, opened $98m, $128m, and $174m, with the sequels benefiting from greater exposure thanks to the previous installments. People already get tired enough of The Expendables between the announcement of the cast and the release of the movie without there being three of them.

There’s also the matter of making The Expendables 3 PG-13. Right, because teenagers everywhere were clamoring to see Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes relive their youth. That should really win an Oscar for poor decision making. I don’t know how many times it has to be proven that R-rated films that go for it are a much bigger draw than watered-down PG-13 ones before studios start to pay attention. Just compare Neighbors and 22 Jump Street to Robocop.

[Expendables 3] played 66% over the age of 25. [Forbes]

Probably because all those young kids just pirated it, I’m sure!

The Expendables 3‘s audience was 61 percent male. It received an “A-” CinemaScore, which suggests decent word-of-mouth. If it follows the trajectory of the first two movies, it will close around $48 million. [BoxOfficeMojo]

The reported budget was $100 million. Of course, domestic numbers tell only a small part of the story for The Expendables. The first made 62% of its money overseas, the second 72%, and I’d be surprised if the third made less than 80% of its final gross in foreign markets, where aging action stars are still a huge deal (Stallone always did play better to non-native English speakers). Bottom line, it’ll probably make its money back and there will probably be a fourth one, regardless of what us jaded Americans think. But they’ll make it R-rated next time unless they like flushing money directly down the toilet. Nonetheless, I eagerly await The Expendables 4: Stop All The Downloadin’.

While The Expendables 3 opened in fourth, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took number one and Guardians of the Galaxy number two with second and third weekend drops (57 and 41 percent, respectively) comparable to the other hits this year. Guardians is now on pace to pass Captain America 2.

In surprise third place was Let’s Be Cops, the Fuddruckers/Futtbuckers/Buttf*ckers of movie titles, which took $17.7 million for the weekend, though it actually opened on Wednesday and earned $26.1 million from Wednesday-Sunday. Pretty good for a movie with 10% on RottenTomatoes and a B cinemascore. The studio will surely be patting themselves on the back for not screening it for critics, though you have to figure it’d be making even more money if it was actually any good (See: Jump Street, 22).

The Giver, adapted from every girl’s favorite book from junior high, opened in fifth place, with $12.8 million. Hey, did anyone know that was opening this weekend?

That’s about it for this week. Next week brings us Sin City 2: The Saga Of Eva Green’s Awesome Boobs, If I Stay, and When The Game Stands Tall. Hang in there, you guys! Regular season football and movies for adults are just over the horizon!