Weekend Box Office: ‘Hot Pursuit’ And ‘The D-Train’ Arrive With A Fart Noise

The Avengers: Age of Ultron stayed on top of the box office this weekend, which was no surprise. It earned the second highest second weekend gross all time ($77.2 million according to early estimates, behind the first Avengers and ahead of Avatar), to go with its number two all-time opening last weekend ($191 million, according to final numbers). Its 59% second weekend drop is steeper than Avengers (50%) and more or less on par with Iron Man 3 (59.6% to 58.4%), though Iron Man 3‘s second weekend had much more competition. In any case, Age of Ultron has earned $875 million worldwide, and has yet to open in China and Japan. Which, uh… seems pretty good.

The only new movie in wide release this weekend was Hot Pursuit, which looked like a bargain bin DVD from the 90s and performed accordingly. It earned just $13.3 million on a $35 million budget. How a buddy road trip movie cost more than District 9 I’ll never know. I’m hoping it was a tax write-off.

Terrible reviews, and a C+ CinemaScore from audiences, surely hurt the MGM and New Line title, which marks the second-worst nationwide opening for a Witherspoon comedy after How Do You Know ($7.5 million). Also, younger females appeared to largely reject the movie, with 82 percent of the audience over the age of 25, and 46 percent over the age of 50. Overall, females made up 62 percent of the audience, and males, 38 percent.

Hot Pursuit did best in smaller markets in the South, where Witherspoon is a huge draw, as well as in Hispanic markets in the Southwest. [TheHollywoodReporter]

I would’ve assumed that Sofia Vergara’s accent would be less charming to actual Hispanics, but on the other hand, her shirts are cut like every actress’s on the Spanish channels, so that probably has something to do with it.

Sadly, The D-Train, starring Jack Black and James Marsden, did even worse than Hot Pursuit. Opening in 1,009 locations (compared to about 3,000 for Hot Pursuit and about 4,000 for Age of Ultron), it was the widest ever release for specialty distributor IFC Films. It was an inauspicious start: The D-Train grossed an estimated $469,000, or just $465 a screen. Yeesh. Assuming an average ticket price of $10, that breaks down to like 15 people a day at each screen.

It’s a bummer, because I actually really liked The D-Train. Maybe IFC’s inexperience with this kind of release showed, but I’m not sure anyone could’ve done a great job marketing The D-Train.  The best thing about it was the huge twist in the middle, and that wasn’t something you could really put in a trailer. So you end up selling a milquetoast-looking high school reunion movie, which isn’t what people want, and isn’t really what it was anyway. Not to mention Jack Black’s string of bombs, which have surely hurt his drawing power. I’m hoping people discover it, but it’s a tough sell on pretty much every level. I wish they could’ve gotten a bigger-name director to slap his name on it as a producer to sell it to the specialty market. Alexander Payne, maybe. It felt a lot like an Alexander Payne comedy.

Finally, Furious 7 is still chugging away like the little train that lived its life a quarter mile at a time. It is now approaching $1.5 billion worldwide (!!!) for number four all time. I have to imagine Vin Diesel got a chunk of that back-end, which should keep the spring-loaded stilt makers of America in business well into the forseeable future. Hell, he can even afford to put them on his white tigers, GTO and Paul Walker.