Box Office Report: Romance Blossoms & Actioners “Die Hard”

A major trend of the 2013 box office thus far has been the abysmal performances of ultra violent male-skewing actioners, and while Gangster Squad, Broken City, The Last Stand, Parker, and Bullet To The Head all bombed right out of the gate, Hollywood was banking on the legendary John McClane this weekend to prove naysayers wrong and continue the legacy of the Die Hard franchise. Unfortunately, not even Bruce Willis’ charismatic hero could save the box office woes for the action genre, and while A Good Day To Die Hard topped the charts, its victory is hardly anything to cheer about. At least romance fans got their dose of Nicholas Sparks thanks to a surprisingly strong showing for Safe Haven. Click below for a full box office breakdown of the 4-day President’s Day Weekend:

Top 10 Movies (Feb.15-18)
1. A Good Day To Die Hard – $29.3 million
2. Identity Thief –  $27.9 million
3. Safe Haven – $25 million
4. Escape From Planet Earth – $21 million
5. Warm Bodies – $10 million
6.  Beautiful Creatures – $8.9 million
7. Side Effects – $7.8 million
8. Silver Linings Playbook – $7.6 million
9. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – $4.1 million
10. Zero Dark Thirty – $3.6 million

Though the fifth outing in the once prosperous Die Hard franchise topped the 4-day box office with $29.3 million, the victory is somewhat of a letdown considering box office projections had A Good Day To Die Hard grossing upwards of $45 million this weekend. What’s even more troubling news for the aging John McClane is the fact that Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth film of the series released in summer 2007, grossed $33 milllion in 3 days (more when adjusted for inflation), almost $5 million more than this new entry did in 4 days. Ouch! A $29.3 million debut is nothing to cry over, obviously, but it’s a bit of a blow for a series as flashy as Die Hard, and with interest in the franchise and critical reception at an all time low (the film has a paltry 12% on Rotten Tomatoes), this might just be the last time we see John McClane on screen. Once again, an ultra violent male actioner has disappointed at the box office; maybe it’s time we move on?

The same could be said for supernatural romance as the young adult novel adaptation, Beautiful Creatures, bombed in 6th place with a weak $8.9 million. For a film being touted as the next Twilight, this is a huge financial loss for Warner Brothers, though it’s box office failure seems to have more to do with the foolish decision to replicate the Twilight model and less to do with the popularity of the novel and the Oscar-winning cast. Embarrassingly, Creatures debut weekend couldn’t even top the third weekend of rival YA adaptation Warm Bodies, which continued to play extremely well over Valentine’s Day and passed the $50 million mark this weekend.

At least other films found great success. New entries Safe Haven and Escape From Planet Earth blew past expectations this weekend and grossed impressive $25 million and $21 million hauls, respectively. Both of these films prove that genre films – be them romances or animated family movies – can thrive when the market place is hungry for a hit. Valentine’s Day weekend has of course become a go-to frame for romance films, and while Safe Haven’s strong debut is hardly a shock, it’s still quite impressive for a romance with 2 leads who hardly have a proven box office track record (Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough). Most romance movies thrive off of the star power of their leads (The Vow’s Channing Tatum & Rachel McAdams, Dear John’s Channing Tatum & Amanda Seyfried), and the fact that Safe Haven is doing almost the same amount of business as those films is rather remarkable. The same can be said for Escape To Planet Earth, a film that barley anyone knew was even coming out but impressed because the market place was itching for a family film.

In the #2 spot, Melissa McCarthy continued to prove she’s a female comedy A-lister as Identity Thief dropped a slim 19% and lifted its total to $75 million, making the raunchy R-rated comedy the highest grossing film of 2013 so far. In comparison, Seth Gordon’s last R-rated comedy, Horrible Bosses, had grossed $62 million in 11 days, meaning Identity Thief should have no problem surpassing Bosses’ final $117 million gross and becoming the first successful R-rated release since Seth MacFarlane’s Ted last July. While Side Effects’ $10 million debut last weekend was nothing to cheer about, Steven Soderbergh’s medical murder mystery held on extremely well in its second weekend, dropping 30% and proving this twisted thriller has some good worth of mouth in its favor (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, go see it asap!). However, no good word of mouth can surpass the public praise that has helped Silver Linings Playbook reach $100 million in 14 weeks of release; this weekend, the critical and fan darling joined the Oscar $100 million club along side Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, and Les Miserbales, all of which posted gains this weekend during the final frame before the Oscars this Sunday.

One more thing – in its 10th weekend of release, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey climbed to $300 million, making it yet another Lord of the Rings centered movie to do so. When it opened to a somewhat underwhelming $84 million in December, many were saying that The Hobbit would never reach the $300 million milestone but never count out Peter Jackson! While it may not be able to pass any of the LOTR films domestically, The Hobbit is still a blockbuster with almost $1 billion worldwide. Clearly, the decision to split this final book into three movies could very well pay off in spades for New Line Cinema.

Did you go to the movies this weekend? What did you see?

Article by Zack Sharf

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