The box office results for the weekend of January 20th – 22nd sees a 3D sequel in Underworld: Awakening, trump anything fresh and new once again. As we’ve seen many times in the last year or two, visual eye-candy is a far more attractive element than having a stellar cast. Here are the studio estimates:
1. Underworld: Awakening ($25.4 million)
2. Red Tails ($19.1 million)
3. Contraband ($12.2 million)
4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ($10.5 million)
5. Haywire ($9 million)
6. Beauty and the Beast 3D ($8.5 million)
7. Joyful Noise ($6 million)
8. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ($5.5 million)
9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows ($4.8 million)
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011 ($3.7 million)
Since 2003, every three years a new installment in the Underworld franchise launches. This fourth installment opened in the range all the previous ones have. And when factoring the 3D and IMAX pricing, the franchise definitely has its core base of fans, but has failed to turn any new followers. Which is fine; but as history shows, the highest grossing film domestically speaking sits at $62 million (Underworld: Evolution). So that $70 million it costs to put this sucker out could be a challenge for Screen Gems to recoup. That said, overseas totals have historically brought each installments gross to around $100 million. And then there’s the all important DVD and On-Demand run. In other words, we’ll see part 5 in 2015.
Red Tails got off the ground nicely and should benefit from being a George Lucas produced product (unless that Indiana Jones IV scar still runs deep). With a production budget of $58 million, the aerial action flick will need to avoid successive 50% drops in the upcoming weeks because chances are this can’t rely on a strong international cushion like so many others have the last couple years.
The best reviewed flick performed the worst out of the newbies (surprise, surprise). Haywire couldn’t attract much even though it whored out its attractive female MMA star for almost year with an ungodly amount of promos. Good news is the star-studded spy flick only rang up a $23 million production bill. Bad news, yours truly is putting this on Flop Alert (kiss of death).
Sleeper Hit: Contraband. Already up to $45 million and only dropping around 50% from its opening weekend will lead to the black ink for Universal. Wait, Universal doesn’t have a dud? Looks like their 100th year anniversary is off to a decent start after all. With marketing costs, the total budget for this is $55 million.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows share the longest streak in the top ten with 6 weeks. In the next few days, MI: IV will cross the $200 million domestic plateau.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close went wide after being in just a handful of theaters for the last 5 weeks. Reasoning being: it’s time to make that all important award push. Having Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock starring in this (well, sort of) will enable this to have a long shelf-life in the top ten during the award season run.
This Friday has another batch of wide releases with The Grey and Man on a Ledge leading the way. Romantic-comdey, One for the Money also joins the party and The Descendants strolls into new markets as well. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.
By Joe Belcastro