Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Ride Along Cruises to the Top Again

Scott looks at a less than super weekend at the box office, and analyzes what led to the numbers.

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Super Bowl weekend has come and gone, and while people may not have found much entertainment in the drama and the intensity of the big game, there was equally as little excitement in the theatres. This year’s Super Bowl weekend fell $3 million short of last year’s dismal tally, and there was only one movie that managed to crack double digit millions. That movie was Ride Along, which stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, which made $12 million and held onto the first place spot for the third weekend in a row.

Debuting this weekend was That Awkward Moment, an R-rated romantic comedy starring Zac Efron. Before the weekend hit, I was rambling on about how the R-rating does not make sense for a movie starring someone whose fan base may not be old enough to gain admittance, and it turns out that I may have been correct. Boxoffice.com posted that the 61% of the audience was under the age of 25, which would mean that grouping was only represented by those over 18. That is a very small age window to have for your main demographic, and it showed in the $8.7 million opening weekend that it scored.

I am left to believe that if the film was without the R-rating, it could have easily tapped into the larger fan-base of the teen heart-throb, and would have been able to be much more successful. As it is, it is the 21st worst opening weekend for a Super Bowl weekend movie, being beaten by movies like Spice World ($10 million opening weekend), which opened in less theatres and had lower ticket prices. Teen oriented movies can succeed on this weekend; they just have to be accessible to the audience. Luckily for the movie they are sitting on a very low budget of $8 million, which means they do not have very far to go to make their money back.

Also opening this weekend was Labour Day, a movie that looked amazing on paper as it stars Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and is directed by Jason Reitman. As good as the talent attached to it looks, it would appear as the film has mostly been rejected by critics and fans alike, as it now has a Rotten Tomato rating of 32%, and was only able to bring in $5 million. The film that once had eyebrows raised over the possibilities of Oscar nominations (before it was screened), now has the unfortunate ability to brag about being the 30th worst opening for a movie released in over 2,500 theatres. Unlike That Awkward Moment, Labour Day has a larger budget ($18 million) and it may have a hard time reaching profitability.

Now, it would be a shame to simply mention those two movies and not talk about a few of the interesting notes from this past weekend. First, as mentioned earlier, Ride Along has managed to hold onto first place for a third weekend in a row, showing just how much audiences are enjoying Kevin Hart, and ensuring that Hart will be getting more roles in the future. Also, and most impressive, is the fact that once again Frozen has found itself in the top three in the box office. It managed to beat out That Awkward Moment by only a few hundred thousand dollars, and saw an amazing drop of only -2% since last weekend due to the fact that a sing-along version of the film was released. It has now been in wide release for 10 weeks and has never dropped below 5th place in the box office.

Lastly, American Hustle has showed great staying power as it landed in 8th place this weekend, and has been in the top ten in the seven weeks since it hit wide release. It has now reached a domestic total of $133 million, and a world-wide cume of $176 million. Other Oscar nominated pictures have held on very well are The Wolf of Wall Street occupying 10th, August: Osage County in 11th place,12 Years a Slave at number 13, and Dallas Buyers Club coming in 14th spot.

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