Three more releases, and hardly anyone stole the limelight. But while it was still bearable for some, for others the weekend turned into a red-colored nightmare. Of the new releases, it was the “young adult” themed film If I Stay which came out on top, and yet not entirely on top, as it finished third on the box-office charts in North America. A $16.4 million opening is not bad for a $11 million budget movie, but this is the same year when we had the rather outstanding $48 million opening for another YA film The Fault in Our Stars (made on a $12 million budget). The reviews of Chloe Moretz starrer If I Stay are also nowhere close to the acclaim received for the Shailene Woodley starrer The Fault in Our Stars. Nonetheless, Warner Bros. will be expecting the movie to touch about $40 million domestically and a similar turnout in foreign markets would give a good return to this low budget movie. The increasing number of female lead movies is also a positive sign in Hollywood, and quite a few have made a splash this year, The Fault in Our Stars, Lucy, The Other Woman are a few that come to my mind. The availability of varied roles allow talented actors like Chloe Moretz to showcase the extent of their talents, and hopefully there will be more good things to follow.
The other two wide releases had a sub-$10 million opening, though the level of grief felt would be different in each case. The true-story based sports movie When The Game Stands Tall took in $9 million on its opening, which can be termed moderate only for the fact that the movie budget is just $15 million. It’s been a rather dismal year for sports flicks, though this one’s opening is even lower than that of Million Dollar Arm ($10.5 million) and Draft Day ($9.8 million). The reviews of When The Game Stands Tall is also the weakest of the lot. It appears that when it comes to sports movies, the studios really have to pull off something spectacular (like last year’s 42), for mediocre just won’t do; after all one can simply switch to ESPN for a better sporting night! The biggest loss though would be felt by Weinstein / Dimension distributed Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. With a reported budget of around $70 million, the Frank Miller / Robert Rodriguez directed film earned just $6.5 million on the weekend in North America. That is way below the $29 million opening seen by its predecessor in 2005. The original Sin City has a place in the Imdb #250 currently, and a solid 78% on Rottentomatoes. It has a cult following, with cries of a sequel doing the rounds for years. So what went wrong with the sequel? To begin with, it seems they came out with it way too late. Nine years is a long time; a young man who had seen Sin City may be a father now and lost interest in the dark comics. The novel idea behind the visualisation of Sin City is also no longer novel now. And maybe this one has more of a cult following, some die-hard fans, who do not represent the majority audience. Raising the budget from $40 million (for Sin City) to $70 million seemed way too risky, and that has now come to haunt the studio. I had really loved the first movie, and so this debacle of the sequel feels bitter. Maybe one can bury their tears by watching the original once again!
The box-office continues to be led by the old-timers. Guardians of the Galaxy moved back to the top position (even though it is in its fourth weekend now!) and is on its way to become the biggest domestic movie of the year. Worldwide the movie has earned $489 million so far, and we are still waiting to see whether it manages to surpass the $700 million figure like Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In second place is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is having relatively soft drops each weekend and has amassed $145 million in North America so far; it is yet to open in many foreign markets, so still some time before we can praise the overall box-office earnings of the movie. Of the last weekend’s lot, the R-rated $17 million comedy flick Let’ s Be Cops dropped only 38% on its second weekend, making for a quite impressive $45 million over 10-days. As compared to that The Expendables 3 dipped 58% to make for a not so impressive showing of $28 million domestically. Only the non-Americans can save Stallone and his friends now!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Guardians of the Galaxy ($17.6 million; fourth weekend)
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($16.8 million; third weekend)
3. If I Stay ($16.4 million)
4. Let’s Be Cops ($11.0 million; second weekend)
5. When The Game Stands Tall ($9.0 million)