Three movies opened wide in North America this weekend. None of them created any uproar; not even much of a stir, as each one of them earned below $10 million on the opening weekend. Two of these movies would still not be termed a failure, and the studios may even make some money as the investments were low. But for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the hopes of having a gripping elongated drama filled franchise surely have evaporated. The Twilight wannabes, as such movies based on popular book series on the “young adult” themes are now being called, aren’t coming anywhere close to being termed a success, and are failing to enjoy the affection that the books drew from their fans. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones had a weekend collection of $9.3 million, and while its production budget of $60 million can no longer be termed “expensive” in this age, its box-office collection is still awful and destined to make the studio executives weep. They may hope for a stronger international outing but with weak reviews, there may not be many takers for this fantasy tale. Based on the first book of a six book series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones now joins a growing list of fantasy-filled adventurous book tales that never take off, lacking the heart and soul that made the books popular in the first place. In the desperate search for the next Harry Potter or Twilight series, many great stories have been buried and while the studios may count them as the cost they had to bear to discover the next great franchise, we should see them as opportunities lost to narrate wonderful tales. If only the makers would learn, and work on these movies with more effort and dedication, we might find a winner soon… until then more bodies would roll!
The other movie that released on the weekend, The World’s End starring Simon Pegg opened with $8.9 million at fourth place at the domestic box office, better than Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead in the so-called “trilogy” though the latter movies had opened in much fewer theatres. The figures would be disappointing somewhat but The World’s End is still likely to have a better run than the other two movies and well, at times you take what you get. The third wide release was the horror flick You’re Next and contrary to popular belief it did not really come anywhere near the top of the charts. A $7 million opening weekend figure is all that the movie could muster and probably the audience has had enough of the chills with Mama, The Purge and lately The Conjuring. They too need a break from the spooks to return afresh for Halloween! The budget is likely to have been quite small as is the case with these horror flicks nowadays, so there still should be money made here.
So with disappointing earnings for the new movies, who then stood right at the top? Lee Daniels’ The Butler once again. The strong reviews and lack of any new quality film around is helping the movie stay on course to cross $100 million at the domestic market. With $17 million in the second weekend, that is just a 31% dip over the previous weekend. And eventually if a few Oscars were to fall in this movie’s lap, it would have done much more than it ever set out to! On the other hand, without creating a stir as Lee Daniels’ The Butler is the Jennifer Aniston starrer We’re the Millers that is holding strong even in its third weekend. It has already crossed $90 million in the domestic market, and has given Warner Bros. much to cheer about. Why is this movie doing so well, one can keep guessing, but it seems there are quite a few Aniston fans still around. And the idea of making people laugh… still sells!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler ($17.0 million; second weekend)
2. We’re The Millers ($13.5 million; third weekend)
3. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ($9.3 million)
4. The World’s End ($8.9 million)
5. Planes ($8.6 million; third weekend)