The last weekend of August, the last weekend of the summer period, and there were still some surprises in store. We are well away from the staggering $50 million and plus opening weekend figures, that the summer in its prime brought forth. Now the opening weekend earnings are much lower, but so are generally the production budgets of movies released around this time, leaving the studios with a fair chance of earning a profit after all. Such is the case with the weekend’s numero uno movie, One Direction: This Is Us. A documentary on the music band One Direction charting the rise of its band members from humble beginnings, One Direction: This Is Us opened to $17 million on its first weekend in North America, doing well on its reportedly $10 million production budget. Now if you are wondering about the emergence of this subset between the world of movies and the world of music, then do not be surprised for this seems to be another growing chapter in Hollywood. When Disney released a movie titled Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour back in 2008 surrounding Miley Cyrus’ concert, even they would not have seen the $31 million opening weekend figures coming their way. The floodgates for such music-documentaries were opened, though not each one of them has had a rosy opening as Miley did: Justin Bieber: Never Say Never ($29.5 million), Michael Jackson’s This is It ($23.2 million), Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience ($12.5 million), Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D ($7.1 million), Glee: The 3D Concert Movie ($2.7 million) (the figures in parentheses are the opening weekend domestic earnings). So it’s a fairly decent start for the new movie of this genre, One Direction: This Is Us, and its successful start would undoubtedly result in a few more music-documentaries in the future.
While it would be logical to talk about the movie that featured second at the weekend box office, it is the movie in fifth place that has grabbed the attention of many. A $7.5 million weekend earning seems nothing much to talk about, but when you consider that the film opened in a measly 347 theatres in North America (compare that with the 2,735 theatres at which One Direction: This Is Us had opened), then it becomes something worth mentioning. The movie in question is a Spanish-language flick titled No se Aceptan Devoluciones, which has been re-titled in English as Instructions Not Included. A limited release in USA has still brought in crowds in large numbers making this movie one of the talking points of the week. Considering the movie’s popularity, the studios might add more theatres in the coming weeks, but even if that is not to happen, the film has already left its mark.
While the box office had two surprises to deal with, the rest of the top positions were taken by the old-timers which are in their third or fourth week runs (which tells you the fate of movies released last weekend!). Lee Daniels’ The Butler finally took a drop in position but is still on its way to the $100 million mark in domestic market, We’re the Millers continues its impressive run at third position, and Disney’s low budget animation flick Planes lands at fourth. The other wide release of the weekend was the Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez starrer Getaway which got badly bruised with only $4.5 million earnings on the weekend and some of the worst reviews of the year (can read A 2% score on Rotten Tomatoes). The Eric Bana starrer Closed Circuit too released on the weekend but only across 870 theatres, earning a not so impressive $2.5 million. Well, the weekends aren’t meant to be enjoyed by everyone, are they?
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. One Direction: This Is Us ($17.0 million)
2. Lee Daniels’ The Butler ($14.7 million; third weekend)
3. We’re The Millers ($12.6 million; fourth weekend)
4. Planes ($7.8 million; fourth weekend)
5. Instructions Not Included ($7.5 million)
[UPDATE: The final earnings released by the studios, in fact, places Instructions Not Included in fourth spot with $7.8 million, marginally higher than box office collections of Planes]