[See previous post: "James Franco 2013: From Oz the Great and Powerful to Kink."] Written and directed by Harmony Korine, and featuring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine, the crime comedy-drama Spring Breakers raked in an estimated $270k at three locations this weekend according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. The low-budget Spring Breakers averaged an impressive $90k per venue – 2013's best per-theater average to date by a wide margin. (Image: James Franco and Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine. In case you didn't notice, on James Franco's arm is the map of Florida. Or something that looks like it.)
Spring Breakers vs. The King's Speech, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty
For comparison's sake, in late 2010, Tom Hooper / Colin Firth's The King's Speech averaged $88,863 on its first weekend out; in late 2012, Steven Spielberg / Daniel Day-Lewis' Lincoln averaged $85,846, while the average for Kathryn Bigelow / Jessica Chastain's Zero Dark Thirty was $83,430. So, does that mean the A24-distributed Spring Breakers will become a top box office hit?
Well, first of all, let's add a little context: The King's Speech opened at four locations – that's a 33 percent increase in number of venues compared to Spring Breakers. Lincoln opened at 11 theaters, or nearly four times as many as Spring Breakers, while Zero Dark Thirty debuted at five locations. When we're discussing platform releases, the addition of one or two theaters can mean a huge difference in per-theater-average figures.
Also, a great beginning in a platform release doesn't necessarily translate into a long and healthy box office run. Last year, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, averaged $147,262 at five locations on its first weekend. The Weinstein Company release ended up cuming at a highly disappointing $16.37m.
Spring Breakers: Low-budget hit in the making?
But then again, considering that Spring Breakers, despite the presence of James Franco, Selena Gomez, et al., reportedly cost only $2 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses, and in all probability some form of box-office-gross-sharing with its top talent), it seems all but inevitable that the movie will turn up a profit. Spring Breakers has already done solid business in France, where it grossed $2.06 million last weekend (which includes Wed. and Thu.). In Italy, its performance was a more modest $683k in four days.
Of note: Spring Breakers is currently no. 22 on Box Office Mojo's all-time (as in, post-1982) box office chart for domestic opening-weekend per-theater averages, smack between Terrence Malick / Brad Pitt's The Tree of Life ($93,230) and The King's Speech. However, once the Inflation Factor is taken into account, Spring Breakers drops to the 46th spot, sandwiched between Joan Micklin Silver / Amy Irving's Crossing Delancey ($91,490) and David Leland / Emily Lloyd's Wish You Were Here ($89,787).
Besides James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine, the Spring Breakers cast includes Heather Morris, Lauren Vera, Emma Holzer, and Gucci Mane.
Upcoming 2013 James Franco movies
Whether set or tentatively set or possibly set for 2013, James Franco has a whole array of movies about the come out. Those include the aforementioned (in the preceding post) Sundance Film Festival entry Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried as former porn star Linda Lovelace and with Franco as Hugh Hefner (if the IMDb is to be believed, the film opens in Brazil later this year; no US release date yet); the James Franco-directed Child of God, in which Franco plays a loner living in a mountain cave in Tennessee; and the omnibus drama Black Dog, Red Dog, which Franco co-directed and is featured along with Logan Marshall-Green, Whoopi Goldberg, Chloë Sevigny, Tim Blake Nelson, Olivia Wilde, Tom Lipinski, and Dan Hedaya.
Also: James Franco stars in Gary Fleder's action thriller Homefront, which also features Jason Statham, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon's Rachelle Lefevre; Paul Haggis' The Third Person, with Franco, his Oz the Great and Powerful co-star Mila Kunis, Kim Basinger, Maria Bello, Liam Neeson, Casey Affleck, Adrien Brody, and Olivia Wilde as English speakers dealing with romantic issues in New York, Paris, and Rome; and Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's This Is the End, in which a number of disparate celebrities (Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Rihanna, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, etc.) attending a party at James Franco's house unexpectedly come face to face with the apocalypse.
Barring a real-life apocalypse, there'll be even more James Franco in 2014: True Story, and possibly Zeroville, The Adderall Diaries, and Franco's "People Movies" – Good People, Beautiful People, and The Ten O'Clock People.
James Franco and Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine photo: A24.