Directed by José Padilha, and starring Joel Kinnaman and Abbie Cornish, Sony Pictures’ $100 million-budgeted RoboCop 2014 remake opened with disappointing numbers on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Things improved a bit over the weekend, but there’s no denying that RoboCop 2014 will become a major domestic box office bomb. (See also: José Padilha hates ‘RoboCop’ 2014 filmmaking process.)
According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, Padilha’s remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 "classic" (as mentioned elsewhere on this site, just about anything made before 2003 is considered a classic these days) landed in third place this extended Presidents Day Weekend, February 14-17, trailing both Warner Bros.’ overwhelmingly well-received The LEGO Movie and Sony Pictures / ScreenGems’ low-budget romantic comedy About Last Night.
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street), and featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Will Ferrell, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Alison Brie, and Cobie Smulders, The LEGO Movie grossed an estimated $63.51 million at 3,775 theaters over the four-day weekend.
Steve Pink’s Los Angeles-set remake of Edward Zwick’s 1986 movie starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi, and Elizabeth Perkins — itself a bastardized film adaptation of David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago — About Last Night collected a relatively strong (estimated) $28.49 million from 2,253 venues in its first four days out. In the cast: Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald, and Paula Patton. The not so good news for About Last Night is that it was down each day following its Friday, Valentine’s Day, opening; in fact, according to studio estimates it trailed RoboCop 2014 on Monday.
‘RoboCop’ 2014: Far behind ‘RoboCop’ 1987
What should have been a summer blockbuster, RoboCop 2014 opened at a time of the year when action movies generally have underwhelming debuts and short legs. Not surprisingly, the film’s $25.6 million gross over the four-day Presidents Day Weekend was on a par with the (subpar) opening weekend performances of the Bruce Willis actioner Another Day to Die Hard last year and the Nicolas Cage bomb Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance the year before. The former movie, which opened on a Thursday, debuted with $28.64 million at 3,372 sites over the four-day weekend; the latter, which opened on a Friday, collected $25.47 million during the same period. Neither movie managed to hit the $70 million mark in the U.S. and Canada. After six days out, RoboCop 2014′s gross stands at $30.3 million. [Update: RoboCop 2014 raked in $25.06 million over the four-day weekend.]
RoboCop 2014 also trailed the Sony Pictures-distributed remake of another Paul Verhoeven "classic" of that era: the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger box office hit Total Recall. A major domestic bomb, the $125 million Total Recall remake directed by Len Wiseman, and starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale, scored $25.57 million on its first (three-day) weekend out, cuming at a dismal $58.87 million.
And finally, Paul Verhoeven’s own RoboCop 1987, made for a reported $13 million (about $27 million today), opened with $8 million at 1,580 locations in mid-July, eventually cuming at $53.42 million domestically. In 2014 dollars, that represents approximately $17 million on opening weekend (at less than half the number of theaters of the RoboCop 2014) and a $114 million cume. RoboCop 2014 will be lucky if it ends its run with $65 million in North America.
The silver lining: After about ten days, RoboCop 2014 has already collected an estimated $69.9 million internationally, and it has yet to open in a handful of major markets, such as China, Japan, and José Padilha’s native country, Brazil — where Padilha is best known as the director of the controversial 2008 Berlin Film Festival winner Elite Squad and its sequel, Elite Squad 2, officially Brazil’s biggest box office hit ever. Also worth noting, Another Day to Die Hard, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Total Recall 2012 all fared much better at the international box office.
‘RoboCop’ 2014 cast
Besides Joel Kinnaman and Abbie Cornish, RoboCop 2014 features former Batman Michael Keaton, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, Aimee Garcia, Douglas Urbanski, John Paul Ruttan, Patrick Garrow, and Oscar nominees Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Marianne-Jean Baptiste (Secrets & Lies), Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children), and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction). The RoboCop 2014 screenplay is credited to feature-film newcomer Joshua Zetumer.
Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop 1987 was written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. The cast included Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox, Miguel Ferrer, Kurtwood Smith, Robert DoQui, Ray Wise, and veteran Dan O’Herlihy.
Joel Kinnaman RoboCop 2014 photo: Sony Pictures.