The Bourne Legacy box office: No. 1, but trailing previous Bourne movies
The Bourne Legacy collected an estimated $40.26 million at 3,745 North American theaters this weekend according to studio figures found at Box Office Mojo. Directed by regular Bourne series screenwriter Tony Gilroy and starring two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner in his first high-profile starring role, The Bourne Legacy didn't disappoint, but it was no runaway hit, either. (Image: The Bourne Legacy, Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing.)
As per early estimates posted on Friday, The Bourne Legacy was expected to gross $45 million over the weekend. Due to the thriller's slightly lower-than-anticipated Friday take (circa $14 million), on Saturday morning weekend estimates were slashed to close to $41m. If studio figures hold (box-office actuals come out Monday), those estimates should have been slashed to close to $40m.
The Bourne Legacy vs. Jason Bourne movies
The Bourne Legacy is enjoying a solid North American debut. That's undeniable, especially taking into account that Gilroy's film features not only a new lead actor, but also a new lead character: Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross has replaced Matt Damon's Jason Bourne. On the other hand, The Bourne Legacy is lagging behind the previous two Bourne movies in box office grosses – even without accounting for inflation – and it's trailing its three predecessors in per-theater averages by a wide margin once inflation is factored in.
Below are box office figures and per-theater averages for the first three Bourne movies on their debut weekend. Bear in mind that all three movies opened at fewer locations than The Bourne Legacy, which averaged an estimated $10,752 per theater at its 3,745 sites.
- Doug Liman's The Bourne Identity took in $27.11 million at 2,638 theaters ($10,280 average) in June 2002 (approximately $37 million / $14,200 average today – or about 40 percent above The Bourne Legacy's average).
- Paul Greengrass' The Bourne Supremacy scored $52.52 million at 3,165 venues ($16,594 average) in July 2004 (approx. $68 million / $21,400 average today).
- Greengrass' The Bourne Ultimatum earned $69.28 million at 3,660 locations ($18,929 average) in August 2007 (approx. $81 million / $22,100 average today).
Additionally, The Bourne Legacy brought in a middling $7.8 million from a handful of international territories, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, and India. The Bourne Legacy will be opening in most major markets later in August and September.
The Bourne Legacy Rotten Tomatoes score
The Bourne Legacy has a mediocre 57 percent approval rating and 6.6/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. That's by far the worst among the Bourne movies. For comparison's sake: The Bourne Identity boasted an 81 percent approval rating and 6.9/10 average; The Bourne Supremacy 74 percent approval rating and 7/10 average; and The Bourne Ultimatum 98 percent approval rating and 8.1/10 average.
For all it's worth, audiences gave the movie a "B" CinemaScore. Whether those scores truly reflect upcoming word of mouth is debatable.
Co-written by Tony Gilroy and his brother, Dan Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy was inspired by Robert Ludlum's Bourne series. In a rare instance of a public figure actually speaking their minds about behind-the-scenes affairs, earlier this year Matt Damon publicly accused Tony Gilroy of writing subpar material for The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon later retracted his statements. The best-reviewed movie in the Bourne series, The Bourne Ultimatum was rewritten by George Nolfi and Scott Z. Burns, with the assistance of director Paul Greengrass.
Bourne movies' production budgets
The Bourne Legacy was budgeted at a reported $125 million, which makes it the most expensive Bourne movie to date – even factoring in inflation. For comparison's sake: The Bourne Identity had its production budget pegged at $60m (approx. $76 million today), The Bourne Supremacy at $75 million (approx. $91 million today), and The Bourne Ultimatum at $110m (approx. $122 million today).
The Bourne Legacy cast
Besides Jeremy Renner, The Bourne Legacy features Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Albert Finney, Oscar Isaac, Donna Murphy, Michael Chernus, Corey Stoll, Zeljko Ivanek, Corey Johnson, Jennifer Kim, Shane Jacobson, David Strathairn, and Joan Allen.
The Bourne Legacy Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing picture: Universal Pictures.