[See previous post: "Halle Berry The Call Box Office Surprises."] But if Halle Berry and The Call were good news, Steve Carell and Jim Carrey and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone were bad news indeed — especially for distributor Warner Bros. After all, the $30m-budgeted The Incredible Burt Wonderstone may have trouble reaching $12 million at the U.S. and Canada box office this weekend after bringing in a paltry $3.72 million at 3,160 venues on Friday as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. For comparison’s sake: Josh Gordon and Will Speck’s (somewhat) similarly themed comedy Blades of Glory, starring Will Ferrell, debuted with $33.01 million (not adjusted for inflation) in March 2007. That’s likely more than The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will earn during its entire domestic run. (Photo: Steve Carell The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.)
In all likelihood, the Don Scardino-directed comedy, will be unable to match its budget at the domestic box office. International prospects don’t look all too promising, either, considering that Hollywood comedies usually perform better at home than abroad, while neither Steve Carell nor Jim Carrey is a big box office draw overseas. Besides Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone cast includes Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, and Alan Arkin (coincidentally, a Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for Little Miss Sunshine, mentioned in the previous article).
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is Warner Bros.’ fifth 2013 box office bomb
As for Warner Bros., The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has become the studio’s fifth 2013 bomb, following the Ryan Gosling / Josh Brolin / Emma Stone period thriller Gangster Squad; the Sylvester Stallone box office disaster Bullet to the Head; the fantasy Beautiful Creatures; and, most recently, the Bryan Singer-directed $195m-budgeted Jack the Giant Slayer, starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, and which to date has collected approximately $72 million worldwide.
Although Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Kay Francis, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Rin Tin Tin are no longer around to come rescue the Burbank studio, there’s still hope. Baz Luhrmann’s much-delayed The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton, opens in May.
If that period drama fails, there’s always Todd Phillips’ lowbrow humor by way of The Hangover Part III, which opens that same month and brings back Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper, now boasting in his resume a Best Actor Academy Award nomination (for David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook). And in June there’s Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill in the old Christopher Reeve role, plus a quartet of performers with Academy Award pedigrees: Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and Russell Crowe.
At least one of these three entries should pan out for Warner Bros. Perhaps all three will. The studio surely needs it.
Of note: As a rule of thumb, Hollywood studios earn 50 percent of a movie’s domestic box office gross and 40 percent from the international gross; the rest chiefly goes to exhibitors. Budget figures don’t include marketing and distribution expenses, which can be considerable — and let’s not forget the percentages of a film’s box office gross (or net) that goes to top talent; that’s a form of "latter-day budgetary cost" as well.
Steve Carell The Incredible Burt Wonderstone photo: Warner Bros.