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Sylvester Stallone 'The Expandables' Tops, Julia Roberts Runner-Up

Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love
Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love

Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables grossed slightly less than estimated at the North American box office this weekend (Aug. 13-15), collecting $34.82 million at 3,270 locations. Its per-theater average was $10,650, according to box office actuals found at Box Office Mojo.

Directed and co-written by Stallone, The Expendables, also stars Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, and David Zayas, in addition to Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

At no. 2, the Ryan Murphy-directed Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem romance Eat Pray Love took in $23.1 million at 3,082 venues, averaging $7,497 per-theater.

The no. 3 movie was the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg action-comedy The Other Guys, which earned $17.4 million – down 51 percent from a week ago.

The Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller/sci-fier Inception pulled in $11.28 million at no. 4, while the Edgar Wright-Michael Cera effort Scott Pilgrim vs. the World scored only $10.6 million at no. 5. Most worrisome is the film's alarming 25.1 percent Friday-to-Saturday drop-off rate.

At no. 6, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me, grossed $6.97 million.

Next in line were Jon Chu's Step Up 3-D with $6.9 million and the Steve Carell-Paul Rudd comedy Dinner for Schmucks with $6.28 million.

Rounding out the top twelve were Angelina Jolie's Salt with $6.21 million, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore with $4.19 million, Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3 with $2.22 million, Zac Efron's Charlie St. Cloud with $2.11 million.

Among the top twelve movies, The Expendables had the highest per-theater average, $10,650, followed by Eat Pray Love with $7,497. Only on its third weekend out, Charlie St. Cloud had the lowest, $1,015.

Also among the top twelve (barring the three new entries), Despicable Me posted the lowest drop-off rate compared to last weekend, a low down 24.9 percent followed by Toy Story 3 with a nearly as low down 28.7 percent. Step Up 3-D had the highest, down 56.3 percent, followed by Charlie St. Cloud with down 55 percent.

Photo: Eat Pray Love (François Duhamel / Columbia Pictures)

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Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, The Expendables
Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone's violent actioner The Expendables topped the North American box office this weekend (Aug. 13-15), taking in $35.03 million at 3,270 locations for a solid $10,713 per-theater average, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Directed and co-written by Stallone, The Expendables, also stars a whole array of middle-aged and post-middle-aged (elderly?) action stars: Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, and David Zayas, in addition to Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Expendables, which received a B+ audience rating as per CinemaScore, opened at the lower end of expectations following a hefty 11 percent drop on Saturday and another (estimated) 17 percent on Sunday. In other words, if studio estimates are correct, on Sunday The Expendables lost more than a quarter of its Friday business. That isn't exactly great news or a sign of box office longevity. (Perhaps B+'s aren't what they used to be?)

Now, will the independently made $82 million film (plus $40 million distributor Lionsgate spent on marketing) make money? Well, according to the Los Angeles Times' Ben Fritz, about $50 million have been covered by foreign pre-sales, while Lionsgate spent $20 million to acquire it for distribution in the US, Canada, and the UK.

So, Lionsgate has about $60 million invested in The Expendables which may collect $80m-$100 million domestically, depending on the magnitude of its inevitable tumble next weekend. For the movie to break even (for Lionsgate) at the domestic box office, it would have to pull in about $110m-$120 million.

That doesn't seem very likely, but there's still the UK market and then ancillary revenues. Though hardly a major hit, The Expendables is certainly no flop, either.

By the way, even before the last box office cash register stopped ringing, Stallone announced that he's planning a sequel to The Expendables.

Photo: The Expendables (Karen Ballard / Lionsgate)

Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love, Ryan Murphy
Julia Roberts in Ryan Murphy's Eat Pray Love

At no. 2, the Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem romance Eat Pray Love, which received about as many negative reviews as Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, brought in $23.7 million at 3,082 venues, for a good but hardly exceptional $7,690 per-theater average according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Much like The Expendables, Eat Pray Love opened at the lower end of expectations, following an estimated 4.1 percent drop on Saturday and another 13.5 percent drop on Sunday. (For comparison's sake: The Expendables tumbled 11 percent on Saturday and 17 percent on Sunday.)

Generally speaking, movies that don't go up on their first Saturday tend to have briefer runs than those that do, as that's a sign the buzz isn't all that strong. (There are exceptions, of course, e.g., Despicable Me.)

The longevity of the Ryan Murphy-directed, $60 million production set in Italy, India, and Indonesia will become clearer next weekend, when Eat Pray Love's drop-off rate is announced.

The no. 3 movie this weekend was last weekend's no. 1, the Adam McKay-directed Mark Wahlberg-Will Ferrell action-comedy The Other Guys, which drew $18 million – down 49 percent (not great; not terrible) from a week ago. Total after ten days: $70.54 million. Cost: $100 million.

There's no chance The Other Guys will be able to recover its production costs at the U.S. and Canada box office (after exhibitors take their 45%-50 percent cut).

Another 50 percent or so drop next weekend, and the Wahlberg-Ferrell flick will be collecting less than $10 million.

But there's always the foreign market and ancillary venues.

Photo: Eat Pray Love (François Duhamel / Columbia Pictures)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception
Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception

Up one spot from Friday, the Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller/sci-fier Inception scored $11.37 million at no. 4 following a 38.6 percent attendance drop from the previous weekend – its steepest to date – according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Inception lost only 298 theaters (it's currently playing at 3,120 locations), but competition from Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World clearly sapped away some of its box office strength.

Even so, Inception's per-theater average was a sturdy $3,644 on its fifth weekend out. For comparison's sake: on weekend no. 5, the Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart-Taylor Lautner romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse averaged $1,720 at 2,334 sites.

To date, Inception has grossed $248.55 million. It'll pass the $250 million mark either on Monday or Tuesday. Cost: $160 million.

Also in the Inception cast: Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Hardy.

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Proving once again that North American audiences want quality fare – if you make good movies, they'll come – Sylvester Stallone's widely panned A-budgeted B flick The Expendables was the no. 1 movie on Friday, grossing an estimated $13.25 million at 3,270 locations for a solid $4,052 per-theater average, according to Box Office Mojo.

Directed and co-written by Stallone, The Expendables, which has a mere 38 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics, also stars Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, and David Zayas, and features Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It's still unclear whether The Expendables will gross the $35m-$40 million box office pundits and clairvoyants were expecting earlier in the week. The latest box office predictions had The Expendables topping $34 million – or several million less than originally predicted.

At no. 2, the Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem romance Eat Pray Love drew $8.5 million at 3,082 venues, for a good but hardly great $2,758 per-theater average on its first day out.

Until fairly recently, pundits were claiming that the movie star was dead. Eat Pray Love, for one, much like Angelina Jolie's Salt and Adam Sandler's Grown Ups, wasn't “trending” or “tracking.” Well, Salt and Grown Ups went on to make tons of money domestically, while thanks to Julia Roberts' presence Eat Pray Love had a decent summer opening for a movie you'd normally see coming out in the fall.

Based on a true story about a woman who finds food, enlightenment and love, Eat Pray Love has been marketed as a “date movie.” Apparently, lots of guys preferred dating one another while watching Stallone and his bunch of aging, muscled mercenaries, but Eat Pray Love may have a longer life at the box office because “date” movies tend to have smaller drop-off rates than action flicks.

Having said that, reviews for the Ryan Murphy-directed romantic flick haven't been at all enthusiastic: 38 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. An example: following a solid opening weekend, the poorly received Sex and the City 2, which was also geared to women, sank rather rapidly. In other words, Eat Pray Love's fate at the box office is up in the air.

The no. 3 movie was last weekend's champ, the Adam McKay-directed Mark Wahlberg-Will Ferrell action-comedy The Other Guys, which took in $5.6 million – down a hefty 57 percent from a week ago.

The Expendables (Karen Ballard / Lionsgate); Eat Pray Love (François Duhamel / Columbia Pictures)

Zac Efron, Ray Liotta, Charlie St. Cloud
Zac Efron, Ray Liotta in Charlie St. Cloud

Following Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at no. 4 (more details in a follow-up post), every movie on the top-twelve chart was pushed down three notches following the openings of Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, the Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem vehicle Eat Pray Love, and the Edgar Wright-Michael Cera-Mary Elizabeth Winstead effort Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Friday.

Also, gone from the top twelve – this time around, probably for good: Selena Gomez's Ramona and Beezus, the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the Jon Turteltaub-Nicolas Cage effort The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the Annette Bening-Julianne Moore-Mark Ruffalo family comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right, and the Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups.

At no. 5, the Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller/sci-fier Inception, collected $3.33 million in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

At no. 6, Jon Chu's Step Up 3-D earned $2.27 million (down a whopping 66 percent from last Friday). It was followed by Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, and Julie Andrews with $2.06 million at no. 7.

Jay Roach's comedy Dinner for Schmucks, starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, earned $2 million in eighth place.

Rounding out the top twelve were Angelina Jolie's Salt with $1.9 million, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore with $1.23 million, Zac Efron's Charlie St. Cloud with $730,000, and Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3 with $605,000.

Among the top twelve movies, The Expendables had the highest per-theater average, $4,052, followed by Eat Pray Love with $2,758 and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with $1,611. On its third Friday out, Charlie St. Cloud had the lowest, $350.

The Zac Efron weepie co-starring Amanda Crew and Ray Liotta will be gone from the top twelve within the week. Universal made a big mistake releasing this one during the busy summer season.

Also among the top twelve (barring the three new entries), Step Up 3-D posted the highest attendance increase compared to Thursday, up 62.4 percent. Charlie St. Cloud had the lowest, up 5 percent.

Photo: Charlie St. Cloud (Universal Pictures).

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Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, The Expendables
Javier Bardem, Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love
Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Love Is All Around: Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in Stallone's The Expendables (top); Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts in Ryan Murphy's Eat Pray Love (middle); Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs the World (bottom)

Friday the 13th at the North American box office. Lucky or unlucky? Well, neither, really.

With three major, eagerly awaited new releases, business had nowhere to go but up. But “up” may not necessarily mean through the roof and toward the stars.

Sylvester Stallone's all-brawn-no-brain actioner The Expendables was, as expected, the no. 1 movie on Friday according to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com. However, unless those early estimates are off – $13.5 million (up from $13m*) on Friday; $34 million for the weekend – The Expendables will fall several million below the $35m-$40 million some had been expecting.

Starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem, Eat Pray Love was the no. 2 movie on Friday, with $9 (down from $9.8m) and an estimated $26.5 million (down from $28.3m) for the weekend. Unlike The Expendables, Eat Pray Love will likely have a longer life at the box office and lower drop-off rates in the coming weeks. Action movies tend lose 50%-60 percent of their take on their second weekend, and The Expendables hasn't exactly received stellar reviews.

At no. 3 was the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy The Other Guys with $5.7 million (up from $5.5m) on Friday and $17.2 million (up from $17m) for the weekend. That would be about half of what it made last week.

Now, the big Friday disappointment was Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which was supposed to have lured all the geeks and nerds in the western section of the Northern Hemisphere.

Whether the geeks opted to stay home playing videogames while the nerds went looking for thrills and/or inspiration at theaters showing either The Expendables or Eat Pray Love I don't know, but Scott Pilgrim scored an estimated $4.7 million (down from $5.2 million) on Friday for a possible $11 million (down from $13.3m) weekend total.

If so, Scott Pilgrim will have a debut about as (un)successful as Zac Efron's Charlie St. Cloud.

The no. 5 movie is expected to be the Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller/sci-fier Inception, with $3.4 million on Friday and $11.5 million for the weekend.

* The figures found in this article were revised with later estimates also found at Deadline.com. Official studio estimates for Friday will be released Saturday morning.

Note: Those are early, rough estimates that will likely have to be modified on Saturday, when official studio estimates are released.

Friday, Aug. 12

Three major releases open today in North America (and other parts of the world): the Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem Eat Pray Love (sometimes curiously misspelled as “Eat Prey Love”), the Sylvester Stallone ubermacho actioner The Expendables, and the Edgar Wright-Michael Cera effort Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Expect the box office to go Boom! like some of the vehicles and people in Stallone's film – though how big (or bloody) said boom remains to be seen.

The U.S. and Canada box office, which fell on its face on Wednesday, remained basically sprawled on the ground on Thursday, Aug. 12: six among the top twelve movies were up; six were down. With the exception of Toy Story 3, which was up 10.5 percent, all other fluctuations remained below – mostly well below – the 10 percent mark, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo.

The Adam McKay-directed Mark Wahlberg-Will Ferrell action-comedy The Other Guys was – obviously for the very last time – the top film, grossing $3.48 million. Following a down 7.6 percent drop, The Other Guys, which passed the $50 million milestone yesterday, fell below the daily $1,000-per-theater mark only on its seventh day out.

Since Monday, The Other Guys has lost 30 percent of its audience. Box office cume to date: $52.54 million. Also in the Other Guys cast: Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dwayne Johnson.

At no. 2, the Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio thriller/sci-fier Inception, grossed $2.17 million. It'll quite possibly pass the $250 million mark on Sunday. If not, it'll get very, very close. Inception's total to date stands at $237.1 million.

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5 Comments to Sylvester Stallone 'The Expandables' Tops, Julia Roberts Runner-Up

  1. James Breen

    That Americans have chosen to turn out for the most violent film of the weekend is no surprise. Everyone wants to show up at the theater just so they don't feel left out of the zeitgeist. Personally, I don't find anything positive can come from an actor who has chosen to regress back to 80's crap action material that, in the end, no one but the drinkers of the Stallone action Kool aid can really appreciate on anything but an ironic level.

  2. greg

    I saw this comment on another site “Eric Roberts beats Julia Roberts.” First The Dark Knight and now this, the guy has gotten his mojo back.

  3. Spider

    Let's not knock Sly's effort just yet! “The Expendables” has opened 10 million greater than “The A-Team” and is poised to not just topple that flick, but Tom Cruise's “Knight and Day”, “The Other Guys”, and “Dinner For Schmucks”; high profile flicks that underperformed. Also, “The Expendables” has yet to open overseas, as well. That $110-$120 million figure will be recouped through the overseas market, that's for sure! For a flick being criticized for lack, or abscence of story, wooden acting, and starring so-called has-beens and never-will be's(though, it's just a matter of opinion, or ENVY), the flick delivered what it set out to do and opened to respectable numbers. I applaud Sly's effort. Bring on “Expendables 2”!

  4. zac

    @ Ben

    Valid points all. Thanks for writing.

  5. Ben

    It's funny you compare Scott Pilgrim to Charlie St. Cloud. They scored about the same box office but doesn't it show actually why Zac Efron is much more of a star than people are giving him credit for.

    Scott Pilgrim had a large advertising campaign with promotion building for 15 months, it had a large cast behind the star Michael Cera who could promote it, and it had great reviews.

    Charlie St. Cloud had terrible advertising that started only 11 weeks before the film came out, Zac Efron was the only one pushing it, and it had terrible reviews.

    There were many reasons for people to turn up to Scott Pilgrim. Where as Zac Efron's the only reason people turned up to Charlie St. Cloud and he did equal business.

    It is unfortunate for Scott Pilgrim and for Zac Efron. Both deserved better than Universal.