'A Good Day to Die Hard': Bruce Willis has anything but a good box office weekend
The latest Bruce Willis Die Hard movie, A Good Day to Die Hard, is having a merely acceptable weekend at the North American box office. The perfect date movie, A Good Day to Die Hard grossed a passable (for such a popular franchise) $8.23 million at 3,553 sites on Thursday, Valentine's Day, in addition to an estimated $25 million on the weekend proper (Feb. 15–17), according to figures found at Boxofficemojo.com.
A Good Day to Die Hard's domestic cume stands at $33.23 million after four days. That's not exactly a great debut, considering that Monday is a semi-major holiday – Presidents Day – in the United States.
The Big Question: Will A Good Day to Die Hard reach $40 million by Monday evening? That's certainly a possibility, but it's not guaranteed. Either way, if studio weekend box office estimates are on target, the widely lambasted Bruce Willis action flick – which currently has a putrid 10 percent approval rating and 4/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics – will surely get very close to that mark. For comparison's sake: the previous Die Hard movie, Live Free or Die Hard, scored $48.39 million in its first five days out.
Bruce Willis vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham
So, is A Good Day to Die Hard a domestic box office hit or a flop? Well, if compared to the box office performances of the latest action vehicles starring Bruce Willis' fellow The Expendables actors, Willis' own action thriller looks as big as James Cameron's Titanic: Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand opened with $6.28 million (cume: a disastrous $11.95 million after five weekends); Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head took in $4.54 million in its first three days (cume as of Feb. 14: a cataclysmic $8.99 million after two weeks); and Jason Statham's Parker debuted with $7 million (cume: an embarrassing $16.97 million after four weekends).
Having made the above comparisons, let me remind you of a crucial fact: Unlike A Good Day to Die Hard, none of the aforementioned Stallone / Schwarzenegger / Statham movies is a sequel.
In fact, A Good Day to Die Hard is much bigger than The Last Stand, Bullet to the Head, and Parker not because of Bruce Willis, who hasn't had a major non-Die Hard box office hit since M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable 13 years ago, but because the John Moore-directed flick has the words “Die Hard” in the title. People flock to brands, no matter how crappy.
On the other hand, if compared to Willis' previous Die Hard movies, A Good Day to Die Hard is undeniably a box office disappointment – though, admittedly, it's the first Die Hard movie to open outside the late spring/summer season. (Image: Bruce Willis as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard.)
- Directed by John McTiernan (currently facing a one-year prison sentence for lying to the FBI during the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping investigation), the original Die Hard (1988) brought in $7.5 million (approximately $14 million today) at 1,276 locations on its first weekend in wide release (and second weekend out), July 22-24. Die Hard ended its run with $83 million (approx. $162.5 million today) in North America, according to figures found at Boxofficemojo.com.
- Renny Harlin's Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) grossed $21.74 million (approx. $41 million today) at 2,507 venues on its opening weekend (July 6-8), cuming at $117.54 million (approx. $224 million today).
- Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), brought back director John McTiernan, and earned $22.16 million (approx. $41 million today) at 2,525 sites on opening weekend (May 19-21), cuming at $100.01 million (approx. $185 million today).
- Len Wiseman's Live Free or Die Hard (2007) opened on a Wednesday, collecting $9.11 million at 3,172 locations. On its first weekend out (June 29-July 1), Live Free or Die Hard scored $33.36 million (approx. $39 million today) at 3,408 sites, ultimately cuming at $134.52 million (approx. $157.5 million today).
If its first five days are any indication of A Good Day to Die Hard's box office appeal, chances are that this latest Bruce Willis action flick will face an uphill battle to reach $110 million – thus making it by far the least successful Die Hard movie ever in the U.S. and Canada.
'Die Hard': International blockbuster
Now, considering that Live Free or Die Hard had shown that Bruce Willis' John McClane was losing his stamina, why would 20th Century Fox come up with another expensive Die Hard movie?
Well, A Good Day to Die Hard's reported $92 million budget (not including marketing and distribution expenses) may be justified once we look at the Die Hard movies' international box office figures (not adjusted for inflation): Die Hard $57.75m; Die Hard 2: Die Harder $122.49 million; Die Hard: With a Vengeance $266.08 million; Live Free or Die Hard $249 million.
To date, A Good Day to Die Hard has grossed an estimated $79.6 million in 63 territories, including $61 million this weekend. That represents about 70 percent of the film's current worldwide gross. And that – the international market – is the reason movies such as A Good Day to Die Hard get made.
Set in Russia, Bruce Willis' fifth Die Hard movie collected $6.7 million in that country (plus the other CIS countries). The film's other top territories were the UK with $7.6 million, Japan with $6.8 million, Germany with $6.4 million, and Mexico with $3.2 million. And remember that A Good Day to Die Hard has yet to open in several top markets, e.g., France, Brazil, and Australia.
'Die Hard' movies' budget
And finally, here's another set of comparisons: the Die Hard movies' budgets.
- Die Hard cost $28 million (approx. $54 million today).
- Die Hard 2: Die Harder cost $70 million (approx. $123 million today).
- Die Hard: With a Vengeance cost $90 million (approx. $136 million today).
- Live Free or Die Hard cost $110 million (approx. $122 million today).
- A Good Day to Die Hard cost $92 million.
To match the original Die Hard's budget-to-box-office ratio, A Good Day to Die Hard would have to gross $273 million at the North American box office. To match Live Free or Die Hard's ratio, Bruce Willis' latest Die Hard movie would have to earn $113 million domestically. At this stage, $113 million looks only slightly more attainable than $273 million. We'll see.
Bruce Willis toplines 'A Good Day to Die Hard' cast
In addition to Bruce Willis, A Good Day to Die Hard features Jai Courtney as John McClane's son, Jack McClane, plus Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed), Cole Hauser (Olympus Has Fallen), Yuliya Snigir (Kokoko), Radivoje Bukvic (Beloved), and Amaury Nolasco (The Rum Diary). Among director John Moore's previous credits are the Mark Wahlberg flop Max Payne, and the remakes The Omen, with Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles, and The Flight of the Phoenix, with Dennis Quaid and Tyrese Gibson.
A Good Day to Die Hard Bruce Willis as John McClane photo: 20th Century Fox.
Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief overperforms; Steven Soderbergh Side Effects disappoints: Box office
Feb. 9: Starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, the Seth Gordon-directed comedy Identity Thief grossed an estimated $11.2 million at 3,141 theaters on Friday, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. That's considerably above expectations. As a result, instead of earning around $25 million over the weekend as some pundits had predicted, Identity Thief is on its way to something closer to $33m-$35 million, depending on the after-effects of winter storm Nemo, which just hit the U.S. northeast. (Image: Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief.)
For comparison's sake: Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses, featuring an ensemble cast that included Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, opened with $9.9 million on its first day out in July 2011. Paul Feig's Bridesmaids, another ensemble comedy featuring eventual Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Maya Rudolph, debuted with $7.8 million in May 2011. And the Jason Bateman / Ryan Reynolds comedy The Change-Up debuted with a mere $4.77 million in August 2011.
Horrible Bosses went on to gross 28.3 million over its debut weekend, cuming at $117.53 million in North America and $209.63 million worldwide. Bridesmaids raked in $26.29 million on its opening weekend, reaching $169.1 million domestically and $288.38 million worldwide. In both cases, the two broad comedies performed quite a bit better in the U.S. and Canada than internationally; expect much the same trajectory for Identity Thief.
A box office bomb in North America, The Change-Up brought in only $37.08 million domestically, in addition to a slightly better $38.36 million overseas for a grand worldwide total of $75.45 million.
To date, the best 2013 weekend debut belongs to the Jessica Chastain horror thriller Mama, which grossed $28.4 million in mid-January. Note: Mama had the advantage of Martin Luther King Day's Monday holiday, which surely helped to boost attendance at Sunday evening shows. Either way, Identity Thief should easily surpass Mama's box office booty.
Identity Thief: “Heights of laziness and idiocy”
As the saying goes, If you offer audiences good movies, they'll flock to your theaters. Salon.com's Andrew O'Hehir might disagree with that statement. In his Identity Thief review, O'Hehir wrote: “Considering that it starts out with two distinctive and likable stars and a reasonably promising premise, Identity Thief reaches impressive heights of laziness and idiocy.” According to reports, the Melissa McCarthy / Jason Bateman combo performed particularly well in what's called the American Heartland – for those in denial, that is. After all, if the U.S. has a pulse, it's to be found in its urban centers.
Anyhow, whether New York City is the U.S.'s heart or brain or elbow, Identity Thief currently has a 26 percent approval rating and a 4.1/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Besides Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, the Identity Thief cast includes Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, and John Cho.
Warm Bodies plummets, Steven Soderbergh flops
At no. 2, Warm Bodies is expected to gross less than $10 million over the weekend, after plummeting 60 percent on Friday, taking in $3.3 million. Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer star in the zombie romantic comedy.
Steven Soderbergh's latest – and maybe, maybe not last – movie, the crime thriller Side Effects, scored a highly disappointing $2.8 million at 2,605 locations on Friday. Much like Warm Bodies, Side Effects will fail to reach $10 million this weekend, grossing somewhere around $8 million.
That would represent a paltry $3,000 or so per-theater average,which is particularly disappointing for a movie featuring Channing Tatum (who had much better luck last year with the melodrama The Vow, opposite Rachel McAdams), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Rooney Mara, Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago; Zeta-Jones was also featured in Soderbergh's Traffic), and two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law.
Soderbergh's action flick Haywire, which also featured Channing Tatum (in a supporting role) and opened with $2.9 million, went on to cume at a measly $18.94 million. Side Effects will likely not fare much better.
Rounding out the top five movies this weekend should be David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, with approximately $5.5-6 million ($1.6 million on Friday) and the Jeremy Renner / Gemma Arterton action / fantasy Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters with around $5 million ($1.4 million on Friday).
Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief photo: Universal Pictures.
Tom Cruise 'Top Gun' 3D to beat Steven Spielberg & Harrison Ford?
Feb. 9: Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher, which opened in late December 2012, hasn't been a major hit at the domestic box office. (See more info below.) However, Cruise can boast a solid early 2013 North American opening – in limited released and on 3D, no less: This weekend, Top Gun, Tony Scott's 1986 action flick that turned Tom Cruise into a household name worldwide, is getting a 3D-“enhanced” rerelease in North America at 300 venues. Winter storm Nemo or no, on Friday Top Gun 3D collected an estimated $533,000, thus easily topping the 1981 Steven Spielberg-Harrison Ford collaboration Raiders of the Lost Ark, which debuted with $440,136 on is opening day at 267 IMAX locations last (Nemo-less) September.
On its first IMAX weekend out, Raiders of the Lost Ark took in $1.67 million at no. 14 on the domestic box office chart, averaging $6,269 per theater. Don't be too surprised if Tom Cruise and Top Gun 3D manage to reach $2 million by Sunday evening, thus cracking the top ten chart and averaging around $6,600 per site. Official weekend estimates will be released on Sunday morning; weekend box office actuals will come out on Monday.
Needless to say, there's no comparison between Top Gun 3D (Raiders of the Lost Ark IMAX) and James Cameron's Titanic 3D. Cameron's megablockbuster was rereleased in 3D at 2,600 venues in April 2012. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Gloria Stuart, Titanic 3D scored $4.7 million on opening day – a Wednesday (figure includes late Tuesday grosses).
Tom Cruise and Jack Reacher: Box-office flop?
Tom Cruise's latest star vehicle, Christopher McQuarrie's action / thriller Jack Reacher, should end its domestic run with less than $80 million (current cume: $78.88 million), which places it somewhere between Bryan Singer's Valkyrie ($83.07 million) and James Mangold's Knight and Day ($76.42 million). Granted, that's not a great domestic cume, but in no way could the $60 million-budgeted Jack Reacher be considered a box office flop – well, at least once one considers the film's international performance: $112.1 million, for a grand worldwide total of $190.98 million.
Jack Reacher's top international markets to date are the U.K. with $15.23 million, France with $11.89 million, and Australia with $8.98 million.
Tom Cruise leads Top Gun cast
Directed by Tony Scott, besides Tom Cruise the Top Gun cast features Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, John Stockwell, Barry Tubb, Tom Skerritt, Rick Rossovich, Michael Ironside, Meg Ryan, Adrian Pasdar, and Tim Robbins.
Tom Cruise Top Gun image: Paramount Pictures.