Home Movie NewsBox Office ‘Apes’ Stronger Than Humans: Conan + Harrison Ford & Daniel Craig Take a Beating

‘Apes’ Stronger Than Humans: Conan + Harrison Ford & Daniel Craig Take a Beating

Jason Momoa shirtless, Conan the Barbarian
A shirtless Jason Momoa, Conan the Barbarian

Aug. 21 update: Down one spot this weekend (Aug. 19–21), Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes collected $16.3 million (down 41 percent) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Officially budgeted at $93 million, the Planet of the Apes reboot starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, and John Lithgow, has taken in $133.76 million after three weekends.

Marcus Nispel’s $90 million-budgeted Conan the Barbarian looked more like Conan the Wimp at the domestic box office, opening at no. 4 with a weak $10 million at 3,015 locations, averaging only 3,317 per theater. Conan was the only top-twelve movie to be down (-3 percent) on Saturday. Jason Momoa stars as the shirtless, six-packed barbarian of the title. The good news – though not for distributor Lionsgate – is that chances are there won’t be a Conan sequel or a reboot in the near future.

For comparison’s sake: Back in 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian debuted with $9.6 million, or about $26 million today. Directed by John Milius, that piece of trash helped to turn Schwarzenegger into one of the biggest – and most unwatchable – stars of ’80s.

Photo: Conan the Barbarian (Simon Varsano / Universal)

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Cicely Tyson, Lila Rogers, The Help

After twelve days out, Tate Taylor’s female-driven drama The Help is now all but assured a Best Picture Oscar nomination. In addition to its socially conscious theme and the generally good positive reviews – 68 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics – The Help has been doing remarkably well at the domestic box office.

After topping the North American box office chart with an estimated $20.47 million this weekend (Aug. 19-21) as per Box Office Mojo, The Help has collected a total of $71.8 million to date. The comedy-drama about ethnic relations in the American South will surely end up grossing more than $100 million domestically, thus far surpassing two recent female-centered August releases, the Meryl Streep-Amy Adams comedy Julie & Julia (cume: $94.12m) and the Julia Roberts romance flick Eat Pray Love (cume: $80.57m). The Help features Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, and Cicely Tyson.

Also worth noting, after adding 156 locations The Help was down only 21 percent compared to last weekend. That’s a quite low drop-off rate even considering that the $25 million-budgeted film had opened on a Wednesday. Its average was a solid $7,613 per theater.

Additionally, The Help is one of two movies in 2011 to have topped the North American weekend box office chart after trailing another movie on a previous weekend. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s True Grit – which went on to receive a Best Picture Oscar nod – was The Help‘s predecessor back in January. Last weekend, The Help trailed the James Franco sci-fier Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Two recent female-driven Best Picture Oscar nominees had done excellent business in the U.S. and Canada prior to being shortlisted: Black Swan, which earned Natalie Portman the 2011 Best Actress Oscar, and The Blind Side, which earned Sandra Bullock the 2010 Best Actress Oscar. Also, the Annette Bening-Julianne Moore vehicle The Kids Are All Right was a solid arthouse hit. Needless to say, SAG Award nominations for The Help are all but inevitable, including one for Best Cast.

Photo: The Help (Dale Robinette / DreamWorks / Disney Enterprises)

Aug. 14


Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, The Help

Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, though down 50 percent from last weekend, topped the North American box office for the second weekend in a row. Starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, and John Lithgow, Rise of the Planet of the Apes brought in $27.5 million this weekend (Aug. 12-14) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Second-weekend drop-off rate comparisons to other high profile releases such as Thor, X-Men: First Class, or Captain America: The First Avenger aren’t fair because the aforementioned three movies all grossed about three times more at Thursday midnight “preview” screenings than Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Hence, all things being equal second-weekend drop-off rates would have been higher for those films. Captain America was down 62 percent, X-Men: First Class 56 percent, and Thor a more modest 47 percent.

Officially budgeted at $93 million, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will be passing the $100 million milestone some time today. Its estimated domestic cume after ten days is $104.87 million. Worldwide cume: $179.27 million.

At no. 2, Tate Taylor’s $25 million-budgeted The Help overperformed, earning far more than the expected $20-22 million. Starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, and veterans Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, and Mary Steenburgen, The Help grossed $25.52 million at 2,511 locations, thus far surpassing Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the per-theater-average department: $10,073 vs. $7,451.

For comparison’s sake: the $60 millionJulia Roberts-Javier Bardem-James Franco vehicle Eat Pray Love collected $23.1 million at 3,082 sites on its first weekend out in August last year, while the $40 millionMeryl Streep-Amy Adams comedy-drama Julie & Julia pulled in $20 million when it opened at 2,354 venues in August 2009. Even more notable is that The Help had already blown some box office steam on Wednesday, whereas Eat Pray Love and Julie & Julia opened on a Friday.

Hindered by mostly negative reviews, Eat Pray Love cumed at $80.57 million in North America; the romantic drama fared better overseas, collecting $124 million for a $204.59 million worldwide cume. Helped by positive Oscar buzz surrounding Meryl Streep’s performance, Julie & Julia went on to gross $94.12 million domestically – but, surprisingly, only $35.41 million overseas for a worldwide total of $129.54 million.

With the help of excellent reviews and lots of Oscar buzz, The Help should have a long life at the U.S. and Canada box office. But will audiences abroad give a damn? Back in 1989, Driving Miss Daisy grossed $106.59 million domestically (approximately $214 million today), but a relatively modest $39.2 million abroad (approximately $78 million today) despite its Best Picture Oscar win, an Oscar for star Jessica Tandy, and nominations for Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd.

More recently, another popular release at the domestic box office that also dealt with American “family values” and ethnic issues, the Sandra Bullock vehicle The Blind Side, went on to gross an astounding $255.95 million in North America, but only $53.24 million overseas despite a Best Picture Oscar nomination and a Best Actress win for Bullock.

Not helping The Help is the fact that Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, and most other cast members are hardly known outside the United States. Emma Stone, for her part, may have had a domestic sleeper hit in Easy A — $58.41 million on a $8 million production budget; but internationally, the romantic comedy failed to click, earning a paltry $16.55 million.

Photo: The Help (Dale Robinette / DreamWorks / Disney Enterprises)

Aug. 14


Arlen Escarpeta, Nicholas D’Agosto, P. J. Byrne, Emma Bell, Final Destination 5

Directed by Steven Quale, and featuring Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, and Miles Fisher, Warner Bros./New Line’s Final Destination 5 opened at no. 3 with a disappointing $18.4 million this weekend (Aug. 12-14) at the North American box office, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Some had been predicting that Final Destination 5, especially with the assistance of 3D surcharges (about 75 percent of the estimated gross), would reach $25-$30 million. The previous installment in the Final Destination franchise, also in 3D, opened with $27 million in 2009 and went on to gross more than $66 million. Final Destination 5, the least attended of the Final Destination movies, will be lucky if it earns half as much. It was one of this weekend’s three top-twelve movies down (-14 percent) on Saturday; the others were new releases 30 Seconds or Less (down 7 percent) and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (down a whopping down 36 percent).

Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens, starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and Olivia Wilde, was no. 6 this weekend (Aug. 12-14) at the North American box office, grossing $7.61 million (down 52 percent) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Officially budgeted at $163 million, Cowboys & Aliens has taken in only $81.47 million domestically, in addition to a meager $7 million in 14 international territories, including Russia and South Korea.

Though no longer among the top twelve, Zookeeper remains embroiled in damaging accusations that the filmmakers failed to care for a giraffe, which collapsed and died during the making of the “family” film. Another controversy along those lines has erupted around the Francis Lawrence-directed, Robert Pattinson-Reese Witherspoon-Christoph Waltz vehicle Water for Elephants, as an animal rights group has accused the owners of Tai the Elephant (Rosie in the movie) of viciously abusing the pachyderm.

Aug. 13


Miles Fisher, Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto, Final Destination 5

Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes will likely top the North American box office this weekend, according to preliminary estimates found at both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com. Starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes grossed an estimated $7.8 million on Friday, which may translate into $26 million for the weekend.

At a relatively close no. 2, Tate Taylor’s The Help collected between $7-7.5 million on Friday, and should gross between $20-22 million over the weekend. The acclaimed comedy drama about 1960s Southern white women and their black maids, The Help features Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, and veterans Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, and Mary Steenburgen.

Warner Bros./New Line’s Final Destination 5, despite its revenue-boosting 3D-surcharge, opened on Friday with a modest $7 million, which means the horror flick should earn about $18 million by Sunday evening. That will place it way behind the previous installment in the Final Destination franchise and below studio expectations.

Aug. 11

Emma Stone, The Help
Emma Stone, The Help

Rise of the Planet of the Apes may top the North American box office for the second weekend in a row, though newcomer The Help could turn out to be the upset winner. Directed by Tate Taylor (who also adapted Kathryn Stockett’s novel), and featuring an extensive female cast that includes Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, and veterans Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, and Mary Steenburgen, The Help – with the help of excellent reviews and lots of Oscar buzz – topped the U.S. and Canada box office on Wednesday, August 10, grossing $5.51 million at 2,511 locations according to Box Office Mojo.

At no. 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, and John Lithgow, brought in $4.91 million. Since its current total (up to Wed.) is $73.04 million, it’s pretty certain that Rise of the Planet of the Apes will pass the $100 million milestone before the weekend is over. Else, that feat will take place on Monday.

Aug. 6


Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes may gross up to $18 million at the North American box office on Friday, according to early estimates found in The Hollywood Reporter. The aforementioned figure includes about $1.25 million from Thursday midnight screenings.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, and starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, and King Kong‘s Andy Serkis as the ape Caesar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes may reach $45 million by Sunday evening. Box-office pundits had been predicting an opening between $35-45 million.

Whereas Rise of the Planet of the Apes is overperforming, the R-rated comedy The Change-Up is underperforming in – possibly – fourth place. Directed by David Dobkin, and starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, the poorly received The Change-Up is expected to collect only $4.5 million on Friday, for a weekend ranging between the low-to-mid teens. This marks Ryan Reynolds’ second box office misfire this summer, following the mediocre domestic earnings – and downright dismal foreign earnings – of the Green Lantern movie adaptation.

Photo: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox)

Aug. 5


James Franco, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and a resimianized Andy Serkis – he had already played the giant gorilla in Peter Jackson’s King Kong – grossed $1.25 million at 1,124 Thursday midnight screenings, according to Box Office Mojo.

For comparison’s sake: That’s nearly twice what Daniel Craig-Harrison Ford’s Cowboys & Aliens collected at midnight screenings a week ago, but less than a third of the (3D-assisted) midnight take of Chris Evans-Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger and Kenneth Branagh-Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.

Ten years ago, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, starring Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter, earned $68.5 million on opening weekend, or approximately $96.5 million adjusted for inflation. With luck, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will reach half of the inflation-adjusted figure. Estimates have ranged between $35-45 million, though that should be enough for the Rupert Wyatt-directed sci-fier to top the North American box office.

Officially, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, is neither a prequel nor a sequel to Planet of the Apes. In truth, however, it is a prequel – as well as a loose remake of J. Lee Thompson’s 1972 critical and box office disappointment Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

The original 1968 Planet of the Apes starred Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter. Franklin J. Schaffner directed. There were a total of four sequels: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), the aforementioned Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

Photo: 20th Century Fox


Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses

After coming in second over the weekend ,The Smurfs has topped the North American box office throughout this week. On Thursday, August 4, The Smurfs collected $4.09 million according to Box Office Mojo, thus easily maintaining its lead. Directed by Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Scooby-Doo‘s Raja Gosnell, the 3D film features Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and Sofia Vergara, in addition to the voices of Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, and others.

At no. 2, Cowboys & Aliens brought in $3.15 million. Starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, the Jon Favreau-directed mix of Western, sci-fi, and adventure genres is down 26 percent since Monday. Co-produced/executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, among others, Cowboys & Aliens also features Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, and Sam Rockwell. Its box office cume currently stands at $51.62 million vs. The Smurfs’ $55.62 million.

The Smurfs’ dominance of the North American box office will come to an end this weekend, with the opening of Rupert Wyatt’s sci-fier Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, and King Kong himself, Andy Serkis. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is expected to easily top the U.S. and Canada box office chart in the next three days.

Aug. 2


Sofia Vergara, Hank Azaria, The Smurfs

The Smurfs may have lagged behind Cowboys & Aliens this past weekend, but the little blue toys kicked cowboy ass on Monday, leaving Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig biting the dust at the North American box office according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. Not only did the little blue toys kick macho cowboy ass, they kicked hard. The Smurfs earned $5 million vs. Cowboys & Aliens’ $4.27 million.

Directed by Jon Favreau, and co-produced/executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, among others, Cowboys & Aliens also features Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, and Sam Rockwell. Directed by Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Scooby-Doo‘s Raja Gosnell, The Smurfs features Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and Sofia Vergara, in addition to the voices of Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, and others.

At no. 3, Chris Evans-Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger collected $3.43 million. Captain America also features Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Richard Armitage, Dominic Cooper, and Toby Jones.

Right on Captain America‘s red-white-and-blue heels was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with $3.32 million. Don’t be too surprised if Deathly Hallows 2 and Captain America switch places in the next few days.

Aug. 1 update: Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig’s Cowboys & Aliens fared slightly better than estimated; The Smurfs fared more than a bit worse than estimated. The result is that Cowboys & Aliens turned out to be the top movie in North America this past weekend (July 29-31) according to box office actuals found at Box Office Mojo.

Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens grossed $36.43 million, or about $200,000 more than estimated; The Smurfs earned $35.61 million, or about $600,000 less than estimated. Even so, Cowboys & Aliens did underperform – studio expectations hovered around $40 million – whereas The Smurfs overperformed, as box office clairvoyants predicted an opening within the $25-30 million range. Cowboys & Aliens officially cost $163 million (apparently after rebates), while The Smurfs officially cost $110 million. Neither movie will get even close to recovering their budget at the domestic box office, though The Smurfs may have better luck overseas – not to mention the fact that every brat will be asking their parents to get them a dozen of those ugly blue toys.

Co-produced/executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, among others, Cowboys & Aliens also features Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, and Sam Rockwell. Directed by Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Scooby-Doo‘s Raja Gosnell, The Smurfs features Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and Sofia Vergara, in addition to the voices of Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, and others.

At no. 3, Chris Evans-Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger collected $25.55 million, or about $500,000 more than estimated. Still, with $117.42 million after ten days, Captain America is now behind Thor, which had scored $119.5 million by the end of its second weekend. Captain America: The First Avenger also features Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Richard Armitage, Dominic Cooper, and Toby Jones.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 passed the $300 million milestone on Friday; after adding $21.97 million over the weekend it became the most successful Harry Potter movie ever in North America. That is, if you recklessly choose to ignore inflation/3D surcharges. Deathly Hallows 2‘s cume currently stands at $318.51 million.

In limited release, the Sarah Palin movie The Undefeated plummeted once again. After losing 10 of its 14 theaters, The Undefeated collected a paltry $5,080 – down 79 percent – and a dismal $1,270 per venue. Last weekend, The Undefeated was down 62 percent despite a 40 percent rise in the number of theaters showing the film. To date, the much-talked about and much-panned Palin documentary has earned $112,078.

July 31 update: Once upon a time, just about anything starring Harrison Ford – the Hans Solo of the Star Wars movies, the Indiana Jones of the Indiana Jones movies – meant big box office receipts. But apart from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the 21st century hasn’t been very kind to Ford. Following the flops Crossing Over, Extraordinary Measures, and Morning Glory comes Cowboys & Aliens, which, despite the presence of Mr. James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, tied with several little, ugly blue toys at the top of the North American box office this weekend (July 29-31) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Whereas Cowboys & Aliens underperformed – Universal had been predicting $40+ million – The Smurfs overperformed. The end result was a draw, with Universal (Cowboys & Aliens) and Sony Pictures (The Smurfs) claiming their movies grossed $36.2 million each. (Cowboys & Aliens figures includes approximately $700,000 from Thursday midnight screenings.) Box-office actuals will come out on Monday, but even if Cowboys & Aliens turns out to have been the weekend’s de facto box office king, it’ll be a hollow victory for a movie whose reported budget ranges from $163-200 million vs. The Smurfs’ $110 million.

Directed by Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, and co-produced/executive produced by the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, Cowboys & Aliens also features Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, and Sam Rockwell. Directed by Raja Gosnell, The Smurfs features Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and Sofia Vergara, in addition to the voices of Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, and others.

Aided by 3D surcharges, The Smurfs easily beat Cowboys & Aliens in the per-theater average department: $10,663 at 3,395 locations vs. $9,653 at 3,750 sites. However, Cowboys & Aliens attracted more patrons. Remember, 3D surcharges can add up to 40 percent to the cost of a movie ticket. Approximately 45 percent of The Smurfs’ business came from 3D venues.

Photo: The Smurfs (Sony Pictures Animation)

At no. 3 in North America this weekend (July 29-31), Chris Evans-Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger collected $24.9 million according to studio estimates. For comparison’s sake: Captain America‘s domestic total currently stands at $116.77 million after ten days, placing it behind Thor‘s $119.5 million at the same point. Throughout the week Captain America had been ahead of Thor, but whereas Captain America was down a hefty 62 percent compared to opening weekend, Thor was down only 47 percent on its second weekend out.

Overseas, Captain America added $48.5 million in 30 territories, for a worldwide total of $170.27 million. For comparison’s sake: In 56 markets, Thor opened with $89.2 million internationally in early May, though figures are somewhat skewed because of the Labor Day holiday. X-Men: First Class collected $61 million (without the assistance of 3D surcharges) in 74 territories in early June. Remember that exchange-rate fluctuations affect international figures once those are converted to US dollars. Captain America: The First Avenger also features Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Richard Armitage, Dominic Cooper, and Toby Jones.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 passed the $300 million milestone on Friday and after adding $21.92 million this weekend has become the most successful Harry Potter movie ever in North America – if you choose to ignore inflation/3D surcharges. Total: $318.46 million, placing the final Harry Potter slightly ahead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone‘s cume of $317.57 million.

In terms of attendance, however, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is still trailing every other Harry Potter movie, though that will certainly change before Deathly Hallows 2 ends its domestic run. Also worth noting, the final Harry Potter has passed the $1 billion milestone worldwide; its current cume is $1.008 billion.

Officially, that $1+ billion cume makes Deathly Hallows 2 the most successful Harry Potter movie ever; but if one chooses to take inflation/3D surcharges into account, Deathly Hallows 2 is still trailing nearly all of its predecessors, having possibly – depending on US dollar fluctuations, 3D business per country – surpassed only Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Directed by David Yates, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes.

Also in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Kelly Macdonald, Ciaran Hinds, David Thewlis, Timothy Spall, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Warwick Davis, and Miriam Margolyes.

Photo: Captain America: The First Avenger (Jay Maidment / Marvel / Paramount)

The no. 5 movie at the North American box office this weekend (July 29-31) was Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling. The romantic comedy brought in $19.3 million according to studio estimates.

For comparison’s sake: Ryan Murphy-Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem’s Eat Pray Love opened with $23.1 million last August, though this particular title had the advantage of being an adaptation of a bestseller. Starring Roberts and Tom Hanks, the Hanks-directed (and widely panned) Larry Crowne opened with a weak $13.09 million earlier this month. The Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher R-rated vehicle No Strings Attached took in $19.65 million when it debuted in January, while another R-rated romantic comedy, Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis’ Friends with Benefits, collected $18.62 million when it opened last weekend.

On its second weekend out, Friends with Benefits pulled in $9.3 million (down 50 percent) at no. 6. It was followed by another R-rated comedy (of the non-romantic kind), Horrible Bosses, which drew $7.1 million (down 40 percent). Horrible Bosses stars Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jason Bateman, and Kevin Spacey.

At no. 8, Transformers: Dark of the Moon earned $5.97 million (down 50 percent), for a cume of $337.89 after 33 days. For comparison’s sake: by its 33rd day out, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had collected $379.21 million in summer 2009. Internationally, Dark of the Moon has fared much better, having grossed an estimated $645 million, pushing its worldwide total to $982 million. By next weekend, Transformers 3 will surely have crossed the $1 billion worldwide milestone. Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers 3 stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Josh Duhamel.

July 30 afternoon: Little, ugly blue toys kicked macho cowboy ass on Friday, July 29, according to studio estimates. Directed by Raja Gosnell, and featuring Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, and Sofia Vergara, in addition to the voices of Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, and others, The Smurfs grossed an estimated $13.3 million at 3,395 locations in North America. Cowboys & Aliens, directed by Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, co-produced/executive produced by the likes of Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde, earned $12.99 million – including $700,000 at Thursday midnight screenings – at 3,750 sites.

Admittedly, The Smurfs was assisted by 3D surcharges. According to Box Office Mojo’s Brandon Gray, The Smurfs are screening at 2,042 3D theaters; that represents 60 percent of its total number of locations. Approximately 48 percent of its revenues came from 3D sites.

Although many more The Smurfs moviegoers opted for good old 2D, the fact that 48 percent of the film’s revenues came form costlier 3D houses indicates that Cowboys & Aliens, though a major disappointment in relation to both its cost (estimated to be as high as $200 million) and its star wattage, actually sold more tickets. And considering how close their figures were on Friday, it’s possible that Cowboys & Aliens may end up on top by Sunday evening. A hollow victory if ever there was one.

At no. 3, Chris Evans-Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger collected $7.86 million. Its current cume is $99.72 million, which means Captain America will be passing the $100 million milestone at the domestic box office some time today.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 passed the $300 million milestone on Friday, after pulling in $6.62 million at no. 4. It’ll likely become the most successful Harry Potter movie ever in North America – if you choose to ignore inflation/3D surcharges – before the weekend is over. Directed by David Yates, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes.

The no. 5 movie on Friday was Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling. The romantic comedy brought in $6.6 million.

July 30 early morning


Daniel Craig, Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens should collect between $15-17 million on Friday for a $40-45 million weekend, according to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com. The Hollywood Reporter, however, says that Friday figures should be close to only $13-13.5 million, which would mean about $38 million for the weekend.

Either way, if budget estimates found at Deadline are correct – we’re talking $160-200 million – then DreamWorks (50 percent of the budget), Universal (25 percent) and Relativity (25 percent) have a major box office disappointment in their hands. For comparison’s sake, Martin Campbell-Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern, an “underperformer” that cost $200 million, opened with $53.17 million.

The Western-sci-fi mix stars Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, and Harrison Ford, who has seen better days at the box office. Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau directed it, while the long list of producers and executive producers includes Favreau, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, and Brian Grazer.

According to Deadline, more than a dozen writers messed around with the screenplay. Following arbitration by the Writers Guild, five were credited for the screenplay, two for both the screenplay and the “screen story,” and one solely for the screen story, itself an adaptation of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s Platinum Studios comic book.

Some may say that the presence of Ford, Craig, Favreau, and Spielberg at San Diego’s Comic-Con last weekend was a waste of time and gas, but who knows? Perhaps without that trip to the Mexican border Cowboys & Aliens would have opened to the tune of $30 million…

Not helping matters is that Westerns aren’t exactly a popular movie genre abroad. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s True Grit, for instance, earned only 31 percent of its worldwide take overseas despite ten Oscar nominations, and the presence of Matt Damon and Best Actor nominee Jeff Bridges. Starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, 3:10 to Yuma‘s international box office percentage was even lower, 23 percent. Paramount is distributing Cowboys & Aliens overseas.

Daniel Craig and Harrison Cowboys & Aliens image: DreamWorks / Universal.

Miles Fisher, Emma Bell, and Nicholas D’Agosto Final Destination 5 image: Doane Gregory / Warner Bros. / New Line.

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5 comments

MCPants -

Piece of trash? Are on frickin crack?

Reply
Christine Cotton -

When I purchased my ticket, the cashier told me what I wanted to see (impressed), but she gave me a ticket to Planet of the Apes. I questioned how many others paid for “Planet” but requested “Help”. In fact the ticket taker told us there was a mistake.

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john -

as for final destination 5’s weak box office. it is called karma. the last one changed it’s opening weekend to face off against rob zombie’s halloween 2 because the studio knew the weinsteins and dimension were having $ troubles and were having difficulty even releasing a film.

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Cinema Nostalgia -

The reviews have been excellent. I’m probably going to see it this weekend.

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Harry -

I don’t think Cowboys and Aliens is a flop-in-the-making, it was one to begin with when it opened with a puny $36 million. I will say it again, bad marketing all around from such powerhouse as Dreamworks. Jon Favreau relied heavily on comic-con and unfortunately nobody under the age of 40 decided to spend any money to see an aging old star and someone who’s only box office success came courtesy of Bond.

On the other hand, Planet of the Apes seems to be doing much better than originally anticipated, but again, 60% drops should be expected in the coming weeks.

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