Box Office: Zac Efron 'Charlie St. Cloud' a major disappointment, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell 'Dinner for Schmucks' a minor one
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan's sci-fi/thriller Inception was the no. 1 movie in the U.S. and Canada for the third consecutive weekend (July 30–Aug. 1) according to the studios' box office actuals. Toplining Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, the newly released lowbrow comedy Dinner for Schmucks landed below expectations in the second slot, while the Zac Efron weepie Charlie St. Cloud debuted in – a highly disappointing – fifth place.
The one bit of good news for Charlie St. Cloud is that, contrary to Sunday box office estimates, it opened ahead of another just released flop, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. As found at Boxofficemojo.com, the former took in $12.38 million at 2,718 venues – about $250,000 more than estimated; the latter, 3D surcharges and all, scored $12.27 million at 3,705 theaters – about $250,000 less than estimated.
'Charlie St. Cloud' vs. 'Remember Me': Inapt comparison
Directed by Burr Steers, Charlie St. Cloud will have trouble matching its mid-level $44 million production costs – let alone recovering them – at the domestic box office. Zac Efron's romantic/family drama would have to gross about $80-$85 million for distributor Universal to cover its production expenses, not including marketing and distribution fees.
Comparisons to the Robert Pattinson vehicle Remember Me – which opened to $8 million in early March – aren't exactly apt. Remember Me was a $16 million production, a “little movie” that received a wide opening (2,212 theaters) via Summit Entertainment (not exactly a major studio, either) merely on the strength of Pattinson's Twilight popularity.
Despite its downbeat ending and widely mixed reviews, Remember Me ultimately scored $19 million in North America and, thanks to Pattinson's international popularity, a perfectly acceptable $55 million worldwide.
Zac Efron's international fans to come to the rescue?
Quite possibly, Zac Efron's international fans – $72 million for the Burr Steers-directed 17 Again; $162 million for High School Musical 3: Senior Year – may come to the rescue of Charlie St. Cloud. Universal must be ardently hoping they will.
As for the $85 million-budgeted Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, competition from steady kiddie-flick holdovers such as Despicable Me and Toy Story 3 surely didn't help. Distributor Warner Bros. has a major flop in its hands.
Over the past weekend, Inception took in $27.48 million ($7,753 average at 3,545 sites), only slightly less than studio predictions, and down a relatively low 36 percent (after having lost 245 theaters) from the previous weekend.
With $193.3 million after 17 days, the Warner Bros. release should cross the $200 million milestone in the next day or so. Inception will eventually hit the $250 million mark, but it remains to be seen whether it'll have enough steam to reach $300 million domestically.
Each weekend, Nolan's film has been losing about one-third of its business. If that pattern continues in the next two weeks, it'll earn about $17–$19 million next weekend and $11–12 million the weekend after.
After that – and the inevitable decline in number of venues – Inception's drop-off rate should increase. That's why the $300 million milestone looks somewhat iffy.
Besides three-time Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception features the following:
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father, 1993).
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Tom Berenger (Platoon, 1986).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tom Hardy. Ken Watanabe. Cillian Murphy. Dileep Rao. Lukas Haas.
Less appetizing than expected 'Dinner for Schmucks'
Jay Roach's Dinner for Schmucks, starring The 40 Year Old Virgin actors Steve Carell and Paul Rudd earned $23.5 million at 2,911 venues. (Pundits had been predicting $27-$30 million.) The top movie on Friday, this Hollywood remake of Francis Veber's 1998 French hit The Dinner Game lost ground to the dreamworld of Inception during the weekend proper.
With a mediocre 47 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics, Dinner for Schmucks actually went down slightly (0.4 percent) on Saturday. Even so, its $8,082 per-theater average was the highest among the top twelve movies on the chart. The Paramount/DreamWorks release cost a reported $69 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses.
No 'Grown Ups,' but 'Date Night' a possibility
Despite its somewhat disappointing opening figures, Dinner for Schmucks could have a long life at the U.S. and Canada box office. After all, Adam Sandler's widely panned Grown Ups – 10 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics – remains on the Top Ten chart five weekends after its debut. In fact, Grown Ups has just crossed the $150 million milestone domestically.
Dinner for Schmucks shouldn't reach these lofty heights. No, not because it's not stupid enough. It's just that Grown Ups opened with $40.5 million.
Yet don't be too surprised if Dinner for Schmucks ends up crossing the $100 million mark within the next couple of months. For comparison's sake: Date Night, in which Steve Carell co-stars with Tina Fey, opened with $25.2 million at 3,380 theaters on April 9, '10, and has taken in $98.47 million in North America.
Having said that, Dinner for Schmucks' domestic box office longevity could be curtailed by competition from other lowbrow comedies such as the upcoming Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg star vehicle The Other Guys, which may put a dent in the schmucky audience.
More box office figures: Angelina Jolie, Adam Sandler
Trailing Inception and Dinner for Schmucks – but ahead of Charlie St. Cloud and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore – were the Angelina Jolie thriller Salt with $19.47 million at no. 3, and the animated hit Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, and Julie Andrews, with $15.52 million at no. 4.
Lee Unkrich's blockbuster Toy Story 3, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack, was the no. 7 movie with $5.12 million.
Next in line was Grown Ups with $4.54 million, having passed the $150 million milestone on Sunday, Day 38. The widely derided Adam Sandler comedy has become the eleventh 2010 release to reach $150 million at the North American box office; it's also the only live-action comedy to have achieved that feat so far this year. Total to date: $150.7 million.
Grown Ups is at no. 127 on Box Office Mojo's chart (not adjusted for inflation or IMAX/3D surcharges) of the fastest movies to reach $150 million in the U.S. and Canada. It's positioned behind another Adam Sandler comedy, Big Daddy (1999), and ahead of the Tim Burton-Michael Keaton combo Batman Returns (1992).
'Eclipse' trailing 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'
Rounding out the Top Twelve movies this weekend were:
- Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice with $4.46 million.
Cast: Jay Baruchel. Nicolas Cage.
- David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse with $4.01 million.
Cast: Kristen Stewart. Robert Pattinson. Taylor Lautner. Bryce Dallas Howard. Xavier Samuel. Jodelle Ferland. Elizabeth Reaser. Peter Facinelli.
- Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum's Ramona and Beezus with $3.71 million.
Cast: Selena Gomez. Joey King. John Corbett.
- Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right with $3.52.
Cast: Julianne Moore. Annette Bening. Mark Ruffalo. Mia Wasikowska. Josh Hutcherson.
Eclipse should be passing the $300 million milestone within the next ten days or so. By next weekend, it'll probably edge ahead of New Moon's $296.6 million.
Only on its second weekend out, Ramona and Beezus had the lowest per-screen average, $1,365, among the Top Twelve movies.
Among the holdovers, The Kids Are All Right, which jumped from 201 to 847 locations (a 221 percent increase), expectedly posted the biggest gains compared to last weekend, up 36 percent. Despicable Me had the lowest drop-off rate, down 35 percent.
After losing 980 outlets, the $150 million-budgeted The Sorcerer's Apprentice suffered the steepest drop, 54 percent, followed by Ramona and Beezus (which kept the same number of theaters), down 53 percent.
Tom Cruise, 'The Last Airbender' gone
Gone from the Top Twelve:
- M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender.
Cast: Zev Patel. Noah Ringer. Jackson Rathbone. Nicola Peltz.
- Nimród Antal's Predators.
Cast: Adrien Brody. Alice Braga. Topher Grace. Laurence Fishburne.
- James Mangold's Knight and Day.
Cast:Tom Cruise. Cameron Diaz. Peter Sarsgaard. Jordi Mollà. Viola Davis. Paul Dano.
Amanda Crew and Zac Efron Charlie St. Cloud image: Universal Pictures.
Paul Rudd and Steve Carell Dinner for Schmucks image: Merie Weismiller / DreamWorks/Paramount.
Selena Gomez Ramona and Beezus image: 20th Century Fox.
Box office: 'The Kids Are All Right' vs. 'Brokeback Mountain'
Directed and co-written (with Stuart Blumberg) by Lisa Cholodenko, and starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as lovers, in addition to Mark Ruffalo as the biological father of the lesbian couple's children (Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson), The Kids Are All Right has received numerous positive reviews and has performed admirably at the domestic box office.
This weekend (July 30-Aug. 1, '10), the Focus Features release took in an estimated $3.46 million, bringing its cume after four weekends to $9.56 million according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. That's not bad at all for a $4 million production – admittedly, not including marketing and distribution expenses.
Per-theater average down
But now that it has expanded from 201 to 841 theaters, The Kids Are All Right's per-theater average has gone down to $4,089 – no. 6 among the weekend's Top Twelve movies. Prior to the expansion, the family comedy-drama almost invariably had the highest daily average among the Top Twelve.
As it stands, the film's per-theater average may still leave room for further increases in the number of venues, but probably not that many more and not for very long.
In fact, it's highly unlikely that The Kids Are All Right will get even close to matching the success of Focus Features' 2005 sleeper hit Brokeback Mountain – the distributor's top box office grosser to date – which took in $83.4 million (not adjusted for inflation) in the U.S. and Canada.
'Brokeback Mountain' phenomenon
For comparison's sake: When Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain expanded to 683 theaters on weekend no. 6 (early Jan. 2006), its per-theater average remained a highly impressive $8,499. By then, the romantic Western adapted by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry from E. Annie Proulx's short story had already grossed $30.8 million. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal starred as cowboy lovers, with Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway as their respective wives.
Brokeback Mountain benefited greatly from year-end critics' awards and multiple Golden Globe nominations, to be sure. These should also help The Kids Are All Right – which will inevitable be shortlisted throughout awards season (Annette Bening is a shoo-in for Best Actress citations) – in case Lisa Cholodenko's film gets rereleased later in the year or in early 2011.
Yet, as explained above, barring a box office miracle there's no chance that The Kids Are All Right will ever threaten Brokeback Mountain's box office supremacy.
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right image: Suzanne Tenner / Focus Features.
For the first time since it opened 15 days ago, the Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio sci-fi/thriller Inception lost its top spot at the North American box office on Friday, July 30, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo.
Proving what pundits have been saying all year long – that North American audiences are starved for quality fare on the big screen – the no. 1 movie at the beginning of the last weekend in July/first weekend in August was Jay Roach's Dinner for Schmucks, the Steve Carell-Paul Rudd comedy that boasts a 47 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes “top critics.”
Well, come to think of it, a 47 percent approval rating is certainly a vast improvement over popular releases such as Adam Sandler's Grown Ups, which will pass the $150 million mark some time this weekend, and M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, which has collected more than $125 million domestically.
Steve Carell, Paul Rudd in Jay Roach's Dinner for Schmucks
Dinner for Schmucks grossed $8.4 million on Friday, as per studio estimates. That translates into a $2,886 average at 2,911 venues.
Co-starring Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Caine, Inception earned $8.15 million ($2,299 average at 3,545 sites), down nearly 38 percent from the previous Friday.
There's no way Inception, currently at $173.97 million, will pass the $200 million milestone this weekend. That'll probably take place next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Photo: Dinner for Schmucks (Merie Weismiller / DreamWorks/Paramount)
Down one spot at no. 3, Angelina Jolie's Salt grossed $5.9 million (down 53 percent from a week ago) or $1,633 per theater, as per Box Office Mojo.
New entry Charlie St. Cloud, starring Zac Efron, opened at no. 4 with $5.61 million at 2,718 venues. Its average was a passable $2,066.
Down two spots at no. 5, Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Julie Andrews, and others, took in $4.68 million. Chances are that by the time Sunday figures are tallied, Despicable Me and Charlie St. Cloud will have switched places.
At no. 6, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore grossed $4.22 million at 3,705 theaters. The new entry's average in the overcrowded kiddie market was a weak $1,140.
Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3, featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack, was the no. 7 movie with $1.45 million, followed by Adam Sandler's widely panned comedy Grown Ups with $1.4 million.
Rounding out the top twelve were Nicolas Cage's The Sorcerer's Apprentice with $1.32 million, Selena Gomez's Ramona and Beezus tied with Robert Pattinson's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (after losing 787 venues) with $1.27 million, and Annette Bening's The Kids Are All Right with $970k.
Gone from the top twelve: M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, Nimród Antal's Predators, Tom Cruise's Knight and Day.
Among the top twelve movies, Dinner for Schmucks had the highest per-theater average, $2,886. Ramona and Beezus had the lowest, $469.
Among the top twelve's holdovers, The Kids Are All Right, which jumped from 201 to 870 locations, posted the biggest gains in comparison to Thursday, up 206 percent. Next in line was Salt, with up 73.3 percent.
The lowest increase was that of Toy Story 3 (which lost about 650 venues), up 6.9 percent – the sole movie to post gains of less than 10 percent.
Photo: Charlie St. Cloud (Universal Pictures); Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (Warner Bros.)
Zac Efron, Charlie St. Cloud
Moviegoers want quality at their local cineplex, we've been told. The latest masterpiece to attract solid weekend business is the Steve Carell-Paul Rudd comedy Dinner for Schmucks, which grossed $10 million on Friday ($27 million for the weekend?), according to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com.
Deadline's Nikki Finke lists the top six movies on Friday: After Dinner for Schmucks, comes Leonardo DiCaprio's Inception with $7.8 million ($27 million for the weekend?), Angelina Jolie's Salt with $5.6 million, Zac Efron's Charlie St. Cloud with $5.3 million (the weekend prediction of $14 million found at Deadline.com is way lower than the $18m-$21 million many pundits were expecting), Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore with $4.3 million, and Despicable Me with $4.2 million.
At Deadline, Finke provides more details regarding number of screens and weekend estimates.
Photo: Universal Pictures