The Host box office: Movie version of Stephenie Meyer book flops
April 1 update: Writer-director Andrew Niccol’s movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s science-fiction novel The Host opened in sixth place on the domestic box office chart, with a paltry $10.6 million at 3,202 locations, according to weekend actuals found at Boxofficemojo.com. That’s between two-thirds to half what some had been expecting The Host might gross on opening weekend; in other words, the sci-fier starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, and Diane Kruger has become 2013’s latest major box office disappointment.
It may seem cruel to make comparisons to either Twilight or The Hunger Games, both of which, like The Host, were based on popular young-adult novels, and feature a strong, young female character and two male objects of desire. Based on Stephenie Meyer’s first novel in the Twilight Saga bestselling literary franchise, Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (and featuring Taylor Lautner in a supporting role), opened with $69.63 million in the U.S. and Canada in fall 2008. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, and directed by Gary Ross, The Hunger Games, based on the first novel of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy, debuted with $152.53 million in March 2012.
The Host opens below both early and late estimates
Once domestic Friday figures were in, it seemed possible that The Host would earn somewhere between $13m-14 million. Distributor Open Road Films’ Sunday estimates had their release collecting a considerably more modest $11 million. As it stands, The Host‘s per-theater average was a meager $3,310 – the lowest among the top six movies at the domestic box office.
True, The Host didn’t suffer as dismal a debut as that of Richard LaGravenese’s Warner Bros.-distributed Beautiful Creatures earlier this year – $7.58 million at 2,950 venues, despite the presence of Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Irons in supporting roles. Yet, The Host‘s opening-weekend box office take is incredibly disappointing considering the Stephenie Meyer “brand” – Meyer is also one of the film’s producers – the Twilight connection (by way of Meyer), and its reported $40 million budget (not including prints and advertising, or box-office-related contractual obligations).
Barring a miracle, The Host will fail to match its production budget at the domestic box office, let alone recover it. For Saoirse Ronan, that’ll be a come down from Hanna ($40.25 million domestic cume), the 2011 Joe Wright thriller in which she starred opposite Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. Hanna opened with $12.37 million at 2,535 theaters, averaging $4,880 per site.
The Host movie: Poorly received adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s novel
Clearly not helping matters has been The Host‘s overwhelmingly negative critical reception in North America. The Andrew Niccol / Stephenie Meyer collaboration currently has a 17 percent approval rating and 4.2/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.
The Host‘s only chance of not ending up deep in the red – well, not including the movie’s future ancillary revenues – is the international market. Prospects are unclear at this stage; in Spain, The Host brought in an acceptable $1.08 million the previous weekend, while this past weekend it collected $6 million overall (including $92,282 in Turkey). I was unable to find any detailed information about the film’s box office take overseas or number of territories where The Host is currently playing.
Domestic Box office: G.I. Joe: Retaliation opens with slightly less than estimated
By far, the leader this past Easter weekend was Jon M. Chu’s dismally received 3D action thriller G.I. Joe: Retaliation, with approximately $40.5 million on the weekend proper (distributor Paramount Pictures had estimated $41.2 million) and a $51 million four-day cume. At no. 2 was DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, with $26.7 million (down 39 percent).
Tyler Perry’s Temptation, featuring reality TV celebrity Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams, both overperformed and underperformed on the last March 2013 weekend: its $21.64 million was better than many had been expecting a week ago, but about $700,000 less than distributor Lionsgate estimated on Sunday morning. At no. 4, Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen, featuring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and a ragtag group of North Korean terrorists earned $14.14 million (down 53 percent).
At no. 5 was Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, with James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams, collecting $11.7 million. At no. 6 was The Host, followed by Halle Berry’s The Call with $4.92 million and Paul Rudd / Tina Fey’s box office bomb Adsmission, with $3.23 million ($11.74 million cume after ten days).
Rounding out the top twelve in North America were Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, with James Franco, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens, which pulled in $2.77 million (down 43 percent despite the addition of 275 venues); the Steve Carell / Jim Carrey bomb The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, with $1.34 million (and a measly $20.62 million after three weekends); Jason Bateman / Melissa McCarthy’s Identity Thief, with $1.09m; and Bryan Singer / Nicholas Hoult / Ewan McGregor’s Jack the Giant Slayer, with $1.02 million.
Oz the Great and Powerful, currently with $198.37 million domestically, should pass the $200 million milestone either today or tomorrow (Tuesday) at the latest.
The Host movie cast
Besides Saoirse Ronan, Red Riding Hood‘s Max Irons, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Sea of Monsters’ Jake Abel, Inglourious Basterds’ Diane Kruger, and parasitical aliens known as “Souls,” The Host features Best Actor Oscar winner and multiple nominee William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, A History of Violence), Olympus Has Fallen‘s Phil Austin, Frances Fisher, Jhil McEntyre, Chandler Canterbury, Scott Lawrence, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Conroy, Emily Browning, and Rachel Roberts. (Roberts is writer-director Andrew Niccol’s wife; no relation to This Sporting Life‘s Oscar-nominated actress of the same name.)
The Host Jake Abel photo: Open Road Films.
As proof positive that moviegoers everywhere are eager for Quality Movies, Quality Stories, and Quality Acting, Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, “the year’s first blockbuster” according to distributor Paramount Pictures, opened to the tune of $132 million at the worldwide box office in the last week of March – the biggest global opening of 2013.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted Paramount’s vice chairman Rob Moore as saying that the $130 million-budgeted G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘s 3D conversion and added scenes got the action movie “to a great place,” hence its international success. That “great place” currently has a downright rotten 21 percent approval rating and 4.4/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics, but I guess you just can’t please everyone. By the way, the G.I. Joe: Retaliation reshoots were reportedly done to enhance the participation of co-lead Channing Tatum following his box office success opposite Rachel McAdams in The Vow and opposite Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street.
‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ box office: Somewhat underwhelming in North America
Now, G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘s global box office success wasn’t uniform. The Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) / Bruce Willis combo did what amounts to solid though hardly outstanding business in North America, debuting with a 3D-surcharge-boosted $51.7 million after four days in release (including late Wednesday evening and midnight shows) at 3,719 locations, according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. On the Easter weekend proper (March 29-31), G.I. Joe: Retaliation scored an estimated $41.2 million.
That places G.I. Joe: Retaliation in the second slot for Easter weekend openings in the U.S. and Canada, right behind – or rather, quite some ways behind – Louis Leterrier / Sam Worthington’s Clash of the Titans’ $61.23 million in 2010. Note: Clash of the Titans opened on late Thursday evening; so direct comparisons to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which blew off some steam on late Wednesday / all-day Thursday, aren’t exactly fair.
Oh, but wait! (Ignore this paragraph if you live on a planet where inflation doesn’t exist.) Adjusted for 2013 ticket prices (based on Box Office Mojo’s chart), G.I. Joe: Retaliation is actually no. 5 on the Easter weekend domestic box office chart, trailing not only Clash of the Titans, but also David Zucker / Anna Faris’ comedy Scary Movie 4 (approx. $49 million), Andy and Lana Wachowski / Keanu Reeves’ sci-fier The Matrix ($approx. $44 million), and David Fincher / Jodie Foster / Kristen Stewart’s thriller Panic Room (approx. $41.6m). Note: Scary Movie 4, The Matrix, and Panic Room didn’t have the advantage of box office inflating 3D surcharges; in other words, they sold many more tickets than G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
And at no. 6 on the adjusted Easter weekend box office chart, Adrian Lyne’s 1993 melodrama Indecent Proposal debuted with approx. $35 million at 1,694 venues – less than half the number of theaters showing G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Either way, the Robert Redford / Demi Moore / Woody Harrelson “Will You Kindly Sell Me Your Wife” flick undoubtedly sold more tickets than the G.I. Joe sequel.
‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ vs. ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ box office
For comparison’s sake: without the assistance of 3D surcharges, the $175 million-budgeted G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, also starring Channing Tatum, also targeting young males, and also widely lambasted by critics, scored $54.71 million on its first weekend out in early August 2009. True, that was during the summer movie season, but August isn’t exactly a blockbuster bonanza month.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra went on to cume at $150.2 million in North America, plus an additional $152.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $302.5 million. Unsurprisingly, considering that branded braindead 3D movies tend to perform remarkably well in numerous key international territories, G.I. Joe: Retaliation will easily surpass that figure. G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘s top international territory this weekend was Russia, with $11 million.
In North America, however, there’s no chance that Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful – the year’s actual first (and really, so far only) domestic blockbuster – will fall behind G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Oz the Great and Powerful, which has thus far collected $198.37 million in North America, stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz.
‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ cast: The hunk, the brawny, and the shirtless
Besides the hunky Channing Tatum, the brawny Dwayne Johnson, and the shirtless D.J. Cotrona – and Bruce Willis, whose other 2013 actioner, Another Day to Die Hard, limped along in North America, but has performed remarkably well internationally – G.I. Joe: Retaliation features Jonathan Pryce (Brazil), Adrianne Palicki, Luke Bracey, Elodie Yung, Joseph Mazzello, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, and Ray Stevenson.
Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are credited for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation screenplay, based on the life and times of a Hasbro toy. (Not the same one that inspired the Michael Bay / Shia LaBeouf movie franchise Transformers or Peter Berg’s Battleship, which is actually based not on a mere Hasbro toy, but on a Hasbro game.)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation photo featuring stud Channing Tatum, beefcake Dwayne Johnson, and shirtless D.J. Cotrona: Paramount Pictures.
No one was expecting The Host, Andrew Niccol’s film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s science-fiction novel, to reach the domestic box office heights of the first Twilight movie, also based on a Meyer novel. And let’s not even mention Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games, which, much like Twilight and The Host, was based on a bestselling novel for young adults featuring a determined heroine (Jennifer Lawrence) and the two men in her life (Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson). (Image: Saoirse Ronan The Host movie.)
In fact, The Host would have had a phenomenal opening were it to earn half of the $69.63 million (not adjusted for inflation) that Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight brought in in its first three days out. A third of that amount would have been good. One fourth ($17.5m) would have been acceptable. (The Hunger Games, by the way, opened with $152.53 million.)
The Host likely to open below $15 million
Yet, if Friday box office estimates are any indication – $5.5 million according to studio figures found at Boxofficemojo.com – The Host will likely bring in around $13-14 million from 3,202 North American locations this Easter weekend. If so, that would represent approximately $4,300 per theater. [Addendum: As per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, The Host grossed a mere $11 million this Easter weekend following a steep Saturday drop – bad word of mouth? If accurate, that makes The Host a downright box office flop, with a paltry per-theater average of $3,436.]
Although that’s not as poor a debut as that of Richard LaGravenese’s Warner Bros.-distributed Beautiful Creatures earlier this year – $7.58 million at 2,950 venues – an opening-weekend box office take below $15 million is still highly disappointing considering Stephenie Meyer’s attachment to the project (Meyer is also one of the film’s producers) and its Twilight connection, and the film’s reported $40 million budget (not including prints and advertising, or box-office-related contractual obligations).
Of course, it’s true that The Host‘s heroine and heroes – Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, and Jack Abel – aren’t household names, but then again, neither were Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (or Taylor Lautner, who has a supporting role in the first film) back in 2008. Saoirse Ronan, in fact, is bigger today than Kristen Stewart was four and a half years ago: Ronan received a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for Joe Wright’s Atonement in early ’08, and two years ago starred in the minor sleeper hit Hanna ($40.25 million domestic), opposite Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett.
The Host movie: Critics deride adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s novel
Clearly not helping matters has been The Host‘s overwhelmingly negative critical reception in North America. The Andrew Niccol / Stephenie Meyer romantic sci-fier currently has a downright rotten 17 percent approval rating and 4.2/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics. The good news: that’s up from 6 percent approval rating two days ago. The bad news: the increase in more positive (or less negative) reviews may not be good enough to help the movie remain on North American screens long enough to match its budget – let alone recover it.
Note: A domestic box office cume of $40 million for The Host would be a major disappointment, whereas a box office cume of $40.25 million for Hanna was a good surprise. No, that has nothing to do with the $250,000 difference. One reason is that Hanna reportedly cost 25 percent less than The Host, but the key point here is the lure of the Stephenie Meyer brand – i.e., brand recognition was lacking in Saoirse Ronan’s 2011 thriller.
International prospects are unclear; an Open Road Films release in the U.S., The Host will be distributed by various different entities elsewhere. (E1 Films is handling Canada.) Saoirse Ronan isn’t an international star, but Twilight is a considerably bigger box office draw outside North America. So, theoretically, thanks to the Stephenie Meyer / Twilight connection, The Host could be more enthusiastically received overseas; in Spain, it earned an acceptable $1.08 million last weekend.
Domestic Box office: The Host movie likely to open at no. 5
The Host will likely trail four movies at the North American box office this weekend. [Addendum: As per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, The Host trailed five movies, including Sam Raimi / James Franco’s Oz the Great and Powerful‘s $11.6m.]
The indisputable leader will be Jon M. Chu’s poorly received action thriller G.I. Joe: Retaliation, with approximately $40 million[studio estimate: $41.2 million] for the Easter weekend, and a total around $50 million[$51.7m] for the film’s first four days. That’ll be followed by last weekend’s holdover The Croods, with around $27-28 million [$26.9 million, down a moderately high 39 percent].
Tyler Perry’s Temptation, featuring reality TV celebrity Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams, overperformed on Friday and should gross $20-21 million by Sunday evening [overperformed if estimates are correct: $22.3m]. The no. 4 movie will likely be another holdover, Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen, featuring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and North Korean terrorists, which is expected to collect around $14-15 million [$14 million, down a high 54 percent].
Unless The Host overperforms on Saturday and Easter Sunday, the film version of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight follow-up will trail the North Korean baddies. [It trailed the Oz fairies, too. See above.]
The Host movie cast
In addition to Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, and parasitical aliens known as “Souls,” The Host features Inglourious Basterds’ Diane Kruger, Best Actor Oscar winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Olympus Has Fallen‘s Phil Austin, Chandler Canterbury, Scott Lawrence, Stephen Conroy, Frances Fisher, Jhil McEntyre, Boyd Holbrook, Emily Browning, and Rachel Roberts. (Roberts is writer-director Andrew Niccol’s wife; no relation to This Sporting Life‘s Oscar-nominated actress of the same name.)
Saoirse Ronan The Host movie photo: Open Road Films.
Hollywood producers, movie exhibitors, the powers-that-be at the Motion Picture Association of America, and some film critics are always saying stuff like “If you make Good Movies, they’ll come,” or “There’s no box office problem that Good Movies can’t solve,” or “Audiences are eager for Good Movies, Good Stories, and Good Acting.” (Image: G.I. Joe: Retaliation Channing Tatum.)
Well, the proof is in the celluloid (or digital, as the case may be) pudding: Starring Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, and Bruce Willis, Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, is set to top the domestic (and probably international) box office this weekend, followed by last weekend’s holdover The Croods, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, the Gerard Butler thriller Olympus Has Fallen, and the movie version of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation Rotten Tomatoes rating downright rotten
G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which received an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers, currently has a rotten 21 percent approval rating and 4.4/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics. Tyler Perry’s Temptation has 0 percent approval rating (10 reviews) and 3.5/10 average. Olympus Has Fallen has 41 percent approval rating and 5.4/10 average. The Host has 17 percent approval rating and 4.2/10 average. The one (more or less) exception among this Easter weekend’s expected top five films at the North American box office is The Croods: 70 percent approval rating, though a just barely passable 6.3/10 average.
Perhaps Hollywood’s box office motto should be changed to “If you give them Crap they’ll come – and come again for the 3D sequel?”
G.I. Joe: Retaliation box office
According to early, rough Easter weekend box office estimates found at both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is expected to gross anywhere between $12m-$15 million on Good Friday. That’s good, considering that the Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson action flick had already taken in $10.5 million at 3,719 venues on Thursday (including late Wednesday and midnight showings), but possibly not good enough for the costly movie to reach $50 million in its first four days out.
If Good Friday figures are accurate, G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘s chances of surpassing the $50 million milestone in the U.S. and Canada will depend on its popularity among Saturday moviegoers, and whether or not little kids will manage to convince their parents to take them to the blow’em-up movie instead of, say, The Croods or Oz the Great and Powerful.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation cost a reported $130m, not including prints and advertising. According to the Reporter, Paramount Pictures financed half the film’s cost, while MGM and Skydance Productions took care of the other half. Costs soared when the studio(s) decided to convert G.I. Joe: Retaliation to 3D and to revamp Channing Tatum’s role after his domestic box office successes The Vow, opposite Rachel McAdams, and 21 Jump Street, with Jonah Hill. (Neither movie was an international hit; nor was Tatum’s Magic Mike.) As per various reports, Channing Tatum’s character died in the original version of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. (Will that momentous demise be available as an extra on the film’s DVD?)
Box Office: G.I. Joe: Retaliation vs. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
For comparison’s sake, without the assistance of 3D surcharges, the original $175 million-budgeted G.I. Joe movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, also starring Channing Tatum, collected $54.71 million on its first weekend out in early August 2009. True, that was in the summer, but August isn’t exactly a blockbuster bonanza month.
To date, the biggest domestic August opening (not adjusted for inflation) remains Matt Damon’s thriller The Bourne Ultimatum, with $69.28 million in 2007. Adjusted for inflation, the top movie is the Jackie Chan / Chris Tucker 2002 action comedy Rush Hour 2, with approximately $96 million. At no. 3, The Bourne Ultimatum brought in approx. $81 million in 2013 dollars. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is no. 6 on the adjusted chart, with about $59 million.
Though lambasted by critics and derided even by many of the people who pay to watch those types of movies, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra eventually grossed $150.2 million in North America, plus an additional $152.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $302.5 million – a solid figure, but hardly enough to cover the film’s $175 million budget, not to mention its marketing and distribution expenses. (Remember, as a rule of thumb studios gets about 50 percent of a movie’s domestic box office gross and 40 percent from the international market. Anyhow, ancillary revenues most likely took care of that budgetary problem.)
Now, thanks to the international market, where – in several key territories – sequels and 3D action movies tend to perform exceedingly well, G.I. Joe: Retaliation will in all likelihood surpass the box office take of the original. The film also opens this Easter weekend in about 75 percent of the international market, including major territories Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
In North America, however, things are iffier. At this stage, there’s no chance Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz, will be kicked out of its current spot at the pinnacle of the 2013 domestic box office chart.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation cast
Besides Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock), and Bruce Willis (whose Another Day to Die Hard nearly died the death in North America, but performed remarkably well internationally), G.I. Joe: Retaliation features Brazil‘s Jonathan Pryce, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Elodie Yung, Luke Bracey, Joseph Mazzello, Ray Park, and Ray Stevenson. Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are credited for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation screenplay, inspired by a Hasbro toy. (Not the same one that inspired the Michael Bay movie franchise Transformers.)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation Channing Tatum photo: Paramount Pictures.