'Oblivion' is best Tom Cruise debut in nearly a decade
Tom Cruise is back on top at the North American box office, having had his biggest domestic opening weekend in seven years. According to April 19-21 weekend box office actuals found at Boxofficemojo.com, the Tom Cruise sci-fier Oblivion collected $37.05 million at 3,783 sites, including $1.1 million from late Thursday and midnight screenings, averaging $9,795 per venue.
That's an impressive opening, especially considering that Oblivion is not a sequel, is not in 3D, received widely mixed reviews (currently 53 percent approval rating and 5.7/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics), and had strong competition from American TV's entertainment for the masses in the form of police officers and the FBI hunting for the surviving Boston marathon terrorist.
Oblivion boasted Tom Cruise's best domestic opening – by a wide margin – since J.J. Abrams' threequel Mission: Impossible III's $47.74 million (approx. $59 million today) in May 2006. If distributor Universal is to be believed, the studio had been expecting an opening around $30 million.
Oblivion international box office: Tom Cruise remains a top box office attraction
Although not in 3D, Oblivion has already become a solid international box office hit, having taken in $112 million after about ten days. To date, Oblivion's top market is Russia; according to Box Office Mojo's Ray Subers, the Tom Cruise sci-fier opens in Japan and China in May. And if international box office estimates are accurate, Oblivion's current worldwide cume stands at $149.05 million.
In the action/adventure realm, Tom Cruise and Oblivion will have one more weekend for themselves in North America. After that, the sci-fier will likely plummet following the opening of Shane Black / Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man 3 on May 3.
Oblivion cost a reported $120 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses). A few sources have the film's budget pegged at $160 million.
Tom Cruise toplines Oblivion cast
Directed by TRON: Legacy's Joseph Kosinski, besides Tom Cruise, the Oblivion cast includes Oscar winners Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) and Melissa Leo (The Fighter), plus To the Wonder's Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Zoe Bell.
Based on a graphic novel written by Kosinski and Arvid Nelson, the Oblivion screenplay is credited to Kosinski, Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Karl Gajdusek (of the television series Last Resort and the thriller November Man, currently in pre-production).
Tom Cruise Oblivion photo: Universal Pictures.
Tom Cruise isn't the megastar he used to be – that is, if you believe North America represents the whole world. (More on that below.) Since J.J. Abrams' Mission: Impossible III back in 2006, only one Tom Cruise star vehicle in wide release has opened with more than $25 million at the domestic box office: Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which collected $29.55 million on its second weekend out (and first in wide release) in late December 2011. And that was a sequel. This weekend, Tom Cruise is back on North American screens with the non-sequel sci-fier Oblivion; the initial box office results have surpassed (official) studio expectations and, for that matter, the expectations of most pundits. (Image: Tom Cruise Oblivion.)
According to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com, Oblivion took in $13.3 million on Friday, including $1.1 million from late Thursday and midnight screenings. And that was when much of the United States was busy trying to unravel the media mess surrounding the identity of the suspected Boston terrorists: Was one of them the buffed-up naked guy escorted by police? Or perhaps the missing Indian-American student, whose family photos were splattered on know-nothing websites? And just as importantly, what's the difference between the Republic of Chechnya and the Czech Republic?
Barring another major revelation – however inaccurate or misleading it may turn out to be – that'll keep North Americans glued to their computers or TV sets, Oblivion seems to be on target to reach anywhere between $37-39 million at 3,783 North American locations by Sunday evening. That's not bad at all for a 2D movie that's not a sequel. In fact, that's by far Tom Cruise's best domestic opening since Mission: Impossible III's $47.74 million (approx. $59 million today) in May 2006. Distributor Universal had officially (if more than a tad modestly) been expecting somewhere around $30 million.
And let's not forget that Oblivion, unlike Cruise's two previous sci-fiers, Minority Report (2002) and War of the Worlds (2005), is an all-around Tom Cruise Movie. The former two, both late June releases, were Tom Cruise / Steven Spielberg collaborations; Spielberg's name was as much a selling point as Cruise's. For the record, Minority Report debuted with $35.67 million (approx. $49 million today) and War of the Worlds with $64.87 million (approx. $81.5 million today).
Oblivion international box office: Tom Cruise remains a top star outside North America
Although (curiously) not a 3D sci-fi extravaganza, Oblivion is already a solid hit internationally, having scored $77 million after about a week, with particularly strong showings in Russia, the UK, and France. Indeed, Tom Cruise's movies have fared much better internationally than in North America: since 2006, Adam Shankman's Rock of Ages and Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs, co-starring Meryl Streep, have been the only two Cruise movies that failed to reach $100 million overseas. Cruise has a supporting role in the former, while the latter's international box office gross, though hardly a blockbuster-like figure ($48.21 million), was more than three times the amount the political drama earned on North American screens.
For the record, the other Tom Cruise movies since 2006 are Christopher McQuarrie's Jack Reacher, with $136.49 million internationally (as per the most up-to-date figures found at Box Office Mojo); James Mangold's Knight and Day, co-starring Cameron Diaz, with $185.5m; Bryan Singer's Valkyrie, featuring Kenneth Branagh, with $117.19m; and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, with an astounding $485.31 million.
By Sunday evening, Oblivion should have grossed more than $150 million worldwide. Tom Cruise and Oblivion have another weekend for themselves (in the action / adventure area, that is), before Shane Black / Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man 3 takes over the reins of the domestic box office.
Oblivion budget: Not bad for a sci-fier
Oblivion cost a reported $120 million (not including prints and advertising), though Deadline.com puts the film's unofficial budget at closer to $160 million. Either way, Oblivion could hardly be considered a mega-expensive production – especially for a special-effects-laden sci-fier.
Compare the budget of Tom Cruise's Oblivion to those of the Kristen Stewart / Chris Hemsworth 2D period fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman, which cost a reported $170m; Channing Tatum's recent 3D actioner G.I. Joe: Retaliation's $130 million price tag; Sam Raimi / James Franco's 3D fantasy Oz the Great and Powerful's $215m; Andrew Stanton / Taylor Kitsch's 3D sci-fier John Carter's $250m; and Sam Mendes / Daniel Craig's 2D James Bond thriller Skyfall's $200 million. Or even Quentin Tarantino / Leonardo DiCaprio's Django Unchained's $100 million.
Tom Cruise leads Oblivion cast
Directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy), besides Tom Cruise, Oblivion features Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), To the Wonder's Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), and Zoe Bell. Based on a graphic novel by director Kosinski and Arvid Nelson, the Oblivion screenplay is credited to Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek (the TV series Last Resort; the thriller November Man, currently in pre-production), and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
Tom Cruise Oblivion photo: Universal Pictures.
Jackie Robinson movie '42' weekend box office: Best opening ever for a baseball movie?
The Jackie Robinson biopic 42, written and directed by Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland, and starring Chadwick Boseman and veteran Harrison Ford (from The Conversation and Star Wars to Cowboys & Aliens), opened with $9.1 million at 3,003 venues on Friday, April 12, according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. In all likelihood, 42 will have collected $25-$26 million by Sunday evening, thus boasting the biggest opening weekend ever for a baseball movie – sort of. (Image: An all-but-unrecognizable Harrison Ford as the Brooklyn Dodgers' Branch Rickey.)
In case you live on a planet where inflation is as real as the stories told in Hollywood movies (including those based on real-life events), then 42 is the unbeatable baseball movie: the best opening weekend ever, easily surpassing Bennett Miller / Brad Pitt's Moneyball ($19.5 million at 2,993 locations) and Dennis Dugan / Rob Schneider's The Benchwarmers ($19.65 million at 3,274 venues). Not to mention Clint Eastwood / Amy Adams' Trouble with the Curve ($12.16 million), Sam Raimi / Kevin Costner's For Love of the Game ($13.04 million), and Barry Levinson / Robert Redford's The Natural ($5.08 million at 989 sites).
But in case your place of residence is somewhere on Planet Earth, then things are a tad less clear-cut than that. In 2013 dollars, The Benchwarmers, for instance, took in approximately $24 million. For Love of the Game debuted with approx. $21 million, while The Natural collected approx. $12 million at less than one third the number of theaters screening the Jackie Robinson biopic.
True, if 42 does indeed reach $25-26 million, it'll still be ahead of the aforementioned three movies. But … once inflation is factored in, the Jackie Robinson may trail a Penny Marshall-directed baseball comedy starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna: A League of Their Own, which debuted with $13.73 million at 1,782 theaters in July 1992. In 2013 dollars, that opening figure represents $26.65 million – at 1,300 fewer locations. We'll know for a fact which movie is ahead once weekend box office actuals are released on Monday – Jackie Robinson Day.
Budgeted at a reported $38-$40 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses), the Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros. release better perform quite well in North America, as baseball movies almost invariably bomb internationally. If Box Office Mojo figures are accurate, A League of Their Own, to name one, grossed $107.53 million in the U.S. and Canada, but a mere $24.9 million elsewhere. More recently, the Academy Award-nominated Moneyball scored $75.6 million in North America, but only $34.6 million elsewhere despite strong awards-season buzz and the presence of Brad Pitt. (Probably not coincidentally, Moneyball's biggest international market by far – with $11.49 million – was Japan, where baseball is a highly popular sport.)
Harrison Ford box office
42 will mark Harrison Ford's fourth-best opening this century, even when taking inflation into account. Ahead of the baseball movie are the following: Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, featuring Shia LaBeouf, with $100.13 million (approx. $112 million today); Robert Zemeckis' What Lies Beneath, featuring Michelle Pfeiffer, with $29.7 million (approx. $44 million today); and Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens, featuring Daniel Craig, with $36.43 million (approx. $37 million today).
Jackie Robinson movie cast
In addition to Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, the 42 cast features Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson, Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher, Ryan Merriman as Dixie Walker, Lucas Black, Alan Tudyk, T.R. Knight, Andre Holland, Hamish Linklater, and John C. McGinley.
Brian Helgeland won an Academy Award for the screenplay of Curtis Hanson's 1997 crime drama L.A. Confidential. Additionally, Helgeland was nominated for the Clint Eastwood / Sean Penn effort Mystic River (2003). As a director, Helgeland's previous feature film was the Heath Ledger movie The Order, released ten years ago.
Photo of Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey in the Jackie Robinson movie 42: Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.
April 13 early a.m.
Jackie Robinson biopic '42' box office: Overperforming at no. 1
The Jackie Robinson biopic 42 has topped Friday's domestic box office chart and will easily become the weekend's no. 1 movie as well. Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, and starring Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as the Brooklyn Dodgers' executive Branch Rickey, 42 took in $8.5 million at 3,003 North American locations on Friday and could reach $25-$26 million by Sunday evening according to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com.
The good news: the Jackie Robinson movie, which apparently will open above expectations (those had been in the low $20 million range) received an 'A+' CinemaScore, which in turn is supposed to help give a movie sturdy legs as a result of solid word of mouth. We'll find out for sure next weekend if that'll indeed be the case for 42.
Anyhow, budgeted at a reported $38-$40 million (not including prints and advertising), the Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros. Jackie Robinson biopic better get plenty of good words coming out of North American mouths, as 42's sole international attraction is Harrison Ford, one whose box office allure in the past decade is a mere shadow of Ford's at his peak in the '80s and '90s. Add to that the baseball setting and the racism-in-America theme (without Quentin Tarantino's blood & guts brand and the presence of someone like Leonardo DiCaprio), and it becomes clear that if 42 is to recover its moderate budget at the box office, it must do solid business in the United States (and, as a bonus, Canada). (See also: Clint Eastwood's Trouble with the Curve vs. Brad Pitt's Moneyball at the international box office.)
Harrison Ford box office
Since the dawn of the 21st century (let's say that happened in the year 2000, instead of 2001), a mere three Harrison Ford movies have earned more than $50 million at the domestic box office: Robert Zemeckis' thriller What Lies Beneath (2000), co-starring Michelle Pfeiffer, which collected $155.46 million (approx. $232 million today); Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2007), with Shia LaBeouf, which took in $317.1 million (approx. $356 million today); and Jon Favreau's costly box office bomb Cowboys & Aliens (2011), with Daniel Craig, which grossed $100.24 million (approx. $102 million today).
If inflation is taken into account – as it always should – Harrison Ford had another $50m+ grosser this century: Firewall (2006), featuring Paul Bettany and Virginia Madsen, which brought in $48.75 million or approx. $60 million adjusted.
K-19: The Widowmaker, Hollywood Homicide, Crossing Over, Extraordinary Measures, and Morning Glory, the last title despite the presence of Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams, were all bombs. Also worth noting is that in most instances international figures were even poorer than domestic ones.
Chances are the Jackie Robinson movie will pass the $50 million mark in North America; however, at this stage the $100 million milestone seems out of reach.
Of note: As Branch Rickey, Harrison Ford undergoes a physical transformation not unlike that of Jon Voight – as Howard Cosell – in Michael Mann's Ali (2001), starring Will Smith as Muhammad Ali. Voight earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his efforts.
Jackie Robinson movie cast
Besides Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the 42 cast includes Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson, Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher, Ryan Merriman as Dixie Walker, Lucas Black, Andre Holland, Alan Tudyk, Hamish Linklater, T.R. Knight, and John C. McGinley.
As a director, 42 is Brian Helgeland's first feature to hit theaters since the Heath Ledger vehicle The Order ten years ago. Helgeland, in fact, is best known for his screenplays, including those for Paul Greengrass / Matt Damon's Green Zone; Ridley Scott / Russell Crowe's Robin Hood; Tony Scott / Denzel Washington's Man of Fire; Clint Eastwood / Sean Penn's Mystic River, which earned Helgeland an Academy Award nomination; and Curtis Hanson / Russell Crowe's L.A. Confidential, which earned Helgeland an Oscar.
Ah, and in case you're wondering why 42 opened this particular weekend, well, next Monday is Major League Baseball's Jackie Robinson Day. Warner Bros., which has been having a rotten year at the box office (e.g., The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Jack the Giant Slayer, Gangster Squad), surely would not be taking any chances.
The Jackie Robinson Story
A curiosity: Jackie Robinson played himself in a low-budget, independently made 1950 biopic, The Jackie Robinson Story, directed by former Warner Bros. veteran Alfred E. Green, and co-starring Ruby Dee. Small-time supporting player Minor Watson (Copacabana, The Jolson Story) played Branch Rickey; veteran Louise Beavers (Imitation of Life) played Robinson's mother.
Weekend box office
In case the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 does indeed open with $25-$26 million, it'll be the only movie grossing more than $20 million at the domestic box office this weekend. Malcolm D. Lee's Scary Movie 5, produced by David Zucker and featuring a much-talked-about bed scene with Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, should debut with a paltry $10m-$12 million by Sunday evening, following an estimated $4-5 million at 3,202 venues on Friday. For comparison's sake: Scary Movie 4, toplining Anna Faris, debuted with $40.22 million (approx. $49 million today) in mid-April 2006.
Holdovers The Croods, featuring the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Nicolas Cage, and Emma Stone; Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson's G.I. Joe: Retaliation; the Evil Dead 2013 remake; and Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park 3D rerelease are all expected to earn less than $15 million.
Note: Official Friday box office estimates will be released on Saturday morning. Weekend box office estimates come out on Sunday and weekend actuals on Monday – Jackie Robinson Day.
Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in 42 movie photo: Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.
'Jurassic Park 3D' weekend box office: Trailing 'Titanic 3D' & 'The Phantom Menace'?
Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park 3D rerelease will likely gross a solid (but hardly tyrannosauric) $17-18 million at the North American box office this weekend, after having collected $7 million at 2,771 venues on Friday, according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. Originally released in 1993, Jurassic Park, starring Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Richard Attenborough, took in $357.06 million at the time, or about $694 million in 2013 dollars. Worldwide, the early 1990s Jurassic Park release scored $557.62 million, or approximately $896 million today, for an adjusted worldwide total that reached almost $1.6 billion.
Here are a couple of comparisons to Jurassic Park 3D (likely) weekend box office performance: James Cameron's Titanic 3D rerelease in early April 2012 pulled in $17.68 million at 2,674 sites on its first weekend out in North America. However, by then Titanic 3D had already blown off some steam, as it opened on a Wednesday: the film's initial five-day haul was $25.64 million.
In case Jurassic Park 3D does indeed gross $18 million this weekend (on a par with Titanic 3D's initial weekend), it'll be doing so without having blown off any box office steam. In other words, Titanic 3D would be the movie with higher popular appeal.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (soon to be seen in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street), Kate Winslet, and veteran Gloria Stuart (The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House), Titanic 3D ultimately cumed at $57.85 million in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, Cameron's epic love story earned an astounding $285.66 million internationally (most up-to-date figure found at Box Office Mojo), more than half of it (an estimated $145m) from China. The original Titanic opened in late 2007.
In February 2012, George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D opened with $22.46 million at 2,655 locations. The Phantom Menace 3D eventually cumed at $43.45 million in North America, plus (approx.) a relatively modest $59.28 million internationally (most up-to-date figure found at Box Office Mojo). First released in 1999, The Phantom Menace features Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Jake Lloyd, Terence Stamp, Pernilla August, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Celia Imrie, Keira Knightley, and Sofia Coppola.
Don't be too surprised if Jurassic Park 3D follows a pattern similar to that of Titanic 3D, with international grosses far surpassing the domestic total – especially considering that when the original opened two decades ago, current top markets such as China and Russia were a fraction of what they would become a decade or so later.
Weekend box office
The top five movies at the North American box office this weekend will likely be the following: at no. 1, Fede Alvarez's Sam Raimi-produced Evil Dead 2013, with approx. $27 million (though poor word of mouth – C+ CinemaScore – may hinder Saturday and Sunday business). Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson's G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Croods, featuring the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, and Nicolas Cage, are vying for the second spot, each with around $20-21 million.
Jurassic Park 3D will be the no. 4 movie, followed by Tyler Perry's Temptation, featuring Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams, among others, with about $10 million.
Official studio estimates will be released on Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals come out on Monday.
'Jurassic Park 3D' cast
Based on Michael Crichton's bestselling science-fiction thriller, Jurassic Park was adapted by Crichton and David Koepp (Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man, War of the Worlds). The cast includes the aforementioned Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and veteran actor-director Richard Attenborough (Brighton Rock, Gandhi), in addition to Jeff Goldblum, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, BD Wong, Wayne Knight, and a pre-Pulp Fiction (and long-pre-The Avengers) Samuel L. Jackson.
Jurassic Park 3D Laura Dern Sam Neill photo: Universal Pictures.
'Evil Dead' 2013 remake to easily beat 'Jurassic Park 3D' rerelease at North American box office
Last weekend, the top movie at the North American – actually, at the worldwide – box office was the critically lambasted 3D-converted sequel of a critically lambasted movie based on a toy. This weekend, besides the aforementioned 3D toy-movie sequel, two of the other top four movies at the North American box office will be the remake of a horror cult classic and the 3D-converted rerelease of a two-decade-old horror blockbuster. As the old saying goes, movie audiences want fresh, original ideas. That explains why the resurrected Evil Dead will be this weekend's no. 1 movie, likely to be followed by G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Croods, and the resurrected dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's 3D-enhanced 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park. (Image: Evil Dead 2013.)
According to early, rough box office estimates found at Deadline.com, Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead 2013 will likely overperform. Very early unofficial estimates had the horror remake grossing as much as $30 million by Sunday evening, but by Friday night estimates had been downsized to (a still solid) $27 million following an estimated gross of $11.5 million at 3,025 locations on Friday, including $1.8 million earned at late and midnight Thursday screenings according to official studio estimates.
Unsurprisingly, Evil Dead's grosses from Thursday and midnight showings represent a sizable chunk of what Sam Raimi's 1983 original (actually first screened in 1981) The Evil Dead earned during its entire run: $2.4 million, or about $6 million adjusted for inflation.
A TriStar (Sony Pictures) / FilmDistrict collaboration, Evil Dead features Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, 2005 Berlin Film Festival Best Actor Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker), Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore. Sam Raimi, for his part, is back as one of the 2013 Evil Dead producers, and so are The Evil Dead producer Robert G. Tapert and executive producer Bruce Campbell (now with a “producer” credit).
Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, and Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park 3D is expected to take in $18 million over the weekend, after pulling in an estimated $7 million on Friday. Both Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson's G.I. Joe: Retaliation and DreamWorks Animation's The Croods, featuring the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, and Nicolas Cage, are expected to bring in $21-$22 million by Sunday evening. Note: Official (studio) Friday estimates will be released Saturday morning; chances are there'll be some adjusting to the early, rough estimates found in this piece. Weekend box office actuals will be published on Monday.
Producer Sam Raimi box office
Sam Raimi's biggest hit as a producer – i.e., not including the Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco, which he directed – is the 2004 horror thriller The Grudge, featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The Grudge opened with $39.12 million, or the equivalent of about $51 million today, eventually cuming at a remarkable $110.35 million in the U.S. and Canada, or about $143 million in 2013 dollars. Needless to say, there's no chance Evil Dead 2013 will get even close to that figure.
'The Evil Dead' cast
For the record, the 1981/1983 The Evil Dead cast included executive producer Bruce Campbell (recently seen in Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful), Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Philip A. Gillis, and Dorothy Tapert (producer Robert G. Tapert's sister).
Evil Dead 2013 picture: TriStar / Sony Pictures.