The Croods, DreamWorks Animation’s first movie distributed under a new deal with 20th Century Fox (following six years, 2006-2012, at Paramount), will be the undisputable box office champ this weekend, March 22-24. Directed by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, The Croods will almost inevitably pass the $40 million mark by Sunday evening, probably scoring up to $43 million after collecting $11.6 million at 4,046 locations on Friday according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. (Image: DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods.) [Sunday addendum: According to studio weekend box office estimates, The Croods opened with $44.7m.]
The previous two weekends’ top movie, Sam Raimi’s Disney-distributed Oz the Great and Powerful, is expected to go down two spots (also falling behind newcomer Olympus Has Fallen), bringing in $20-22 million for the weekend. James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz star.
The Croods vs. DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon, Monsters vs. Aliens
For comparison’s sake: on the same weekend in 2010, DreamWorks Animation’s Paramount-distributed How to Train Your Dragon, featuring the voices of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, and Gerard Butler, debuted with $43.73 million at 4,055 sites. Budgeted at $165 million, How to Train Your Dragon went on to collect $217.58 million in North America and $277.27 million internationally, for a worldwide grand total of $494.87 million.
The previous year, also in late March, DreamWorks Animation / Paramount’s $175 million-budgeted Monsters vs. Aliens, featuring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, and Seth Rogen, opened with $59.32 million (approx. $64 million today) at 4,104 sites. Monsters vs. Aliens cumed at $198.35 million in North America and $183.15 million internationally, for a worldwide grand total of $381.5 million. (Note that a bigger debut doesn’t necessarily translate into a bigger cume, whether at the domestic or the international box office.)
The Croods has a 6.3/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics vs. How to Train Your Dragon‘s 7.6/10 and Monsters vs. Aliens’ 6.2/10.
DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods vs. other animated March releases
Though likely to fall slightly behind How to Train Your Dragon and surely to trail Monsters vs. Aliens by a wide margin, The Croods should at least land ahead of Carlos Saldanha’s 20th Century Fox-distributed Rio, featuring the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, which opened with $39.22 million in mid-April 2011. [Addendum: If studio estimates are accurate, The Croods opened to slightly bigger numbers than How to Train Your Dragon, even adjusting for inflation.]
But then again, The Croods is bound to open below the figures earned by two other March animated releases, Fox’s Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, featuring the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, and Universal’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, featuring the voices of Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, and Taylor Swift. The former opened with $45.01 million in 2008 (approx. $50.5 million today); the latter debuted with $70.21 million last year.
The Croods voice cast
Reportedly made for $135 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses which could easily add up to another $70m), The Croods features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone (whose Gangster Squad was a big disappointment earlier this year), Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, and 1971 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman (for Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show), who turns 87 next April 30.
This weekend, The Croods is also opening in about 45 international markets, among them Russia, Brazil, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. Don’t be too surprised if the DreamWorks Animation film easily beats its domestic take at the international box office.
The Croods image: DreamWorks Animation / 20th Century Fox.
Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart, will be this weekend’s no. 2 movie, trailing only DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods and far surpassing early expectations. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, best known for the Ethan Hawke / Denzel Washington good cop vs. bad cop drama Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen should collect $28 million by Sunday evening – the film opened with an estimated $10.4 million at 3,098 venues on Friday according to Box Office Mojo – thus providing 2013 with the year’s second biggest R-rated opening and distributor FilmDistrict with its biggest opening weekend to date. Early estimates had the Gerard Butler White House movie opening around $20 million. (Image: Olympus Has Fallen Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart.) [Sunday addendum: According to studio estimates, Olympus Has Fallen opened with $30.5m]
Olympus Has Fallen far surpasses 2013’s other action thrillers
Among 2013’s R-rated films, Olympus Has Fallen is expected to debut behind only Seth Gordon’s comedy Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, which brought in $34.55 million on its first weekend out in the U.S. and Canada in early February. Olympus Has Fallen, however, will easily beat all other R-rated thrillers / actioners released in North America this year, such as John Moore / Bruce Willis’ A Good Day to Die Hard ($24.83m) and the Jeremy Renner / Gemma Arterton action-fantasy Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ($19.69m).
In fact, in its first three days Olympus Has Fallen should rake in more than twice the total domestic gross of Kim Jee-woon / Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand ($12.05 million), and more than the combined totals of two other 2013 action thrillers: Taylor Hackford / Jason Statham’s Parker ($17.56m) and Walter Hill / Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head ($9.48m).
Olympus Has Fallen will also far surpass FilmDistrict’s previous top opening-weekend grosser, the eventual box office bomb Red Dawn. Directed by Dan Bradley, and featuring Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth, the $65 million-budgeted Red Dawn debuted with $14.27 million in November 2012, cuming at $44.8 million in North America (no overseas figures available).
With Russia and China now major markets for American movies, and perhaps somewhat tired of portraying Arabs and/or Muslims as major threats to the United States, Hollywood has now found a convenient “alien” enemy to the cause of Freedom and Democracy: North Koreans. They (quite literally) replaced Chinese invaders in the widely lambasted Red Dawn, and are the ones out to blow up the White House in the flag-waving Olympus Has Fallen.
Olympus Has Fallen a box office hit?
So, if the anti-North Korean Olympus Has Fallen earns $28 million in the U.S. and Canada, will that make it a box office hit? Well, not necessarily. Once prints and advertising are factored in, Olympus Has Fallen‘s costs will likely escalate to something close to $110 million. (The Millennium Films-produced thriller cost a reported $70m.) Barring excellent word of mouth – the Antoine Fuqua / Gerard Butler flick currently has an A- CinemaScore rating – the film should be taking a tumble next weekend, when the Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson star vehicle G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which targets a similar demographic group, and the Saoirse Ronan sci-fier The Host open.
The $92 million-budgeted A Good Day to Die Hard, for instance, opened with $24.83 million domestically, cuming at a mediocre $65.93 million. The film’s salvation was the international box office, where branded (and braindead) actioners tend to perform quite well: $200.25 million.
Now, Gerard Butler is the brand-less Olympus Has Fallen‘s sole name with even a modicum of international box office appeal. Yet, Butler’s last movie to earn more than $100 million internationally was the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth, co-starring Katherine Heigl, back in 2009.
Considering its action theme, Olympus Has Fallen could theoretically reach that milestone, though apart from stuff featuring superheroes / aliens (of the outer-space variety), flag-waving American movies – e.g., G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Act of Valor; or even Ben Affleck’s Argo – tend to perform more modestly (or downright bomb) outside North America. Antoine Fuqua’s own Shooter, starring Mark Wahlberg and featuring a plot to kill the president of the United States, pulled in a disappointing $48.69 million internationally in 2007.
Olympus Has Fallen cast
Written by newcomers Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger, besides Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart Olympus Has Fallen features Angela Bassett, Phil Austin, Finley Jacobsen, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Rick Yune, James Ingersoll, and Ashley Judd.
Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, featuring the White House at the mercy of American right-wing terrorists, Channing Tatum, Joey King, Jason Clarke, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Rachel Lefevre, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, and veteran Michael Murphy, opens on June 28. Screenplay by James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, Zodiac).
Olympus Has Fallen Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart photo: FilmDistrict.
Paul Rudd, though one of the most likable actors around, hasn’t been very lucky at the North American box office. Admission, co-starring 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey, is Rudd’s latest box office bomb, following James L. Brooks / Reese Witherspoon’s How Do You Know ($30.21 million), Jesse Peretz’s Our Idiot Brother ($24.81 million domestic), and David Wain / Jennifer Aniston’s Wanderlust ($17.45 million), in addition to Judd Apatow’s box office disappointment This Is 40 ($67.54m). (Image: Paul Rudd Admission.)
Directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy, In Good Company), the Paul Rudd-Tina Fey combo Admission took in $6.44 million at 2,160 U.S. and Canada locations this weekend, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. That’s Paul Rudd’s second worst wide-release debut (more than 1,000 theaters), behind – or rather, ahead of – only Jeff Lowell’s comedy Over Her Dead Body, also featuring Lake Bell and Eva Longoria, which scored a paltry $4.02 million in February 2008.
Admission: Latest 2013 box office bomb
Adding insult to injury, early predictions had Admission grossing around $10 million on its first weekend out. So, whereas both DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods and Antoine Fuqua / Gerard Butler’s Olympus Has Fallen way overperformed (if studio estimates are accurate), Admission way underperformed.
Budgeted at a quite modest $13 million, Admission will have trouble matching its production costs at the domestic box office – let alone recovering them. Not to mention the amount distributor Focus Features spent to open the film, which could quite possibly add another $7-10 million (or more) to its costs. Needless to say, international box office prospects are basically nil, as, except for Australia and the United Kingdom, neither Paul Rudd nor Tina Fey could be considered box office draws (however minor) outside the United States (and possibly English-speaking Canada).
Paul Rudd movies: box office
For instance, Paul Rudd’s domestic box office hits The 40-Year-Old Virgin (actually starring Steve Carell) and Knocked Up performed much better in North America than elsewhere: $109.44 million vs. $67.92 million for the former comedy; $148.76 million vs. $70.3 million for the latter. Role Models, co-starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, I Love You Man, co-starring Jason Segel, and Dinner for Schmucks, co-starring Steve Carell, did okay business domestically: $67.29 million, $71.44 million, and $73.02 million respectively. Internationally, however, all three movies bombed: $25.08 million, $20.19 million, and $13.38m* respectively, with most (or nearly so) of each film’s box office gross hailing from Australia and the UK. (* International figures for Dinner for Schmucks are incomplete.)
Hopefully, Paul Rudd will be able to redeem himself with one of the following upcoming movies: David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche, co-starring Emile Hirsch, and winner of the Best Director Silver Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival; Phil Morrison’s Almost Christmas, co-starring Paul Giamatti and Sally Hawkins; Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s apocalypse-partying comedy This Is the End, with Rudd playing himself; and David Wain’s curiously titled They Came Together, featuring Rudd opposite The Avengers’ Cobie Smulders. Can’t say I have high hopes for Adam McKay’s Anchorman: The Legend Continues, with Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and Harrison Ford.
As for Tina Fey, Admission‘s domestic opening-weekend grosses are quite a come down from Date Night ($25.2 million), which paired her with Steve Carell [not Steve Martin…], and Baby Mama ($17.4 million), co-starring Amy Poehler. Clearly, Fey (and Poehler’s) hosting of the 2013 Golden Globes ceremony is too far in the past to have made any impact at the Admission box office.
Besides Paul Rudd and Tina Fey, Admission features Wallace Shawn, Michael Sheen, Gloria Reuben, Lily Tomlin, and Dan Levy. Karen Croner is credited for the screenplay based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel.
Paul Rudd Admission photo: Focus Features.