March 18 update: Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and James Franco are three of the stars of Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine’s low-budget crime comedy-drama that boasts 2013’s highest per-theater average to date. According to North American weekend box office actuals found at boxofficemojo.com, Spring Breakers grossed $263,002 at three venues this past weekend (down a bit from Sunday’s $270,000 estimate), thus averaging a stupendous $87,667 per site. (Image: Selena Gomez Spring Breakers.)
Spring Breakers opening weekend per-theater average: One of the highest ever
Following the release of North America’s weekend box office actuals, Spring Breakers was down one spot on Box Office Mojo’s all-time (as in, post-1982) box office chart of domestic opening-weekend per-theater averages. At no. 23, the Selena Gomez / Vanessa Hudgens movie finds itself sandwiched between Tom Hooper / Colin Firth’s The King’s Speech with $88,863 and Steven Spielberg / Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln with $85,846.
Once inflation is factored in, Spring Breakers drops to the 52nd spot (down nine spots from yesterday’s estimates), landing between Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s The Blair Witch Project with $88,743 and Roland Joffé’s The Mission, a 1986 Best Picture Academy Award nominee starring Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro, with $87,587.
Selena Gomez box office: Spring Breakers to become her biggest live-action hit?
Although there’s no guarantee that the A24-distributed Spring Breakers will become a box office hit – see more on platform releases and per-theater-averages – the Harmony Korine film should have no trouble recovering its $2 million budget at the domestic box office. (Note: The Spring Breakers budget doesn’t include marketing and distribution expenses, or any type of box-office-gross-sharing with the movie’s top talent.) Spring Breakers’ domestic box office future will become clearer next weekend, once it expands to about 1,000 venues.
Barring a major (and unlikely) catastrophe, Spring Breakers should become Selena Gomez’s most successful live-action movie, possibly by a wide margin. True, that’s not saying much, as Gomez, best known for her pop songs and a supposed romance with Justin Bieber, has only two star vehicles to her credit, neither of which could even remotely be considered a box office hit: In 2010, Elizabeth Allen’s $15 million-budgeted Ramona and Beezus took in $26.16 million in North America ($27.29 million worldwide); the following year, Thomas Bezucha’s $20 million-budgeted Monte Carlo, also featuring Katie Cassidy and Leighton Meester, brought in $23.18 million ($39.66 million worldwide).
The animated Hotel Transylvania, to which Selena Gomez contributed her voice alongside Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Kevin James, scored a considerably more impressive $344.5 million worldwide.
Next, Selena Gomez will be seen in Nicolás López’s horror thriller Aftershock, set in Chile following a powerful earthquake, and featuring Eli Roth; Tim Garrick’s comedy Behaving Badly, with an extensive cast that includes Patrick Warburton, Elisabeth Shue, Mary-Louise Parker, Heather Graham, Adrian Bustamante, Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes, and Jason Lee; and Courtney Solomon and Yaron Levy’s crime thriller Getaway, with Ethan Hawke, Jon Voight, and Paul Freeman.
Besides Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and James Franco (as a mix of Al Pacino in Scarface and Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies), the Spring Breakers cast features Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine, Heather Morris, Lauren Vera, Emma Holzer, and Gucci Mane. At last year’s Venice Film Festival, Harmony Korine received a Special Mention in the Future Film Festival Digital Award category. (Note: The Venice Film Festival, like just about every major film festival, hands out dozens of awards outside the official main competition.)
Selena Gomez Spring Breakers photos: A24.
Unlike Warner Bros., James Franco has been enjoying a great 2013 so far, starring, directing, and/or producing widely discussed movies, including a couple of box office hits, targeted to families of various types, fetishes, and entertainment orientations. (Image: James Franco in Oz the Great and Powerful, with Mila Kunis.)
Directed by the Spider-Man trilogy’s Sam Raimi, the fantasy adventure Oz the Great and Powerful, starring James Franco as the man who eventually becomes The Wizard of Oz, has topped the worldwide box office for two consecutive weekends; additionally, the latest Raimi / Franco collaboration has become 2013’s top box office hit in North America. Also this weekend, Harmony Korine’s crime comedy-drama Spring Breakers, currently at one Los Angeles and two New York City theaters, had 2013’s best per-theater average to date.
Earlier in 2013, at the Sundance Film Festival, three James Franco movies caused a bit of a sensation: Interior. Leather Bar, which Franco co-produced and co-directed with Travis Mathews; Kink, which he co-produced; and Lovelace, in which he is featured in a supporting role.
Interior. Leather Bar, featuring Franco and the Franco-directed Sal‘s Val Lauren, follows the actors and crew of a film attempting to recreate the purported 40 minutes of gay sex action missing from William Friedkin / Al Pacino’s 1980 thriller Cruising. Directed by Christina Voros, Kink pays a visit to the no-holds-barred, bondage and S&M sex website Kink.com. And Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Lovelace stars Amanda Seyfried as the epoch-making Deep Throat‘s Linda Lovelace and features Franco as Hugh Hefner. (See also: “James Franco Gay Sex Movie ‘Replaces’ Banned Gay Sex Movie at Australian Film Festival.”)
Oz the Great and Powerful: Alice in Wonderland-like second weekend drop
According to studio estimates, the Disney-released Oz the Great and Powerful was down 47 percent compared to a week ago, collecting an estimated $42.1 million at the North American box office. For comparison’s sake: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, and Anne Hathaway, was down 46 percent back in March 2010; that’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that Alice in Wonderland was coming down from a mammoth $116.1 million weekend box office take, whereas Oz the Great and Powerful‘s first weekend gross was a considerably more modest $79.11 million. If – and that’s a big if – Oz the Great and Powerful follows Alice in Wonderland‘s box office trajectory, the Sam Raimi / James Franco movie will cume at around $228 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Reportedly budgeted at $215 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses (or its top talent’s gross/net box office shares later in the game), Oz the Great and Powerful has to date scored $145.02 million in North America and $136.8 million internationally, for a worldwide grand total of $281.82 million. On its first weekend out, the film’s top international market by far was Russia, with $14.65 million. Besides James Franco, Oz the Great and Powerful features My Week with Marilyn‘s Michelle Williams, Friends with Benefits’ Mila Kunis, and The Bourne Legacy‘s Rachel Weisz.
The Wizard of Oz 1939
(Mostly) directed by Victor Fleming (King Vidor directed the “Over the Rainbow” sequence while Fleming was busy with Gone with the Wind), the 1939 The Wizard of Oz featured Judy Garland, Frank Morgan (as the Wizard), Billie Burke, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, and Margaret Hamilton. At first, The Wizard of Oz was considered a box office disappointment in relation to its hefty cost.
James Franco in Oz the Great and Powerful, with Mila Kunis picture: Walt Disney Enterprises.
Written and directed by Harmony Korine, and featuring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine, the crime comedy-drama Spring Breakers raked in an estimated $270,000 at three locations this weekend according to studio estimates. The low-budget Spring Breakers averaged an impressive $90k per venue – 2013’s best per-theater average to date by a wide margin. (Image: James Franco and Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine. In case you didn’t notice, on James Franco’s arm is the map of Florida. Or something that looks like it.)
Spring Breakers vs. The King’s Speech, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty
For comparison’s sake, in late 2010, Tom Hooper / Colin Firth’s The King’s Speech averaged $88,863 on its first weekend out; in late 2012, Steven Spielberg / Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln averaged $85,846, while the average for Kathryn Bigelow / Jessica Chastain’s Zero Dark Thirty was $83,430. So, does that mean the A24-distributed Spring Breakers will become a top box office hit?
Well, first of all, let’s add a little context: The King’s Speech opened at four locations – that’s a 33 percent increase in number of venues compared to Spring Breakers. Lincoln opened at 11 theaters, or nearly four times as many as Spring Breakers, while Zero Dark Thirty debuted at five locations. When we’re discussing platform releases, the addition of one or two theaters can mean a huge difference in per-theater-average figures.
Also, a great beginning in a platform release doesn’t necessarily translate into a long and healthy box office run. Last year, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, averaged $147,262 at five locations on its first weekend. The Weinstein Company release ended up cuming at a highly disappointing $16.37 million.
Spring Breakers: Low-budget hit in the making?
But then again, considering that Spring Breakers, despite the presence of James Franco, Selena Gomez, et al., reportedly cost only $2 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses, and in all probability some form of box-office-gross-sharing with its top talent), it seems all but inevitable that the movie will turn up a profit. Spring Breakers has already done solid business in France, where it grossed $2.06 million last weekend (which includes Wed. and Thu.). In Italy, its performance was a more modest $683k in four days.
Of note: Spring Breakers is currently no. 22 on Box Office Mojo’s all-time (as in, post-1982) box office chart for domestic opening-weekend per-theater averages, smack between Terrence Malick / Brad Pitt’s The Tree of Life ($93,230) and The King’s Speech. However, once the Inflation Factor is taken into account, Spring Breakers drops to the 46th spot, sandwiched between Joan Micklin Silver / Amy Irving’s Crossing Delancey ($91,490) and David Leland / Emily Lloyd’s Wish You Were Here ($89,787).
Besides James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine, the Spring Breakers cast includes Heather Morris, Lauren Vera, Emma Holzer, and Gucci Mane.
Upcoming 2013 James Franco movies
Whether set or tentatively set or possibly set for 2013, James Franco has a whole array of movies about the come out. Those include the aforementioned (in the preceding post) Sundance Film Festival entry Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried as former porn star Linda Lovelace and with Franco as Hugh Hefner (if the IMDb is to be believed, the film opens in Brazil later this year; no US release date yet); the James Franco-directed Child of God, in which Franco plays a loner living in a mountain cave in Tennessee; and the omnibus drama Black Dog, Red Dog, which Franco co-directed and is featured along with Logan Marshall-Green, Whoopi Goldberg, Chloë Sevigny, Tim Blake Nelson, Olivia Wilde, Tom Lipinski, and Dan Hedaya.
Also: James Franco stars in Gary Fleder’s action thriller Homefront, which also features Jason Statham, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s Rachelle Lefevre; Paul Haggis’ The Third Person, with Franco, his Oz the Great and Powerful co-star Mila Kunis, Kim Basinger, Maria Bello, Liam Neeson, Casey Affleck, Adrien Brody, and Olivia Wilde as English speakers dealing with romantic issues in New York, Paris, and Rome; and Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s This Is the End, in which a number of disparate celebrities (Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Rihanna, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, etc.) attending a party at James Franco’s house unexpectedly come face to face with the apocalypse.
Barring a real-life apocalypse, there’ll be even more James Franco in 2014: True Story, and possibly Zeroville, The Adderall Diaries, and Franco’s “People Movies” – Good People, Beautiful People, and The Ten O’Clock People.
James Franco and Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine photo: A24.