The Back-up Plan movie box office: Shirtless Alex O’Loughlin or no, Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy has weak debut
April 23–25 weekend box office: Starring Jennifer Lopez and Alex O’Loughlin, Alan Poul’s The Back-up Plan debuted with a mere $12.2 million, according to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com. That’s a hugely disappointing figure for a movie playing at 3,280 theaters.
Unless the CBS Films-distributed romantic comedy grows a pair of sturdy back-up legs (awful pun totally intended), it won’t even earn enough at the North American (U.S. and Canada) box office to match its $35 million production cost. Remember: As a rule of thumb, studios get only about 50-55 percent of a movie’s domestic gross.
And that means this past weekend’s true success story was that of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon, which, after five weekends out, officially topped the domestic box office chart for the first time (with $15.4 million).
How to tally your grosses
Well, the 3D fantasy would also have been the previous weekend’s box office winner if it weren’t for the fact that distributor Lionsgate found a way to kick Kick-Ass to the no. 1 slot by adding the comedy actioner’s Thursday night tally to its opening-weekend total.
Of course, final tallies would also look quite different if studios reported attendance figures instead of increasingly 3D/IMAX-inflated box office grosses (which boost the total take of movies like How to Train Your Dragon). But they don’t. And no one seems to care either way.
Somewhat ironically, when How to Train Your Dragon came out, it was considered by some a commercial “disappointment” because of its hefty $165 million budget. Indeed, there’s no way on Earth the computer-animated fantasy adventure will recoup its production cost domestically.
But never worry. That’s why international moviegoers exist. Their mission: To come to the rescue of Hollywood’s domestic underperformers.
The Back-up Plan & How to Train Your Dragon worldwide gross
Update: The Jennifer Lopez-Alex O’Loughlin romantic comedy The Back-up Plan flopped both domestically and internationally: $37.5 million and $40 million, respectively. Worldwide total: 77.5 million.
A Best Animated Feature Academy Award nominee, How to Train Your Dragon eventually grossed $217.6 million domestically and $277.3 million internationally. Worldwide total: A remarkable $494.9 million.
That was enough to guarantee a couple of sequels:
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) collected $177 million domestically and $444.5 million internationally. Worldwide total: $621.5 million. Budget: $145 million.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) collected $160.9 million domestically and $363.6 million internationally. Worldwide total: $524.5 million. Budget: $129 million.
“The Back-up Plan Movie” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “The Back-up Plan Movie: O’Loughlin-Lopez Pairing Fizzles” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should usually be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources.
Comments about The Back-up Plan, How to Train Your Dragon, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, international pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses can be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is accounted for). Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take; however, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Alex O’Loughlin The Back-Up Plan movie image: CBS Films.
“The Back-up Plan Movie: O’Loughlin-Lopez Pairing Fizzles” last updated in July 2022.