‘The Lazarus Effect’ box office: Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass horror movie arrives comatose
(See previous post: “‘Focus’: Will Smith Has One of Worst Opening Weekends of His Career.”) Despite recent news that human head transplants are a mere two years away, the Mark Duplass-Olivia Wilde horror movie The Lazarus Effect – about bringing the dead back to life (as if world overpopulation weren’t already a problem) – grossed $10.6 million from 2,666 U.S. and Canada venues on opening weekend, Feb. 27-March 1, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
The Relativity Studios-distributed low-budget horror flick had earned an estimated $3.8 million on opening-day Friday, including $350,000 from Thursday night screenings.
Last week, box office prognosticators had been expecting an opening between $12-$14 million. That was adjusted downward to $10 million or whereabouts after the film’s disappointing Friday debut.
Some, in fact, believed The Lazarus Effect would open below the $10 million mark. If one takes that into account, then its (estimated) $10.6 million opening-weekend performance seems slightly more lively.
Monday, March 2 update: according to studio figures, The Lazarus Effect earned $10.2 million, averaging a mediocre $3,827 per theater.
‘The Lazarus Effect’ vs. ‘Oculus’
For comparison’s sake: Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, featuring a group of somewhat lesser-known TV actors – Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, Katee Sackhoff – pulled in $12 million from 2,648 sites on its North American debut weekend in April 2014.
Directed by David Gelb, besides Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde, The Lazarus Effect features Kick-Ass and X-Men: Days of Future Past actor Evan Peters, Donald Glover, and Sarah Bolger. Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater are credited for the screenplay.
This more serious-minded Re-Animator (with a touch of the 1990 Julia Roberts hit Flatliners) cost a reported $5 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses – which not infrequently can be quite a bit heftier than the negative cost of these types of films.
Relativity acquired The Lazarus Effect for 3.3 million. The film has a dismal 13 percent approval rating and 4/10 average at Rotten Tomatoes.
Weekend box office: ‘The Lazarus Effect’ trailing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
On Saturday, it was unclear whether or not The Lazarus Effect was going to reach $10 million at the domestic box office. And, if so, whether or not it would trail holdovers Kingsman: The Secret Service, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, and Fifty Shades of Grey.
As it turned out, The Lazarus Effect did gross more than $10 million and, even so, according to studio estimates it did trail the aforementioned three movies.
As found at Box Office Mojo, here are the studio’s weekend box office estimates:
- Kingsman: The Secret Service took in $11.75 million. (Monday update: $10.88 million.)
- The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water took in $11.2 million. (Monday update: $10.82 million.)
- Fifty Shades of Grey took in $10.92 million. (Monday update: $10.55 million. )
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ holds up better than ‘Twilight’
Universal’s Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed Fifty Shades of Grey was down a relatively modest 51 percent. Some had been expecting a drop near the 60 percent mark.
Still, at least in the U.S. and Canada, the kinky sex drama starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan has been following a pattern similar to that of the Twilight movies. In other words, a huge opening followed by sizable weekend drop-off rates.
Made for a reported $40 million, Fifty Shades of Grey‘s domestic cume stands at an estimated $147.76 million. The international total is $338.4 million, for a worldwide grand total of $486 million.
Next time people tell you that sex sells, believe them.
‘Kingsman’ vs. ‘SpongeBob’
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service stars Best Actor Academy Award winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and relative film newcomer Taron Egerton (Hereafter, Testament of Youth).
Directed by Paul Tibbitt, the animated/live action 3D feature The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water offers Antonio Banderas as a character named Burger-Beard the Pirate. Other cast members, voice actors or otherwise, include:
Tom Kenny. Clancy Brown. Rodger Bumpass. Bill Fagerbakke. Carolyn Lawrence. Matt Berry.
‘American Sniper’: Controversial Iraq War drama to become top 2014 release at domestic box office
Budgeted at a reported $58.8 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses), Warner Bros.’ highly controversial Iraq War drama American Sniper will very shortly become the top 2014 release at the North American box office.
Directed by two-time Oscar winner Clint Eastwood and starring three-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper in the title role, American Sniper – which many see as both dishonest and as rabidly anti-Muslim as its real-life subject – reached an estimated $331.8 million this weekend (down a modest 23 percent) in the U.S. and Canada.
‘American Sniper’ to trail ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ internationally
Now, unsurprisingly, American Sniper – seemingly made to order for the American far right (just check out the film’s Twitter supporters) – has no chance of surpassing Mockingjay 1‘s nearly $415 million international take.
Admittedly, the Eastwood-Cooper effort has raked in a highly respectable (estimated) $139.1 million overseas. The film has been assisted by its six Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Actor), by the presence of the Silver Linings Playbook and The Hangover star, and by the ugly controversy surrounding its portrayal of the title character.
Next time someone tells you that nasty controversies sell, believe them.
Monday, March 2 update: according to studio figures, American Sniper earned $7.39 million (down 26 percent). Domestic total to date: $330.8 million.
Besides Bradley Cooper as U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, American Sniper features the following:
Sienna Miller. Max Charles. Luke Grimes. Kyle Gallner. Sam Jaeger. Jake McDorman.
Also worth noting, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), last weekend’s winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture, more than doubled its box office take compared to a week ago.
After tripling its number of theaters, Birdman scored an estimated $1.97 million. The Fox Searchlight-distributed, $18 million-budgeted ensemble piece has to date grossed a not inconsiderable $40.27 million domestically. Plus an estimated $46.19 million internationally.
Monday, March 2 update: according to studio figures, Birdman collected $1.92 million. Domestic total to date: $40.22 million.
Besides Best Actor nominee Michael Keaton, Birdman also features the following:
Clint Eastwood Oscar wins, Bradley Cooper nominations
 Clint Eastwood’s Best Director Oscar wins:
- Unforgiven (1992).
Cast: Clint Eastwood. Best Supporting Actor winner Gene Hackman. Morgan Freeman. Jaimz Woolvett. Saul Rubinek. Frances Fisher.
- Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Cast: Clint Eastwood. Best Actress winner Hilary Swank. Best Supporting Actor winner Morgan Freeman.
Bradley Cooper’s Oscar nominations:
- Best Actor for David O. Russell’s Silver Lining Playbooks (2012).
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence. Robert De Niro. Jacki Weaver.
- Best Supporting Actor for Russell’s American Hustle (2013).
Cast: Amy Adams. Christian Bale. Jennifer Lawrence. Jeremy Renner.
- Best Actor for American Sniper (2014).
Olivia Wilde The Lazarus Effect photo: Daniel McFadden / Relativity Media.
Bradley Cooper American Sniper photo: Warner Bros.