Box Office Guru Wrapup: Pain & Gain Tops Wimpy Weekend

For the ninth time in ten tries, Michael Bay saw his latest directorial effort open at number one as the action-comedy Pain & Gain debuted on top of a sluggish box office frame with an estimated $20M. Headlined by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, the R-rated Paramount release averaged a respectable $6,103 from 3,277 theaters. The action director's only film to not hit number one was his 2005 disaster The Island. He then made only Transformers movies until Pain.

With a reported budget of only $26M, Pain & Gain was a pet project for Bay which he got the studio to allow in exchange for his agreement to direct a fourth Transformers. The last pic grossed a staggering $1.1 billion worldwide and part 4 - set to be made on a smaller scale - will feature a new cast that includes Wahlberg with a release set for June 27 of next year - two weeks after a fourth Jurassic Park.

Pain earned mixed reviews and skewed towards young men. Studio research showed that males made up 51% while 63% were over 25. Following Snitch and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Rock has now spent ten consecutive weeks in the top ten and could very well extend the streak into late June with Fast & Furious 6 which arrives on May 24.

Leading a sluggish frame, Pain & Gain topped the second worst weekend of 2013 with the top ten grossing only $77.1M. Only Super Bowl weekend was worse this year with the top ten slumping to a mere $65M. Ticket sales are set to skyrocket next weekend with the much-hyped release of Iron Man 3 in more than 4,000 theaters including 3D and IMAX 3D screens. As is often the case before the summer blockbusters arrive, some exhibitors are raising ticket prices on moviegoers with New Yorkers going to AMC Lincoln Square now being charged $21.50 per ticket for sure-fire juggernauts Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness on IMAX 3D.

Disney launched its summer tentpole Iron Man 3 overseas this weekend, a week ahead of domestic, and was met with gargantuan grosses with an estimated haul of $195.3M from 42 markets. That beat out the $185.1M international opening of The Avengers from 39 territories from one year ago this same frame. Many Asian markets witnessed all-time record breaking opening weekends with the metal hero while others like Australia and India enjoyed bows that were better than Avengers from last year. Major markets like China, Russia, Germany, and of course North America have yet to launch but Iron Man 3 could very well be on its way to the prestigious billion-dollar club worldwide.

Lukewarm word-of-mouth kicked in for Tom Cruise's sci-fi drama Oblivion which fell sharply by 53% in its second weekend domestically to an estimated $17.4M. After ten days, the Universal release has amassed $64.7M from North America. The actor's better-liked sci-fi pic Minority Report opened to similar numbers but dipped by 40% in the second weekend for $73.4M in ten days. Look for Oblivion to end its domestic run with about $100M. Worldwide, the futuristic pic is within striking distance of the double century mark at $198.8M.

Falling 40% in its third at-bat was the baseball drama 42 with an estimated $10.7M. The Warner Bros. hit has collected a sturdy $69.1M to date. If the older-skewing film can hold up well against the younger-playing summer tentpoles about to attack the box office, then it still has a shot at reaching $100M.

The all-star comedy The Big Wedding was rejected by moviegoers entering the charts at number four with an estimated $7.5M. Lionsgate averaged a dismal $2,848 from 2,633 theaters with the R-rated nuptials pic which boasted an impressive cast featuring Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, and Topher Grace. Reviews were dreadful and the marketing push was typical for a film dumped out at the end of April. With summer blockbusters beginning their invasion of multiplexes on the first weekend of May, the latter part of April is a time when studios toss out content they have little faith in. Wedding skewed 77% female and 66% over 30 while earning a disappointing C+ CinemaScore grade.

The durable DreamWorks toon The Croods followed in fifth place with an estimated $6.6M, off 29%, for a hefty cume of $163M. The Fox release now joins Identity Thief as the only films this year to spend six weeks in the top five. The overseas total soared to $308M pushing the global gross to $471M with the half-billion dollar barrier about to crumble soon.

The rest of the top ten was uneventful as spring leftovers racked up a few dollars in the final week before all attention shifts to Tony Stark at 9:00pm this Thursday night. G.I. Joe: Retaliation declined 37% to an estimated $3.6M giving Paramount $116.4M to date. With a stellar $50M from China, the global tally now stands at $349.1M. Booted off the top five in its third round was the spoof comedy Scary Movie 5 which fell 44% to an estimated $3.5M and only $27.5M to date.

The action hit Olympus Has Fallen took in an estimated $2.8M, down 38%, for a $93.1M cume for FilmDistrict. The Place Beyond The Pines and the dinosmash Jurassic Park 3D rounded out the top ten with $2.7M and $2.3M, respectively. The Focus indie pic dropped 45% for a $16.2M total while Universal's upgraded actioner fell 43% to a sum of $42M and a lifetime total of $399.1M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $77.1 which was down 15% from last year when Think Like A Man stayed at number one with $17.6M; and down 45% from 2011 when Fast Five opened in the top spot with $86.2M.

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