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With Hollywood busy preparing for the Academy Awards, studios dumped out lame new releases which not surprisingly led to a soft session at North American multiplexes allowing former chart-topper Identity Thief to reclaim the number one spot. Universal's hit comedy declined by a reasonable 40% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of last weekend's Presidents' Day frame and grossed an estimated $14.1M leading all films. After 17 days, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman pic has now collected $93.7M and will hit the $100M mark next weekend - a big achievement for an original R-rated comedy.
The Presidents' Day holiday frame saw three films generate $20-25M in ticket sales but the action sequel A Good Day to Die Hard made enough to earn the number one spot. Comedy holdover Identity Thief dropped to second place while the new romance Safe Haven bowed in third. Overall box office was down from last year's robust holiday while Oscar contenders for Best Picture remained popular with moviegoers looking for quality cinema.
This weekend, Universal's Identity Thief blew onto the scene with a surprisingly strong opening, while Steven Soderbergh's supposed last directorial effort debuted mildly in third. Returning films held on reasonably well, especially those of the Oscar variety.
Super Bowl weekend was ruled by the adorable undead as the zombie romantic comedy Warm Bodies opened at number one leading a dull frame with lackluster ticket sales. The Big Game routinely crushes ticket sales on Sunday weakening weekend numbers and studios either avoid programming any good films, or use it as an opportunity to counter-program to young women - the demographic least affected by America's biggest sporting event. The Top 20 sank to just $82M, down a sharp 31% versus last year.
This weekend, the horror-action combo Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters led a sluggish North American box office with a moderate debut that was more than enough to capture the number one spot. Two other new releases, Jason Statham's action film Parker and the raunchy comedy Movie 43, failed to attract much business, helping the overall marketplace lose steam. The top ten was filled with four Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, a handful of underperforming January releases, and an unusually high total of eight R-rated films.
The supernatural thriller Mama knocked out the competition opening at number one with a sensational performance delivering one of the best January debuts ever for a horror film. It was a Jessica Chastain double feature as the Oscar-nominated actress also starred in the number two movie in North America, Zero Dark Thirty which held strong in its second round of wide release. Rival Oscar contender for Best Picture Silver Linings Playbook expanded into a full national run and jumped up into the number three spot while new action releases disappointed. Mark Wahlberg's Broken City debuted in fifth and Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback vehicle The Last Stand took last place in the top ten with a dismal debut. Overall, the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend was healthy and showed a small uptick compared to recent years with four Best Picture nominees making the top ten.
Three films entered wide release shoving holiday holdovers to the side while major Oscar nominees cashed in on the added attention. Leading the way was the Osama bin Laden manhunt pic Zero Dark Thirty which captured the number one spot in its first weekend of wide release following a strong run in limited play. The spoof comedy A Haunted House pulled off an upset by opening in second place ahead of the all-star crime drama Gangster Squad which was in a thousand more theaters. Overall, the marketplace was vibrant inching ahead of the same frame from the last two years which was impressive since those had the added boost of being the MLK holiday weekend. The top four films are all R-rated and five of the top seven movies have running times of two-and-a-half to three hours.
Just as with last year, 2013 kicked off its first frame with an overperforming horror flick debuting at number one as audiences powered Texas Chainsaw 3D to the top spot. Holiday holdovers fared well with most dropping by about 30% from last weekend's sturdy session.
For a third consecutive frame, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey led the North American box office but this time was joined by a trio of new releases opening on Christmas Day which filled up the next spots on the charts over a red hot final weekend of 2012.
With holiday shopping and traveling slowing down multiplex traffic, new releases attracted low-to-moderate debuts allowing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to remain atop the chart in its second session. Four new films entered the top ten hoping not so much to score big openings, but to establish themselves in the marketplace as entertaining options once moviegoers become more available on Tuesday onwards for the Christmas holiday.
Fans of Middle Earth ended their long wait and charged into North American multiplexes powering the new fantasy adventure The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey into the number one spot breaking the December opening weekend record in the process. Audiences around the world made the Peter Jackson film the most popular movie on the planet as no other studio dared to challenge Bilbo Baggins and his gang with any other new releases.
In his fifth round of play, James Bond powered back into the number one spot as Skyfall topped the North American box office for the first time since its debut. With only one weak new film opening wide, the session saw a fight between holdovers driven by which had the lowest declines. With The Hobbit waiting in the wings ready to attack over 4,000 theaters this Friday, the marketplace saw a slowdown with most studios opting not to release anything new that was worthwhile.
The annual post-turkey blues kicked in as spending at the North American box office dropped by half compared to the record Thanksgiving frame with the top movies still in command. The only major new offering was Brad Pitt's mob pic Killing Them Softly which died on impact failing to attract much business.
Moviegoers across North America stampeded into theaters driving the box office up to a record-breaking Thanksgiving holiday frame led by a mix of commercial hits, family films, and Oscar hopefuls. It was a true team effort as no one film broke through $45M over the Friday-to-Sunday weekend period. However, the top ten did see seven movies in double-digit millions, five over $20M, and four pictures averaging more than $10,000 each. Almost every dish on the turkey menu connected with audiences with the five-day Wednesday-to-Sunday span witnessing a jaw-dropping $290M in consumer spending, not counting the overpriced popcorn.
James Bond won a landslide victory at the North American box office which finally got the latest 007 adventure Skyfall which continued to break franchise records. The 23rd film in the 50-year-old series opened to an estimated $87.8M this weekend from 3,505 theaters for a stunning $25,050 average beating out lofty industry expectations to become the biggest Bond opening ever. Adding in Thursday's $2.2M from an early full-day launch in 463 premium large format screens (including 320 IMAX) the four-day bow came to an eye-popping $90M. Daniel Craig anchored for the third time, Judi Dench returned for her third decade in the series, and newcomers Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes joined the cast in this installment.
The holiday box office season started with a bang thanks to the one-two punch of two new releases that pulled in sold-out audiences - the animated video game comedy Wreck-It Ralph and the Denzel Washington drama Flight. The pair led the top ten to a healthy 19% jump over the same frame last year. And with tens of millions affected last week by the deadly hurricane Sandy, it was questionable what impact theaters would see but compelling product brought people out of their homes and into the multiplexes putting the film industry in a good position going into the final weeks of the year.
This weekend, with moviegoers yawning at the four new releases that Hollywood served up, the hit hostage crisis thriller Argo climbed up into the number one spot in its third frame leading an overall lackluster session. Ticket sales took an extra hit on the east coast as people prepared for the arrival of a monster storm set to impact highly populated areas putting an extra dent into an already weak marketplace.
Just like its two predecessors, Paranormal Activity 4 opened at number one in its pre-Halloween launch but showed signs of audience erosion too. The weekend's only other new wide release was the cop thriller Alex Cross starring Tyler Perry which did not impress and barely made the top five. Most holdovers enjoyed small declines as the overall marketplace remained healthy with the top ten films collecting over $100M in ticket sales for the fourth consecutive weekend.
The booming North American box office was ruled by two stars who have successfully rebranded themselves in recent years with Liam Neeson's action sequel Taken 2 remaining in first place for a second week in a row while Ben Affleck's hostage crisis thriller Argo led a five-pack of new releases with a solid debut in the runner-up spot. Also opening well was the new horror hit Sinister in third as the overall marketplace was once again sharply ahead of last year's grosses for a third straight weekend.