The Liam Neeson kills his way to the heart of a mystery actioner Unknown topped the box office this week but with an amount that would have placed it in fourth place last week. The film only cost $30 million to produce so it only needs to hold onto 60% of its audience next week to become successful. The film is director Jaume Collet-Serra’s (Orphan) biggest opening film and it’s just a few million under what Neeson starring action films like The A-Team and Taken did. Expect this film to do something like $150 million worldwide. Neeson turning down the lead in Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln bio-pic makes sense now. Modestly budgeted genre films are clearly the new black.
The Michael Bay produced McMovie I Am Number Four come in second for the week with $19.4 million. The Twilight with aliens flick cost something like $60 million to make so it’s going to have a harder row to hoe than Unknown but teen skewed junk food like this will probably do better on home media than it does theatrically. Its non-starter opening can be attributed to its marketing. This film wasn’t sold as an inter-stellar love story but rather a high octane effects fest. Why DreamWorks didn’t push the romance angle as hard as they could a week after Valentine’s Day is a mystery.
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son thankfully opened a crushing fifth place finish with $16.2 million. The third sequel in the decade old franchise is currently riding low with an 1o% rating at Rotten Tomatoes but has earned back about half of its cost in a week so it’s going to be more of a disappointment that an out and out failure. There probably won’t be a fourth Momma as the previous two films cracked $120 million worldwide. Clearly the fat suit and wig has been passed to Tyler Perry.
Last week’s number one, the insipid Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It fell nearly forty percent this week for an $18.4 million finish. Sandler film aren’t usually too heavily front loaded and this one’s already made $60 million so I’d say it’ll just clear $100 million before leaving theaters. Sandler is one of the surest box office bets around, only underperforming when he takes on more serious material and almost always succeeding with high concept romantic comedies, it’s become clear he’s this generation’s Hugh Grant.
The concept/propaganda film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never faired slightly worse than Just Go With It falling 54% in its second week of release. A movie like this was never going to break $100 million in its first month. It’s a movie that will gross a decent amount, especially when factoring in its $13 million production budget but this thing could have been Direct-to-Video release and still made a fortune for its producers.
The extremely cheap looking animated film Gnomeo and Juliet retained more than 70% of its audience from last week. The Touchstone Pictures release has made more than $68 million worldwide and has a half a decent chance of doubling that amount in the next month if it continues to have legs as strong as it does now.
Last week’s only other wide release; the Kevin Macdonald directed historical action film The Eagle had the worst week to week change on the charts. It plummeted from fourth to ninth place with a piddly $3.6 million finish. Since the film only cost $25 million and had a marketing presence comparably to a newly opened local chicken shack, it’ll be shunted off to DVD land for a barely profitable future. Channing Tatum, while having the physicality of a real life superhero, is simply not a compelling enough an actor to carry a Gladiator class film.
As for the rest: Academy Award frontrunner The King’s Speech crossed the $100 million line, proving once again the maturely themed dramas can draw a sizable audience if marketed correctly. Screen Gems’s embarrassing Single White Female rip, The Roommate somehow made its way to $32 million. The blandly vulgar No Strings Attached made another $3 million this week and $88 million worldwide. And the year’s best picture, the terrifying and mesmerizing Black Swan, also reached the $100 line. Good job, America.
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The top ten movies for February 18-20, 2011 were
1. Unknown – $21.1M
2. I Am Number Four – $19.4M
3. Gnomeo and Juliet – $19.2M
4. Just Go With It – $18.4M
5. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son – $16.2M
6. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – $13.3M
7. The King’s Speech – $6.4M
8. The Roommate – $3.8M
9. The Eagle – $3.6M
10. No Strings Attached – $3M
(Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo)
Mario blogs regularly at A Polemic Killer Room.