Bruce Willis’ return as John McClane, A Good Day to Die Hard, topped the box office over the Friday-to-Sunday period, but with a weaker-than-expected $25 million. Fox’s $92 million thriller, which also stars Jai Courtney (pictured, right), earned $8.2 million on Thursday, its first day of release, and after four days, it’s earned $33.2 million. That’s a substantially weaker start than 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, which started with $33.4 million in its opening three-day weekend.
Die Hard’s middling performance isn’t a total surprise. This has been a remarkably tough winter for male-driven action vehicles, many of which star members of The Expendables. Arnold Schwarznegger’s $45 million entry The Last Stand has earned just $12 million after five weekends. Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head, which reportedly cost $55 million, has only earned about $10 million after three. The Jason Statham thriller Parker cost about $35 million but has only grossed $17 million after nearly a month in theaters. The Mark Wahlberg/Russell Crowe shoot-em-up Broken City has languished with $19.5 million against a $35 million budget. (Meanwhile, 2013’s top four highest-grossing movies – Identity Thief, Mama, Warm Bodies, and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – all feature women in leading roles.)
Obviously, A Good Day to Die Hard has already earned more than each of those aforementioned flops, though, and it shouldn’t be written off as a misfire. The film’s $7,036 per theater average from 3,553 theaters was strong, and with a “B+” CinemaScore grade, it may benefit from word-of-mouth in the weeks to come. Prognosticators certainly expected bigger business on opening weekend, and it remains to be seen whether it can match Live Free or Die Hard’s $134.5 million finish, but Fox can rest easy thanks to Die Hard’s strong international performance so far. The film earned a tremendous $61.5 million overseas this weekend, bringing its international haul to $80.1 million and its worldwide cume to $113.4 million. Those overseas results may keep John McClane Yippee-Ki-Yaying for years to come.
Last weekend’s champ, Identity Thief, dipped only 32 percent to $23.4 million in its second weekend. The Melissa McCarthy/Jason Bateman laugher has now earned $70.7 million against a slim $35 million budget, and, for Universal, it’s the latest in a hot-streak of sensibly budgeted hits that almost (almost) make up for the fact that the studio spent $209 million on Battleship, which earned only $65.4 million, last year. With the exception of The Man with the Iron Fists, every Universal film since the fall has been a profitable venture: Pitch Perfect ($65 million vs. $17 million budget), This is 40 ($67.4 million vs. $35 million budget), Les Miserables ($145.5 million vs. $61 million budget), Mama ($68.3 million vs. $15 million budget), and now Identity Thief. Next up on the studio’s plate? The surefire smash Fast & Furious 6.
Close behind in third place, Relativity’s $28 million Nicholas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven opened with $21.4 million. Including Valentine’s Day grosses, the goopy romance, which stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, has earned a solid $30.5 million. Relativity did a great job of marketing Safe Haven as the top choice for Valentine’s Day couples, and the built-in cachet of Nicholas Sparks continues to prove irresistible for many moviegoers. Among all eight Sparks films, Safe Haven’s $21.4 million frame trails the opening weekends of just Dear John ($30.5 million) and The Lucky One ($22.5 million), which finished with $80 million and $60.5 million, respectively.
For star Hough, who’s made the transition from Dancing with the Stars pro to fledgling country singer (remember?) to Hollywood leading lady, Safe Haven represents her best-ever opening weekend following underwhelming debuts from Burlesque ($11.9 million), Footloose ($15.6 million), and Rock of Ages ($14.6 million). She may carve out an acting career, yet. Like Die Hard, Safe Haven missed with critics, but earned a “B+” CinemaScore grade from audiences, which were 71 percent female and 68 percent below the age of 25.
Weinstein’s animated effort Escape from Planet Earth benefited from the fact that no family films have hit theaters in almost two months and finished in fourth place with $16.1 million. Facing no family competition, Escape, which cost $40 million, fared better than Weinstein’s last attempt to get into the animation game, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, which bombed with just $10.1 million in April 2011. Despite poor reviews, Escape from Planet Earth wound up with a “B+” CinemaScore grade.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Summit’s Warm Bodies, which fell only 20 percent to $9 million, giving it a $50.2 million total. While the YA adaptation hasn’t become the next Twilight, positive word-of-mouth has helped Warm Bodies, which cost about $35 million, avoid the steep drops that usually plague films aimed at teens. It could finish with about $65 million.
Fellow YA tale Beautiful Creatures didn’t earn such a Warm reception on its opening weekend. The witch-y tale bombed with only $7.5 million – $10 million including Valentine’s Day grosses. Warner Bros. is distributing the film, which was financed for $60 million by Alcon Entertainment. Fortunately for the distributor, its other recent release, The Hobbit, is on pace to pass $300 million at the domestic box office on Monday. Audiences issued Beautiful Creatures a lukewarm “B” CinemaScore grade.
1. A Good Day to Die Hard – $25 million ($33.2 million total)
2. Safe Haven – $21.4 million ($30.5 million total)
3. Identity Thief – $23.4 million ($70.7 million total)
4. Escape from Planet Earth – $16.1 million ($16.1 million total)
5. Warm Bodies – $9 million ($50.2 million total)
6. Beautiful Creatures – $7.5 million ($10 million total)
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