Box Office Report (8.27.2012)

A lot of hyperbole has been tossed around with this weekend’s box office figures, since a documentary, 2016: Obama’s America has shocked the movie industry with its success. On Friday, it was erroneously reported that the film would be the #1 film of the weekend; a report later revised to indicate the Rocky Mountain Pictures release would be the #1 new release movie from the weekend. In this week’s Box Office Report we will break down the facts and myths surrounding the anti-Obama documentary’s theatrical success. Elsewhere, the story really is more about the fact that this past weekend represents the lowest attended weekend at the movies all year. The overall gross stands to be the worst since the April 27-29, 2012 weekend, which saw Think Like A Man hold off four new releases (The Pirates! Band Of Misfits, The Five-Year Engagement, Safe, and The Raven) to win the weekend. So, what did people see? How bad was it?

Check out the breakdown after the cut!

The Expendables 2 became the default #1 movie for the second weekend in a row, bringing $13.4 million and serving as the only double-digit millions grossing film of the weekend. Declining a better than expected 53.1%, this second round of Expendables mayhem is well off the pace of its forerunner and is not going to reach the $100 million budget with its domestic haul. Factoring in worldwide grosses, The Expendables 2 is up to $74.6 million in 10 days.

The Bourne Legacy held off a strong second weekend for ParaNorman and holds in second place again. With receipts tallied of $9.3 million, Legacy has also underwhelmed expectations with Jeremy Renner in the leading role. Worldwide the film was yet to turn in a profit after 3 weeks and domestically, sales have climbed to $85.5 million in 17 days.

Focus exhaled a bit with ParaNorman losing just 38.7% of its opening weekend audience and rallying over the weekend to $8.6 million for a domestic 10-day take of $28.3 million thus far. Comparatively however, Coraline had a remarkable 12% drop in second weekend attendance and earned more than $35 million by this same point in its theatrical run. While Focus and LAIKA have not publicly identified a production budget for the film, unconfirmed reports have the film costing between $80-$85 million, so worldwide grosses are going to have to really kick in for this film to be a financial success for all involved.

Oh, Right. New Movies.

Wait…what is this movie called again?

Premium Rush opened in a disappointing 8th place, beginning with just $6.0 million as audiences were not really all that taken with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a bike messenger. The film drew good-to-great reviews but interest was lacking, as was a baffling marketing campaign which made people confused on what the film was actually called. Tracking towards just $20 million in total box office receipts, Sony execs were quite disappointed, even with its positioning in the dumping ground for the Summer movie season – the last weekend in August.

Dax Shepard’s Hit & Run snuck into 10th place, tallying $4.5 million over the weekend, which adds to the scant $1.2 million the film earned in its Wednesday and Thursday lead-in to the weekend. Some terrific news for Shepard and Open Road Films is that Hit & Run earned back its $2 million budget mid-day Friday, so it is nothing but profitable from here on out. Critics were not in favor of the film…but I was!

And with one Newsday critic standing up for it, The Apparition received its only good news of the weekend – its TomatoMeter moved from 0% to 3%! Rejoice! Unfortunately, the movie is wretchedly bad it seems and banked $2.8 million, missing the Top 10 entirely. Budgeted at $17 million, undoubtedly selling the use of Twilight‘s Ashley Greene for fundraising get-togethers, Warner Bros. slashed the opening from a far-reaching 2,000-plus theaters to just 810 screens, cancelled critics’ screenings or pushed them back to 8pm or 10pm on the Thursday night prior to the film’s opening.

Fact-Checking 2016: Obama’s America

Let’s analyze what is fact and what is fiction surrounding Rocky Mountain Pictures’ breakthrough documentary, in terms of its financial success.

Report: 2016: Obama’s America will win the weekend box office.
Fact: False. The film was never drawing audiences consistent with the top films of the weekend.

Report: 2016: Obama’s America will be the biggest opening new release of the weekend.
Fact: Mostly false. Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary opened in theaters July 13, 2012. It expanded to 169 screens last weekend and moved into wide-release (1,091 screens) this past weekend. The film is not a new release, but in its first weekend of wide release, it grossed $6.5 million, finishing ahead of other new, widely released films Premium Rush, Hit & Run, and The Apparition when all ticket sales were counted.

Report: 2016: Obama’s America is now the biggest grossing documentary of the year.
Fact: LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE! It may eventually become the biggest grossing documentary of 2012, but right now it ranks third, behind DisneyNature’s Chimpanzee ($28.97 million) and Katy Perry: Part Of Me ($25.3 million).

Report: 2016: Obama’s America is now the biggest grossing political documentary of all time.
Fact. Mostly false. D’Souza’s film is the biggest grossing documentary of all time with a conservative ideology as the core of its subject matter, moving past the same studio’s 2008 Ben Stein-led Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. 2016: Obama’s America is 6th on the all-time political docs list, likely to move past Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story by next weekend. The film still has a massive distance to travel to reach Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, which amassed $119.2 million in 2004. 2016: Obama’s America has earned $9.1 million thus far.

Report: 2016: Obama’s America was the most attended film this past weekend.
Fact. Depends on the spin. Obama’s America earned the biggest per screen average of any wide-release film this weekend ($5,966 per screen), but came nowhere close to per screen averages amassed by smaller releases Sleepwalk With Me ($65,000) and Samsara ($38,111). When it opened on 1 screen in Houston on the weekend of July 13, 2016: Obama’s America did have the highest per screen average that weekend, earning $32,000.

A lot of things have been misrepresented about the film’s success. Not having seen it, I cannot speak to how good or bad the film is. Those reports referenced above have been headlines, tweets, or blasts from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Variety, and other sources. What does make all of this frustrating is that no matter what your political bend might be, this viewpoint of conservatism has been essentially silent in mainstream movie releases and publicity. Now that one of these film’s has amassed widespread attention and buzz, all the false boasting and braggadocio by entertainment writers and political pundits frankly taints the movie’s success and draws derision and disdain from like some accuracy in the news we read and take in, no matter the topic, subject, or source. 2016: Obama’s America is a surprising and noteworthy success, but the facts are, unfortunately for some, still the facts.

Here are the weekend’s 10 most attended films (with dollar amounts in millions):

FILM WKND TOTAL % +/- STUDIO
EXPENDABLES 2 $13.4 $52.2 -53.1 Lionsgate
BOURNE LEGACY $9.3 $85.5 -45.3 Universal
PARANORMAN $8.5 $28.3 -38.7 Focus
CAMPAIGN $7.5 $64.6 -43.1 Warner Bros.
DARK KNIGHT RISES $7.2 $422.3 -34.4 Warner Bros.
ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN $7.1 $27.1 -34.2 Buena Vista
2016: OBAMA’S AMERICA $6.5 $9.3 +423.0 Rocky Mountain
PREMIUM RUSH $6.0 $6.0 NEW Sony
HOPE SPRINGS $5.7 $44.8 -37.2 Sony
HIT & RUN $4.5 $5.7 NEW Open Road Films