Weekend Box Office (June 1 - 3, 2012)
THIS WEEKEND With its Battleship wounds still stinging, Universal enters the box office ring once again with a lower-cost, higher-reward offering in Snow White and the Huntsman which stands as the only new wide release coming out of Hollywood on Friday. The PG-13 fairy tale adventure has had tremendous buzz with young females who have been mostly ignored by the summer's other movies so far. The classic story along with the cast which includes Twilight's Kristen Stewart, Thor hunk Chris Hemsworth, and Oscar-winner Charlize Theron as the diabolical queen are major selling points to women and ads that focus on the action and battle scenes are being used to court the guys too.
The media has made much with the comparisons between this film and Mirror Mirror. Battling Snow White movies makes for a great news story. But that has subsided in recent months now that it is clear that the two films are very different with Huntsman being an epic adventure for teens and adults and not something to bring young kids to. Reviews have been mixed but good enough not to deter the built-in audience which has grown over time. Many of those who love Twilight and The Hunger Games will come out for Huntsman although reaching box office numbers close to those juggernauts will be impossible. But the Hemsworth brothers may just take up three slots in the top ten this weekend.
Universal aims to seize control of the number one spot for the first time since the spring hit The Lorax and should have a comfortable lead over competing alien fighters and super heroes. Snow White has had a good marketing push and should be driven by an underserved female audience that will respond to a brand that has generated true excitement. Direct competition is not too bad either. Opening in 3,772 theaters, Snow White and the Huntsman might collect about $47M this weekend.
Will Smith scored his first number one in four years last weekend with Men in Black 3 which may also be his most expensive film. Though he ruled the holiday weekend, the gross was less than expected and not as high as what such a costly project should be earning especially with 3D surcharges tossed in. Franchise action pics opening over Memorial Day weekend tend to drop hard and fast. Recent sophomore declines include 53% for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 61% for Terminator Salvation, and 55% for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Men in Black 3 is getting decent notices from audiences but is not being loved in any special way that would suggest stronger than normal legs. A 55% drop could result giving MIB3 about $25M for the frame and $110M in ten days on its way to $160-170M domestic.
The Avengers has been an unstoppable force at the box office and has been holding up well every week. Coming off of the holiday will take its toll, but with Snow White skewing more female it should be another solid take. Look for a 40% slide to around $22M pushing the mammoth cume to $555M with the $600M barrier certain to crumble.
Universal's Battleship has been sinking fast and has failed to excite the public in May. A 55% tumble may result putting the big-budget naval actioner at a mere $5M and the cume at only $55M after 17 days. It won't even make it to $70M in North America.
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LAST YEAR Four franchise flicks filled up the top slots to kick off June. Fox's well-reviewed super hero prequel X-Men: First Class bowed to a solid $55.1M on its way to $146.4M domestically and $353M worldwide. Holdovers followed with The Hangover Part II tumbling 64% to $31.4M and Kung Fu Panda 2 dropping by half to $23.9M. Rounding out the top five were Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with $18M and the sleeper hit Bridesmaids which held up well in its fourth round making $12M.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: May 31, 2012 at 12:45PM ET
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