Weekend Box Office (July 26 - 28, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Hollywood's latest super hero offering took command of the box office as Hugh Jackman's return to Adamantium action in The Wolverine resulted in a number one opening. The popular Marvel character took in $53.1M from 3,924 locations for a solid $13,536 average, according to final studio figures. The debut was just below the $55.1M debut of the franchise's last film X-Men: First Class which opened in June 2011. That summer's Thor and Captain America films bowed higher to about $65M a piece.

It can be argued that Wolverine could have attracted a slightly larger audience given its more well-known character and marquee star. However, every action film this month has debuted at or below expectations following an endless number of action titles since the first week of May. The clawed hero did deliver the biggest live-action opening in over a month. The character's last full feature was 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine which opened to $85.1M, but against zero competition. Bad will from that poorly-received film may have taken part of the fan base out of the equation this time around.

Set mostly in Japan, The Wolverine played to an expected crowd that skewed towards adult males. Studio research showed that 58% of the audience was male and 58% was 25 and older. Reviews were generally positive and paying moviegoers liked the PG-13 film giving it a good A- CinemaScore grade.

A massive global roll-out this weekend led to a big $86.1M international opening weekend from 101 territories for a powerful $139M worldwide launch. Most key markets opened this weekend though Japan will not release until September. The Wolverine cost a reported $120M to produce and had no expensive players outside of the lead actor.

Horror smash The Conjuring followed its spectacular opening with a terrific second weekend with $22.2M boosting the ten-day total to an incredible $83.9M. Off only 47%, the Warner Bros. release enjoyed an unusually low decline for a fright film and continues to benefit from strong audience buzz. A final domestic gross of about $140M is likely - among the best in history for a scary movie. Conjuring cost only $20M to produce.

Mega-toon Despicable Me 2 eased just 34% in its fourth round and cracked the triple-century mark with $16.4M for a cume to date of $306.8M for Universal. Gru's audience love and longevity has taken some of the speed out of rival animated offering Turbo which nonetheless held up well in its sophomore lap with $13.7M, off just 36%. With $56.2M in 12 days, Fox's final domestic total might end in the $90-100M range. Kid competition will ramp up starting this Wednesday with Smurfs 2.

Sequels for grown ups followed. Adam Sandler's Grown Ups 2 fell 42% to $11.6M for Sony putting the total at $101.8M - the bankable star's 14th $100M+ domestic grosser. Lionsgate saw its action pic Red 2 take in $9.3M, down 48%, resulting in a $35M sum.

Hoping to reach nine-digit territory, the sci-fi monster jam Pacific Rim collected $7.7M, down 52%, giving Warner Bros. $84.2M thus far on its way to $100M.

Leggy cop comedy The Heat dipped only 26% to $6.9M raising the total to $141.3M for Fox. Universal's R.I.P.D., Hollywood's umpteenth action offering this summer, fell apart in its second weekend with $6.1M falling 52%. The pricey flop has banked a miserable $24.6M and should end with a dismal $35-40M, one of the most memorable failures of this year.

Indie hit Fruitvale Station expanded nationwide and jumped into the top ten with a decent, but not spectacular showing. The Weinstein Co. release about the final day in the life of a young unarmed man shot and killed by the police grossed $4.6M from 1,064 locations for a mediocre $4,314 average. Total stands at $6.3M. Based on a true story, the urban drama attracted publicity for its similaritires to the killing of Trayvon Martin which has been a major news story over the last two years. But as with mainstream films, indie pics with dark and serious tones can often struggle to find a large audience in the summer when people crave lighter, more upbeat fare.

Making a major splash on the specialty scene was Woody Allen with his latest dramedy, Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett, which grossed $612,064 from only six theaters for a jaw-dropping $102,011 average per site. Sony Classics will continue to roll out the well-reviewed film in the weeks ahead as the actress attracts Oscar buzz.

Opening to soft results was the indie comedy The To-Do List with $1.6M from 591 locations for a weak $2,703 average. The CBS Films release stars Aubrey Plaza as a high school nerd trying to lose her virginity.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $151.7M which was up 22% from last year when The Dark Knight Rises remained at number one with $62.1M; but off 10% from 2011 when Cowboys & Aliens opened in the top spot with $36.4M.

Compared to projections, The Wolverine opened well below my forecast of $70M.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Smurfs 2 and 2 Guns both open.

# Title Jul 26 - 28 Jul 19 - 21 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The Wolverine $ 53,113,752 3,924 1 $ 13,536 $ 53,113,752 Fox
2 The Conjuring 22,208,389 41,855,326 -46.9 3,022 2 7,349 83,945,017 Warner Bros.
3 Despicable Me 2 16,424,135 24,906,360 -34.1 3,476 4 4,725 306,812,720 Universal
4 Turbo 13,740,247 21,312,625 -35.5 3,809 2 3,607 56,183,245 Fox
5 Grown Ups 2 11,600,811 19,872,150 -41.6 3,258 3 3,561 101,764,582 Sony
6 Red 2 9,337,197 18,048,422 -48.3 3,016 2 3,096 35,011,553 Lionsgate
7 Pacific Rim 7,703,461 16,002,231 -51.9 2,602 3 2,961 84,189,565 Warner Bros.
8 The Heat 6,914,664 9,303,788 -25.7 2,384 5 2,900 141,309,408 Fox
9 R.I.P.D. 6,070,525 12,691,415 -52.2 2,850 2 2,130 24,565,505 Universal
10 Fruitvale Station 4,590,219 739,484 520.7 1,064 3 4,314 6,272,535 Weinstein Co.
11 The Way, Way Back 3,445,814 2,200,622 56.6 886 4 3,889 9,077,255 Fox Searchlight
12 Monsters University 2,854,838 5,121,878 -44.3 1,470 6 1,942 255,467,026 Disney
13 World War Z 2,800,685 5,191,541 -46.1 1,440 6 1,945 192,660,231 Paramount
14 The Lone Ranger 1,684,417 4,380,047 -61.5 1,267 4 1,329 85,321,430 Disney
15 The To-Do List 1,579,402 591 1 2,672 1,579,402 CBS
16 White House Down 913,848 2,400,246 -61.9 676 5 1,352 70,638,617 Sony
17 Man of Steel 749,233 1,819,387 -58.8 501 7 1,495 286,807,505 Warner Bros.
18 Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain 728,502 2,034,217 -64.2 498 4 1,463 31,481,432 Lionsgate
19 Blue Jasmine 612,064 6 1 102,011 612,064 Sony Classics
20 This is the End 503,525 1,179,821 -57.3 270 7 1,865 95,617,810 Sony
Top 5 $ 117,087,334 $ 125,994,883 -7.1
Top 10 151,703,400 174,305,736 -13.0
Top 20 167,575,728 190,587,464 -12.1
Top 20 vs. 2012 167,575,728 131,152,514 27.8

Last Updated: July 29, 2013 at 10:00PM ET

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