Weekend Box Office (August 3 - 5, 2012)
THIS WEEKEND Franchise fever continues as August kicks off with the action remake Total Recall and the kidpic sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days as studios gear up for the final month of summer while still competing with the lure of all the drama at the Olympics. Five of the last six wide releases rolled out by Hollywood have been franchise films including two threequels and two fourquels with another pair of high-profile action sequels ready to go over the next two weeks.
Colin Farrell anchors the sci-fi action vehicle Total Recall in a new adaptation of the short story that gave Arnold Schwarzenegger the top-grossing film of his career (at the time) back in the summer of 1990. This PG-13 pic is not centered around one of the biggest action heroes of the time so Farrell will not excite moviegoers the way the future governor did. Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel also are along for the ride and will provide some good starpower helping with appeal to young men.
Surprisingly, Recall is only the second futuristic action film of the summer after Prometheus so it should stand out as something different. Plus the action crowd really has nothing else to be excited about this weekend other than The Dark Knight Rises which most fans have seen already so direct competition will not be high. Poor reviews should hurt, though, especially with older males who remember seeing the Arnold pic which opened in June 1990 with $25.5M making it the biggest opening of that entire year. This one may not fly too much higher despite the fact that ticket prices have nearly doubled since then. Attacking 3,400 theaters, Total Recall may take in around $28M this weekend.
Moving the franchise from spring into the summer, Fox releases Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days targeting fans of the popular books and films with its third movie installment. The PG-rated film should play strictly to those already interested in the series which included 2010's pic which bowed to $22.1M and the 2011 followup Rodrick Rules which debuted a little bigger with $23.8M. That sequel had a fast fade dropping by more than 50% over each of its first five holdover frames. Some of the audience may have dropped out so a smaller launch could be in store this time. But with few options for kids and tweens right now and a recognizable brand name, a decent showing is likely. Opening in around 3,100 locations, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days might premiere to about $17M this weekend.
On Tuesday, two-time champ The Dark Knight Rises broke the $300M mark after just 12 days which was the third fastest in history after The Avengers and The Dark Knight. The third weekend drop should be less than last week's, however Total Recall will certainly provide direct competition for the action crowd. A 50% decline may result giving the Warner Bros. threequel about $31M for the frame and $349M in 24 days.
Kidpic Ice Age: Continental Drift will also face a new threat for its audience, although the smallest moviegoers are not likely to see Diary. A 40% slide would leave the Fox release with about $8M and a cume to date of $131M.
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For a review of The Dark Knight Rises visit The Chief Report.
LAST YEAR Yet another origin story rocketed to number one as Fox's Rise of the Planet of the Apes debuted on top with $54.8M. The hit prequel scored a bonanza worldwide with a final tally of $176.8M domestically and $483M globally. Sony's The Smurfs held up well in its second weekend with $20.7M while Universal's Cowboys & Aliens wasn't as lucky with a sophomore session of $15.7M. The studio's comedy The Change-Up opened in fourth to mild results with $13.5M on its way to $37.1M. Rounding out the top five was Captain America: The First Avenger with $13M.
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: August 2, 2012 at 12:35PM ET
Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 7:40pm ET.