Thor started the summer movie season with a strong debut, but surprisingly its opening weekend gross was not as large as you might think. While Thor led the box office, the other two major new releases had decent opening weekends considering how little press they were given. Fast Five suffered a large drop on its second weekend, and no film had a strong debut in limited release. I didn’t do well in my predictions this weekend (I predicted four of the films in the top five, but only placed two of the films in the correct finish. I was also extremely off in my prediction of Thor – extremely). Here’s how the weekend broke down:
Thor debuted in 1st place with a gross of $66 million (I predicted a 1st place finish and a gross of $96 million). Thor had a per theatre average of $16,688 which was the highest per theatre average of any film in release. The comic book adventure film did all right at the box office, as grossing $66 million on your opening weekend is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, Thor can also lay claim to the title of lowest opening weekend to start the summer movie season since 2006’s Mission Impossible: III. The numbers don’t lie and they are below:
2006 – Mission Impossible III – $47.7 million opening weekend
2007 – Spider-Man 3 – $151.1 million opening weekend
2008 – Iron Man – $98.6 million opening weekend
2009 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $85 million opening weekend
2010 – Iron Man 2 – $128.1 million opening weekend
2011 – Thor – $66 million opening weekend
Thor is not one of the “A List” superheroes, so that might have contributed to its opening weekend gross, but I really did think the film would do better because reviews have been positive (Rotten Tomatoes has the film listed at 78% as of this writing) and the film had a strong marketing campaign. I think it will hold up well next weekend because I don’t see the two major new releases next weekend having grosses that will dethrone Thor. The film does have a ways to go to make back its $150 million budget, but it should be able to make back its money.
Dropping from 1st place to 2nd place is the action film Fast Five with a gross of $32.5 million (I predicted a 2nd place finish and a gross of $27.6 million). Fast Five had a per theatre average of $8,880 (which is very good for a film in its second weekend) and dropped 62.3% from its opening weekend gross (which is not very good). The percentage drop for Fast Five was the highest of any film in the top ten. What did surprise me is that Fast Five didn’t establish a franchise worst for the highest second weekend drop. See below:
2001 – The Fast and the Furious – 50% second weekend drop
2003 – 2 Fast 2 Furious – 63% second weekend drop
2006 – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – 59.1% second weekend drop
2009 – Fast and Furious – 61.6% second weekend drop
2011 – Fast Five – 62.3% second weekend drop
The drop might be high, but the per theatre average is impressive, and that might have been another reason why Thor only had a $66 million gross on its opening weekend. None of those other films that started the summer movie season had competition as strong as Fast Five. After ten days, the Vin Diesel action flick has grossed $139.8 million and has already made back its $125 million budget for Universal and in the near future Fast Five will easily be the highest grossing film in the franchise surpassing Fast and Furious gross of $155 million.
A surprise finish in 3rd place is the comedy Jumping the Broom with a gross of $13.7 million (I predicted a 6th place finish and a gross of $5 million). Jumping the Broom had a terrific per theatre average of $6,732, which was the 3rd best per theatre average in the top ten. What’s amazing is that this film did not get very much promotion, did not get a wide release in theatres (only 2,035 theatres, which was the 3rd lowest of any film in the top ten) and ended up having a very strong debut. It was released as counter-programming for audiences who did not want to see Thor and the strategy of releasing the film this weekend worked. Jumping the Broom had a budget of $6.6 million, so it has already doubled its money and become a surprise hit for Tri-Star.
Debuting in 4th place is the romantic comedy Something Borrowed with a gross of $13.1 million (I predicted a 3rd place finish and a gross of $10 million). Something Borrowed had a per theatre average of $4,530. The Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski and Kate Hudson film was also released to be counter-programming to Thor but ended up being usurped by Jumping the Broom which I doubt most experts (including myself) would have predicted. I don’t see this film lasting long in theatres because there are too many films coming out in a short period of time, and this one looks to be on DVD shelves sooner rather than later. The Warner Bros. release has a budget of $35 million and I don’t think it will be making back its money for the studio.
Dropping from 2nd place to 5th place is the animated adventure Rio with a gross of $8.2 million (I predicted a 4th place finish and a gross of $8.7 million). Rio had a per theatre average of $2,517 and was down 44.5% from last weekend’s gross. After four weeks, Rio has grossed $114.9 million from a budget of $90 million for 20th Century Fox.
A film that I predicted that would be in the top five, ended up placing just outside of it. Dropping from 4th place to 6th place is the Reese Witherspoon // Robert Pattinson romance Water for Elephants with a gross of $5.6 million (I predicted a 5th place finish and a gross of $5.6 million). Water for Elephants had a per theatre average of $2,142 and was down 40.1% from last weekend. After three weeks of release, Water for Elephants has grossed $41.6 million and has made back its $38 million budget for 20th Century Fox.
In limited release:
The Beaver made the most noise of the films in limited release, but it definitely didn’t make a strong impression with audiences. The Jodie Foster directed, Mel Gibson starring film grossed $104,000 from 22 theatres, giving it a per theatre average of $4,727.
So to recap, here were my predictions:
Thor – $96 million
Fast Five – $27.6 million
Something Borrowed – $10 million
Rio – $8.7 million
Water for Elephants – $6 million
And here are the actual numbers:
Thor – $66 million
Fast Five – $32.5 million
Jumping the Broom – $13.7 million
Something Borrowed – $13.1 million
Rio – $8.2 million
Next weekend, Thor looks to be the #1 film for a second weekend in a row against two new films: the Kristen Wiig comedy Bridesmaids and the Paul Bettany action-adventure Priest. Check out Biff Bam Pop next Friday to read my predictions!