Underworld did not disappoint over the weekend but the real surprise was Red Tails, the all-black World War 2 drama that over-performed. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was in line with its already weak expectations, same as Haywire, a disappointing 6th place for what looked like a very promising action flick at the box office.
You’d think that a niche franchise like Underworld would die down after 9 years but that’s not the case, at least not so far. With one released every three years, not milking this series dry probably helps. Anyway, Underworld Awakening made $25.3 million over the weekend, up from the $20.8 million made by Underworld: Rise of the Lycans in 2009 and down from the $26.8 million made by Underworld: Evolution in 2006. Considering the inflated 3D and IMAX prices, attendance is probably at an all-time-low for the series. Still, $25 million is a good start but it will take a strong overseas performance to recoup the $70 million budget. I’m thinking Underworld Awakening should stop around $60 million or so in North America.
In 2nd place Red Tails, the long dormant George Lucas pet project, opened with $18.7 million. The story of the Tuskegee Airmen (the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces) proved to be more popular then the studios that refused to finance the project thought it would be. But with George Lucas being the billionaire that he is, it was no problem for him to take $58 million out of his own pocket to make this. Supposedly he even paid for prints, distribution and marketing, another $35 million or so. Will the movie ever make that money back? Probably not but for someone like George Lucas $93 million is not that big of a loss. The Lucas estate generates hundreds of millions every year so it’s nice when they decide to give something back and this was definitely a worthy cause.
In 3rd place Contraband made $12 million for a 10-day total of $45.9 million. It’s now the 13th highest grossing Mark Wahlberg film and could finish as high as 8th with $60 million or more.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was 4th with $10 million after expanding from 6 to 2630 theaters. Considering both Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks star in this, $10 million is a bit underwhelming for the 9/11 drama.
The 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast was 5th with $8.7 million for a total of $204.9 million (all releases) and Steven Soderbergh’s promising R-rated action flick Haywire was 6th with only $8.4 million. Not much of an opening considering the talent attached better luck next time.
Joyful Noise was 7th with $5.9 million and $21.7 million so far. Meanwhile Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol made another $5.5 million (8th) for a total of $197.3 million. It will finish somewhere around $212-216 million.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows grossed $4.5 million in 9th place and has $178.3 million so far. This should reach at least $190 million.
Rounding up the top 10 was The Iron Lady with $3.6 million and a total of $12.5 million.