When is $25 million on opening weekend considered a box office flop? When your film costs $150 million to make, while a similarly themed film released months earlier only cost half of that amount, that’s when. Apparently Roland Emmerich’s latest “let’s destroy the White House again!” movie “White House Down” didn’t quite have the effect on moviegoers that he and studio Sony were probably hoping for when they scheduled the film for the Fourth of July week. The movie took industry insiders by surprise with a soft opening, landing in fourth place and well behind fellow new release “The Heat”, and last week’s holdover, “World War Z”.
Some may be a bit surprised by “The Heat’s” performance, but I’m not one of those people. The movie, buoyed by another hilarious performance from Melissa McCarthy (with able assist from Sandra Bullock, who was born to play the straight man to someone like McCarthy) opened in second place with a muscular $40 million, nearly its entire production budget. Folks, you’re looking at Jim Carrey back when he was still Jim Carrey, calling shots for $20 million up front here. I guess moviegoers have been craving someone like McCarthy for a long time, and when Hollywood finally decided to give her a go, it was the best move they ever made. The fact that “The Heat” is pretty damn hilarious too doesn’t hurt, either.
Last week’s #1, Pixar’s animated sequel “Monsters University” held onto first place in its second week, taking another $46 million for a total of $171 million domestically and an impressive $300 million worldwide. It just barely beat out “The Heat” by $6 million though, which is again a testament to McCarthy’s popularity. Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” continues to try to find its footing, falling just one spot to #3 in its second week with close to $30 million, giving it $123 million so far domestically and just a shade under $170 million worldwide. The film still has a long way to go to recoup its $190 million budget (some have that budget even higher, given the film’s extensive third-act reshoots), so it’ll be interesting to see if it will indeed manage to overcome all of its negative publicity. One thing’s for sure: all those talks of “World War Z” sequels? Standard operating procedure hot air, as usual.
The surprise of the week has to be the poor performance of “White House Down”. The expensive, big-budget film from the master of destruction Roland Emmerich and suddenly red-hot box office golden boy Channing Tatum looks to have suffered from being the second film to tread pretty much the same ground as Antoine Fuqua’s “Olympus has Fallen” earlier in the year. That movie eventually went on to earn $98 million domestically, but a weak $62 million overseas. Big-budget Hollywood action movies usually do very well overseas, though given star Gerard Butler’s lack of star power, I’m not all that surprised. Also counting against the movie, no doubt, was the film’s rah-rah nature. “White House Down” is similarly rah-rah in its invasion of the White House, though this time from a decidedly Hollywood Liberal Fantasy perspective, with the bad guys being home-bred Right Wing extremists instead of overseas baddies. Maybe Sony is hoping that aspect of the film will end up helping it on foreign soil. Couldn’t hurt, I guess.
Either way, $150 million was way too expensive for a movie that is essentially set in and around one single locale (yes, even if it does happen to be a recreated White House), so Sony better hope the film picks up soon as July 4th week kicks off, otherwise it might take a bath — and not the good kind, on a beach, surrounded by pretty women in bikinis.
Via : Box Office Mojo