Universal’s R-rated 2 Guns starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington led an unspectacular late summer box office field in its August debut. Sony’s The Smurfs 2 landed softly in third place, while last weekend’s champ The Wolverine slid into second despite the little blue men arriving on the scene.
Denzel Washington is one of the few actors these days that can be relied upon to deliver big openings at the box office. While the estimated $27.5 million opening for his latest R-rated action flick 2 Guns didn’t quite scale the $40 million heights of Safe House, it was enough to land at the top spot this weekend with Wahlberg serving as co-star. The $9,045 per screen average from 3,025 screens was the highest in the top ten. The R-rated feature received mixed reviews from both critics and ticket buyers, so the road ahead for the $61 million Universal production may be a bit on the rocky side.
After debuting last weekend to a less-than-expected $53 million, The Wolverine saw its ticket-selling claws dull by 59% in its sophomore round on 3,924 screens to earn an estimated $21.7 million. The domestic total now stands at $95 million. It held better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine did in its second weekend, which saw its earnings slide by 69%. Depending on how well Hugh Jackman and company hold up over the few remaining summer weeks, The Wolverine may make its way to $135-140 million. Overseas, the film has earned a big $159 thus far to bring the global haul for the $120 million production to a solid $254 million.
Two years ago, Sony Pictures Animation opened The Smurfs, which was hated by critics and anyone over the age of ten. Nevertheless, the movie earned a big $142 million in North America and an even bigger $421 million from global markets. It was only a matter of time before a sequel was unleashed upon us. Blame the bitter aftertaste of the first film, the horrible reviews for the new film or the simple fact that families are burnt out on animated features this summer, but people stayed away from the latest adventures of the little blue dudes.
Opening this past Wednesday, the follow up earned a mild $27 million from 3,866 theaters (the Friday-to-Monday gross was $18.2 million), which didn’t even come close to the original’s $35 million 3-day opening from two years ago. As is the case with many a movie this year that underwhelms in North America, the overseas markets are where Sony is looking to recoup the $105 million they invested in this film. Opening day-and-date in a handful of foreign markets, Smurfs 2 earned an estimated $52 million, which should guarantee a Smurfs 3: Die You Blue Bastards! in two years’ time.
Continuing to scare the daylights out of audiences while raking in the box office cash in fourth place was Warner’s horror smash The Conjuring with an estimated $13.6 million from 3,115 screens. Off a moderate 38% from last weekend’s strong hold, the James Wan hit has earned a great $108.6 million and should finish its run with $140 million.
Universal’s Despicable Me 2 added $10.4 million to its massive total, which now stands at $326.6 million. Given its durable legs in light of the arrival of Turbo and Smurfs 2 over the past couple of weeks, Despicable Me 2 should be able to work its way to at least $350 million by Labor Day.
The remainder of the top ten is as follows:
6. Grown Ups 2 (Sony) $8.1 million (-30%); $116.4 million
7. Turbo (Fox/Dreamworks) $6.4 million (-53%); $69.4 million
8. Red 2 (Lionsgate/Summit) $5.6 million (-40%); $45.1 million
9. The Heat (Fox) $4.7 million (-32%); $149.5 million
10. Pacific Rim (Warner) $4.5 million (-41%); $93 million
2 Guns faces stiff competition next weekend as Sony debuts the much-anticipated Elysium starring Matt Damon, while Disney delivers the Cars spinoff that was originally planned as a direct-to-video release, Planes, in hopes of selling more merchandise.
– Shawn Fitzgerald