The Bourne Legacy traded in star Matt Damon for Jeremy Renner, yet still managed to dethrone powerhouse The Dark Knight Rises and finish first at the North American box office this weekend. The fourth Bourne film from Universal Pictures also managed to eclipse fellow newcomers The Campaign and Hope Springs, both of which had openings ranging from solid to respectable. The trio of newcomers helped a sluggish box office jump up 20 percent over last weekend’s revenue and fall more in line with last year’s results during the same week.
The story of Jason Bourne ended with Paul Greengrass’ The Bourne Ultimatum, but that didn’t stop Universal and Tony Gilroy from finding another way to keep the franchise from generating cash. The result is The Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner taking on a new high value target character in the Bourne universe.
Sans Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, 3D or IMAX to help it out, The Bourne Legacy arrived on 3,745 screens to earn a solid $40.3 million in estimated sales and a great per screen average of $10,749. In comparison to the previous entries in the series, Legacy’s opening ranked third behind Ultimatum’s $69 million opening in 2007 and The Bourne Supremacy’s $52.5 million in 2004. Only 2002’s The Bourne Identity opened lower than Legacy with $27 million ($37 after inflation).
Critical notices for The Bourne Legacy were largely on the negative side (53% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and ticket buyers polled by CinemaScore gave the new chapter a “B” rating, markers which paint a fuzzy picture for the film’s earnings potential moving forward. It opened on Friday with $14 but saw its business spike a mere 5.7% on Saturday and drop 22.5% on Sunday.
In second place was Warner’s political comedy The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as political rivals. The Jay Roach-directed comedy earned $27.4 million from 3,205 theaters for a $8,562 per screen average in taking advantage of the politically charged climate headed into the election season.
After ruling the roost for the past three weekends, Warner’s The Dark Knight Rises stepped aside and took over third place. Dropping a decent 45% and 552 screens from last weekend, the Batman finale earned another $19.5 million in estimated sales to bring its total to the $390 million mark.
In fourth place was the third wide release of the weekend, the adult drama Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. Poised as counter-programming for adults to the glut of action films and raunchy comedies in the market, the David Frankell-directed feature managed a respectable $20 million five-day opening from 2,361 theaters and a decent $6,607 per screen average.
Rounding out the top five was Fox’s family comedy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days with an estimated $8.2 million from 3,398 theaters. Off only 44% from its debut, the movie has earned an okay $30.5 million after ten days and could make its way near the $50 million mark.
The remainder of the top ten is as follows:
6. Total Recall (2012-Sony) $8.1 million (-68% from last weekend) $44.1 million to date
7. Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) $6.75 million (-21%) $144 million
8. Ted (Universal) $3.3 million (-41%) $210 million
9. Step Up: Revolution (Summit/Lionsgate) $2.85 million (-52%) $30.1 million
10. The Watch (Fox) $2.2 million (-66%) $31.3 million
The Bourne Legacy will next face Sylvester Stallone and his pals in The Expendables 2, the Focus Features animated 3D feature ParaNorman, and Sony’s release the remake of 1976’s Sparkle, which features the last onscreen appearance of the late pop superstar Whitney Houston.
– Shawn Fitzgerald