Following the success of the “more action stars than you can shake a stick at” formula of 2010’s The Expendables, Lionsgate unleashed The Expendables 2 in 3,316 theaters this weekend, and the results were solid. This time star Sylvester Stallone handed over the directing reins to Simon West (Con Air, Laura Croft: Tomb Raider) so he could concentrate on more ass whuppin’ and less directin’! The first film debuted at number one with $34.8 million and was a surprise mid-August hit, and thus it’s no surprise that this latest installment topped this weekend’s chart with a gross of $28.75 million. There is almost not enough room here to list all of the action stars that take part in the mayhem, including of course Sylvester Stallone and a supporting cast featuring Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
1. The Expendables 2 – $28.75 million (week 1) (LIONSGATE)
2. The Bourne Legacy – $17,019,855/total to date $69,580,935 (week 2) (UNIVERSAL)
3. ParaNorman – $14,008,498/Week 1 (FOCUS FEATURES)
4. The Campaign – $13,385,000/total to date $51,694,000 (week 2) (WARNER BROS.)
5. Sparkle – $12 million (week 1) (SONY)
6. The Dark Knight Rises – $11,140,000/$409,916,000 to date (crossed $400 million mark this weekend) week 5
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green – $10,909,000/$15,187,000 to date (Opened Wednesday) week 1
Adding to the excitement of this weekend’s action movie leanings was Universal’s The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, in a re-boot of the “Bourne” franchise. Last weekend the film topped the chart with $38.1 million, and it has been holding steady all week in first place — it crossed the $50 million mark on Thursday after just seven days of release. The action re-boot had a second weekend gross of $17 million and a North American total by Sunday night of over $69 million.
Besides The Expendables 2, there were three additional wide release openers that found themselves in a box office traffic jam of sorts, with Focus Features’ stop-action animated Paranorman (in 3-D) leading lead the charge with a gross of $14 million. Produced by Coraline creators Laika, the PG-rated horror adventure performed similarly to that film, which scared up $16.8 million in its third place debut back in February of 2009.
Warner Bros.’ The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis did well in the mid-week box office primary, garnering votes in the mid $2 million range daily. As bitter rivals in a North Carolina congressional campaign, Farrell and Galifianakis duke it out on the campaign trail to comedic effect. In this its second weekend, a gross of $13.385 million put it in the thick of a very contentious fight for a spot in the top four.
Also opening this weekend was Sparkle from Sony Pictures, which had a debut of $12 million and thus earned back its modest negative cost in its first three days of release. This is a re-make of the 1976 film, which starred Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas and singer Irene Cara, and was co-written by Joel Schumacher (director of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin). This update stars American Idol Season Six winner Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston in her fifth and final screen role, in a tale of an up and coming girl group in Detroit in the Motown era 1960’s. Both films were inspired by the iconic female singing group The Supremes, and this version amps up the star power and the production values to great effect.
Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises took the number 6 spot with $11.1 million, and a North American total that passed the $400 million mark on Friday.
The fourth film making its debut, Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green, got a head start on the weekend with a Wednesday debut in over 2,551 theaters with $2.3 million. The PG-rated fantasy stars Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams in the titular role of Timothy Green, a 10 year-old boy who shows up on the doorstep of a couple that has been wishing for a child but unable to conceive. Of course the young boy is much more than he appears to be and strange events ensue. A gross of nearly $11 million for the weekend enabled the family drama to sprout $15.2 million for the Wednesday through Sunday period.
Only three summer box office weekends left (including this one) as we struggle to keep up with last year’s summer pace.
[PHOTO CREDIT: LIONSGATE]