Box office: 'Other Guys' in solid Ferrell territory; 'Step Up 3D' is tame [updated]
Proving that audiences haven't lost their love for Will Ferrell comedies after "Land of the Lost" flopped last summer, "The Other Guys" opened to a solid $35.6-million this weekend, according to studio estimates, and displaced "Inception" from the top box office spot after a three-week run.
Accounting for ticket price inflation, the debut of "The Other Guys," in which Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play mismatched police partners, opened similarly to a number of Ferrell's other successful comedies, such as 2008's "Stepbrothers," 2007's "Blades of Glory," 2004's "Anchorman" and 2003's "Elf."
With the exception of the long-running family hit "Elf," the other three movies all went on to gross between $85 million and $119 million. If "Other Guys" does roughly the same, that would be a good performance given that distributor Sony Pictures spent between $80 million and $90 million to produce the picture.
Sony does have some reason to worry about word-of-mouth, however, despite mostly positive reviews. Opening-night audiences appeared to be mixed on "Other Guys," giving it an average grade of B-minus, according to market research firm CinemaScore. Users at the movie website Flixster also gave it a soft positive rating of 69%.
Regardless of where "The Other Guys" ends up, it will almost certainly be well behind Ferrell's biggest hit, the 2006 NASCAR comedy "Talladega Nights," which opened to $47 million and went on to collect $148 million.
As is typical with Ferrell's comedies, the audience tilted young and male.
A strong domestic performance is critical for the picture, as Ferrell comedies typically don't do much business overseas. [Update, 11:43 a.m.: It hasn't yet opened in foreign countries.]
The weekend's only other new movie in nationwide release, the dance picture "Step Up 3D," failed to excite as many teenage girls as the last two films in the series. It opened to a soft $15.5 million, compared to $20.7 million for the 2006 original and $18.9 million for 2008's "Step Up 2 the Streets."
That actually represents a sizable decline in audience interest as the new movie benefited from substantially higher ticket prices because it played in 3D. Audiences overwhelmingly chose to see the new "Step Up" in 3D, as 84% of its receipts came from theaters that displayed the movie with the technology.
Those who saw the movie mostly liked it, giving it an average grade of B-plus, according to market research firm CinemaScore. 3D audiences liked it even more, rating it an A-minus.
Walt Disney Pictures and Summit Entertainment co-financed "Step Up 3D" at a cost of between $30 million and $35 million, with Disney handling its domestic release and Summit arranging its distribution in foreign countries.
[Update, 11:43 a.m.: Overseas, "Step Up 3D" opened to $12.3 million in 11 countries. In Great Britain, New Zealand, and South Korea it launched well above the first "Step Up" and slightly below the second, while in Australia, the Netherlands, and Belgium it started bigger than both its predecessors.]
"Inception" continued its very healthy box office run and came in No. 2 this weekend, grossing $18.6 million, down only 32% from last weekend. Total receipts in the U.S. and Canada for the Christopher Nolan-directed thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio are now $227.7 million.
[Update, 11:43 a.m.: This weekend for the first time, the foreign total for "Inception" exceeded the domestic. With $46.6 million generated in 58 foreign markets, including strong openings in Spain and Brazil, the movie's international gross now stands at $250 million.]
Last weekend's top new release, the Steve Carrell comedy "Dinner for Schmucks," declined 55% to $10.5 million, indicating that word-of-mouth wasn't good enough to help the picture combat the premier of another comedy. Carrell's last movie, the April hit "Date Night," dropped a much smaller 34% on its second weekend. "Schmucks," which co-stars Paul Rudd, has now brought in $46.7 million and will likely end with a so-so box office total of about $70 million.
"Charlie St. Cloud" tumbled 62% on its second weekend to $4.7 million, as the target teen-girl audience apparently didn't spread positive buzz on the romantic drama.
However, "The Kids Are All Right" showed very good resilience on its second weekend in wide release. Distributor Focus Features added 147 theaters for the indie romantic comedy and saw receipts drop only 26% to $2.6 million.
The Sundance Film Festival pickup now has total domestic receipts of $14 million and is performing similarly to last year's indie hit "500 Days of Summer," which ended up with a total of $32.4 million. Focus paid $5 million for rights to distribute "Kids" in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany and South Africa.
In limited release, Warner Bros. opened the period comedy "Flipped" at 45 theaters in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Austin, Texas, to a less-than-impressive $234,000.
The independently financed comedy about the beginnings of the online porn industry, "The Middle Men," opened to a dismal $305,000 at 252 theaters [Update, 11:43 a.m. A previous version of this post incorrectly said "The Middle Men" opened to $310,000.]. It was distributed by Paramount Pictures.
[Update, 11:43 a.m.: It was significantly better than the Joel
Schumacher-directed drama "Twelve." The book adaptation about privileged
Manhattan teens debuted to a dreadful $107,000 at 231 theaters.
Here are the top 10 pictures at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
1. "The Other Guys" (Sony): Opened to $35.6 million.
2. "Inception" (Warner Bros./Legendary): $18.6 million on its second weekend, down 32%. $46.6 million overseas in 58 foreign markets. Domestic total: $227.7 million. International total: $250 million.
3. "Step Up 3D" (Disney/Summit): Opened to $15.5 million, $12.3 million overseas in 11 foreign markets.
4. "Salt" (Sony/Relativity): $11.1 million on its third weekend, down 43%; $16.9 million overseas in 39 foreign markets. Domestic total: $92 million. International total: $62.8 million.
5. "Dinner for Schmucks" (Paramount/DreamWorks/Spyglass): $10.5 million on its second weekend, down 55%. Domestic total: $46.7 million.
6. "Despicable Me" (Universal): $9.4 million on its fifth weekend, down 39%; $9.8 million overseas in 24 foreign markets. Domestic total: $209.4 million. International total: $43.5 million.
7. "Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow): $6.9 million on its second weekend, down 44%; $6.9 million overseas in 16 foreign markets. Domestic total: $26.4 million. International total: $11.1 million.
8. "Charlie St. Cloud" (Universal/Relativity): $4.7 million on its second weekend, down 62%. Domestic total: $23.5 million.
9. "Toy Story 3" (Disney): $3 million on its sixth weekend, down 41%; $29.4 million overseas in 49 foreign markets. Domestic total: $396.3 million. International total: $498.7 million.
10. "The Kids Are All Right" (Focus): $2.6 million on its fifth weekend (second in nationwide release), down 26%. Domestic total: $14 million.]
-- Ben Fritz
Top photo: Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys." Credit: Macall Polay / Sony Pictures. Bottom photo: From left, Adam Sevani, Kendra Andrews, Sharni Vinson, Tamara Levinson and Ashlee Nino in "Step Up 3D." Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.