Box Office: 'Transformers' is No. 1 again, but newcomers 'Horrible Bosses' and 'Zookeeper' hold their own [Updated]
While "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" beat the opposition at the box office for the second consecutive weekend, two new films weren't knocked entirely off their feet.
Both "Horrible Bosses" and "Zookeeper" debuted to slightly higher grosses than had been expected. "Bosses," about three guys who decide to kill their demonic superiors, collected a solid $28.1 million, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros. The Kevin James family comedy "Zookeeper" meanwhile, which features a slew of both live and computer-generated animals, sold a decent $21 million in tickets.
Of course, neither film was able to match the strength of the third "Transformers" film, which added $47 million to its tally this weekend. That brought the movie's total in the U.S. and Canada to $261 million, making the 3-D action film the highest grossing domestic film of the year.
Audiences who saw the movie over the July 4 holiday loved it, assigning it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. Positive word-of-mouth seemed to pay off this weekend, as ticket sales for "Dark of the Moon" fell just 52%, less than the 61% the second "Transformers" film "Revenge of the Fallen" dropped on its second weekend in theaters in 2009.
"Horrible Bosses" was the latest in a line of low-budget, R-rated comedies to perform well at the box office this summer. Like Universal's "Bridesmaids" and Sony's "Bad Teacher," the film was produced for a relatively low cost -- Warner Bros.' New Line Cinema spent only $37 million to produce the movie whose ensemble cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Colin Farrell.
The movie was well-reviewed -- it currently has a 73% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- and was liked by audiences as well. Those who saw "Horrible Bosses" this weekend gave it an average grade of B+. The movie appealed more to an older crowd, as 64% of the audience was over the age of 25.
While "Zookeeper" got off to an OK start the film has a long way to go before it is successful domestically. The PG-rated movie, about a zookeeper who confides in talking animals when his relationship falls apart, was co-financed by Sony and MGM for $80 million. Sony took over its worldwide distribution and delayed the movie’s release last year amid the financial woes of MGM, which subsequently filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
Though the film received savage critical reviews, audiences liked it just as much as "Horrible Bosses," also assigning it a B+ grade. As expected, the movie appealed mostly to a family crowd, as 52% of the audience were parents with their children.
Sony is hoping that "Zookeeper" will be able to make up much of its production costs overseas, where the film opened this weekend in 19 foreign markets including Germany and Mexico and collected a so-so $7.5 million. Traditionally, American comedies haven't always played well abroad, though movies with talking animals are typically more popular internationally.
But in recent years, James' films have had more success selling tickets domestically than abroad. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," the first movie in which the actor had a leading role, raked in a suprisingly strong $146.3 million in the U.S. and Canada in 2009. But overseas, the movie had less appeal, grossing only $37 million. Similarly, 2010's “Grown Ups,” an ensemble PG-13-rated comedy in which he starred alongside comedians Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, grossed a smaller portion of its $271.4 million worldwide total internationally, with $109.4 million of the receipts coming from abroad.
In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics debuted "Beats, Rhymes & Life," a documentary about the band A Tribe Called Quest, on four screens. The film, which played in Los Angeles and New York, grossed $120,016 over the weekend for a respectable per-theater average of $30,004.
[Updated at 11:39 a.m.: Overseas, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" continued its impressive run, collecting an additional $93 million from 59 foreign markets. The film continued to perform best in Korea, where the film remained No. 1 this weekend with $16.7 million. After two weekends in release, the movie's international total now stands at $384 million -- approaching "Revenge of the Fallen's" overseas take of $434.2 million in 2009.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with international grosses when available, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
3. "Zookeeper" (MGM/Sony): Opened to $21 million. $7.5 million overseas in 19 foreign markets.
4. "Cars 2" (Disney/Pixar): $15.2 million on its third weekend, down 42%. $26.9 million overseas in 27 foreign markets. Domestic total: $148.8 million. International total: $121.6 million.
5. "Bad Teacher" (Sony): $9 million on its third weekend, down 38%. $13 million overseas in 30 foreign markets. Domestic total: $78.8 million. International total: $45.7 million.
6. "Larry Crowne" (Universal/Vendôme): $6.3 million on its second weekend, down 52%. Domestic total: $26.5 million.
7. "Super 8" (Paramount): $4.8 million on its fifth weekend, down 39%. $2.5 million overseas in 30 foreign markets. Domestic total: $118.1 million. International total: $51 million.
8. "Monte Carlo" (Fox/New Regency): $3.8 million on its second weekend, down 49%. $717,006 overseas in 13 foreign markets. Domestic total: $16.1 million. International total: $2.8 million.
9. "Green Lantern" (Warner Bros.): $3.1 million on its fourth weekend, down 52%. Domestic total: $109.7 million.
10. "Mr. Popper's Penguins" (Fox): $2.8 million on its fourth weekend, down 49%. $10.2 million overseas in 39 foreign markets. Domestic total: $57.7 million. International total: $26.5 million.]
Photos, from top: Jason Bateman, left, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis in "Horrible Bosses"; Kevin James gets friendly with a gorilla in "Zookeeper." Credits: Warner Bros.; Sony