Cleanly sliding in place as August-sized blockbuster of the week, "The Expendables 2" had little trouble landing top placement at the box office this weekend. The action extravaganza had more going against it than its predecessor, which had at least the spark of the (relatively) new, and took in nearly $6 million less in its first three days. That may not be such a negative sign for the second installment in the Stallone-led franchise, since audiences heading into the film knew very well what they were in for this time around. Considering the sequel got more positive opinions from critics, or at least more understanding, expect this film to hold well as the summer soldiers on.
The other three debuts fared less significantly, with the strongest of the batch being stop-motion children's horror "ParaNorman". Scoring nearly $3 million less than Laika's last stop-motion adventure, "Coraline", it did manage an impact greater than "The Pirates! Band of Misfits". I suspect "Frankenweenie" will end up the strongest of this year's three stop-motion projects at the box office, but "ParaNorman" could make a decent earnings if it holds up as well as "Coraline" did. I have certain doubts, given critics have more reservations against this one than they did with Henry Selick's 2009 film.
That leaves "Sparkle" and "The Odd Life of Timothy Green", both of which scrounged similarly dismal debuts, more despairingly for the latter. Whitney Houston's last performance should have been more of an event as it turned out to be, mostly thanks to poor marketing, not that far from "Joyful Noise". Moving on to holdovers, "The Bourne Legacy" had the largest second weekend fall of any film in the franchise at 55.4%, not spelling good things for the future of the franchise. The worst revelation of this weekend was left to "2016: Obama's America", an anti-Obama propaganda piece which brought in $1.3 million from less than 200 screens. I have disappointments going both ways in this year's political debate, but it is not something that has any place in the field of cinema, especially when indie films like "Take This Waltz" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" are working aggressively as it is to find an audience.
"The Dark Knight Rises" continues to scale box office heights, even after the buzz has dissipated, now past the $400 million mark on its way to $450 million. Last, but not least, "Hope Springs" held strongest of every out of the top 10, only falling 38%, and putting it on a good route for the duration of the summer. The weekend thrived over last year because of the abundance of new releases, rather than the strength of few. Last summer made it through the end on the steam of "The Help" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".
1. "The Expendables 2" (First Weekend; $28.8 million)
2. "The Bourne Legacy" (Second Weekend; $17 million; $69.6 MILLION TOTAL)
3. "ParaNorman" (First Weekend; $14 million)
4. "The Campaign" (Second Weekend; $13.4 million; $51.7 MILLION TOTAL)
5. "Sparkle" (First Weekend; $12 million)
6. "The Dark Knight Rises" (Fifth Weekend; $11.1 million; $409.9 MILLION TOTAL)
7. "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" (First Weekend; $10.9 million; $15.2 MILLION TOTAL)
8. "Hope Springs" (Second Weekend; $9.1 million; $35.1 MILLION TOTAL)
9. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (Third Weekend; $3.9 million; $38.8 MILLION TOTAL)
10. "Total Recall" (Third Weekend; $3.5 million; $51.8 MILLION TOTAL)