Weekend Box Office: January Sucks

Since Luke is out covering the Sundance Film Festival, seeing great movies and partying with celebrities as we speak, it looks like I’ll fill in on the box office update today. Long story short: We’re still stuck in the January doldrums, where crappy movies reign.

After sitting out the third franchise entry, Kate Beckinsale donned the slinky leather catsuit once again for ‘Underworld Awakening‘. That seems to have been enough to bring out the fanboys and satisfy January audiences. The vampires-versus-werewolves sequel dominated the weekend with a $25.4 million opening.

Not too far behind this, and beating most analysts’ estimates, George Lucas’ scathingly-reviewed WWII dogfight action flick ‘Red Tails‘ came in second place with $19.1 million. Expect both of these movies to stall out and plummet in the coming weeks.

Audiences were apparently none too impressed with the trailers for Steven Soderbergh’s first action movie, ‘Haywire‘. Despite mostly positive reviews, the film debuted in fifth place with an underwhelming $9 million. It seems unlikely to build much traction from this point. Serves Soderbergh right for casting Channing Tatum, if you ask me. Hopefully, this will scuttle the director’s plans to make that memoir movie about Tatum’s experiences as a male stripper. (Yes, this is a real thing.)

Last week’s top dog, ‘Contraband‘, fell about 50% to third place with $12.2 million, which falls much in line with expectations. Hey Mark, say hi to your mutha for me.

Hoping to capitalize on awards season buzz, a couple of limited-release films expanded wider this weekend. The 9/11 drama ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close‘ did the better of the two with $10.5 million. Chalk that up to the star power of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

Unfortunately, even a Golden Globe win couldn’t convince audiences to see a black & white silent movie. Now on 662 screens, ‘The Artist‘ came in 17th place with $2.3 million. This comes on the heels of reports that UK theaters have been handing out refunds to moronic moviegoers who’ve complained that the film has no dialogue. My faith in humanity is crushed once again.

Top 10:

1. ‘Underworld Awakening’ (Screen Gems) – $25,400,000

2. ‘Red Tails’ (Fox) – $19,100,000

3. ‘Contraband’ (Universal) – $12,200,000

4. ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ (Warner Bros.) – $10,545,000

5. ‘Haywire’ (Relativity) – $9,000,000

6. ‘Beauty and the Beast in 3D’ (Buena Vista) – $8,556,000

7. ‘Joyful Noise’ (Warner Bros.) – $6,075,000

8. ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ (Paramount) – $5,540,000

9. ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ (Warner Bros.) – $4,805,000

10. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (Sony) – $3,750,000


  1. EM

    I wonder what else that complaint strategy works for. For example, upon having seen Hugo this weekend, could I have gotten a refund if I had complained the movie has no Klingons?

  2. JM

    ‘Red Tails’ got a cinemascore of A+.

    ‘Mission: Impossible 4’ had an A-.

    ‘Salt’ had a B+.

    ‘Haywire’ scored a D+.

    • Drew

      The overall cinemascore for ‘Red Tails’ was ‘A’. You’re referring to the 18-25 age group cinemascore.

      I’m not trying to demean your point at all. It is still obviously valid.

      I just hate the fact that any age group could give ‘Red Tails’ an ‘A+’ (or an A for that matter), so I thought I would point out that the overall cinemascore was “only” an ‘A’.

    • Josh Zyber

      You know, I was wondering about that. Who votes in these CinemaScore rankings? Have you ever done one? Do you know anyone who has?

      I can only recall once in my moviegoing life when I’ve even SEEN it offered as an option to an exiting audience.

      • Drew

        I’ve experienced it on three occassions.

        It’s so arbitrary, it’s hard to believe that they actually put any stock in it.

        You’re walking out of the theatre with a bunch of other people, having just barely seen the film and not having any time to put what you saw in perspective.

        They determine the letter grade by code words. If you say, “It was okay.” I’ve heard that this is giving the film a ‘B’.

        I don’t know about you, but if I walk out and say, “It was okay.” I’m certainly not saying that I would give the film a ‘B’.

        • JM

          Cinemascores are supposed to test the effectiveness of demographic marketing, not assess the quality of the film.

          It’s a tool to see if the right audience showed up for the right reasons, and to get a measurement of word-of-mouth, to adjust the advertising.

          They claim, an immediate gut reaction tends to be the most accurate.

          It’s the assessment thieves do after a heist, to help plan future con jobs.

  3. I saw The Artist this weekend and absolutely loved it in all its schmaltzy glory. I would recommend it to almost anyone.

    Despite its abundant charm, how could a silent, black-and-white, pillar-boxed film compete box-office-wise with any movie containing a vinyl-clad Kate Beckinsale in color and three dimensions?

    Perhaps The Artist will break into the top 10 once the Academy nominates it for best sound editing.

  4. Jean Dejuardin is hysterical, and worth seeing. (If you haven’t seen the spoof off the OSS movies, it’s on Netflix Streaming and it’s HI-Sterical.

    But if I had the choice between Kate Beckinsale and The Artist, I would have to see the Artist the following weekend. Kate is just too damned beautiful for me to skip that, sorry.