The original Expendables was something of a sequel itself, trading on the star power of aging action heroes thrust into a situation that demanded their expertise with knives/guns/martial arts. The appeal of seeing these stars again, however, appears to have waned. The Expendables 2 opened to $28.7 million, down from the 2010 film's $34.8 million debut. Overall, audiences liked the second movie better than the first, giving the second an "A-" rating to the first one's "B+." But is it possible that the sequel only drew the most die-hard genre lovers, who were already eager to give the movie a satisfactory rating? As the summer draws to a close, it's unlikely the sequel will top $100 million, something the first film achieved, but just barely.
Stop-motion animation offering ParaNorman opened to $14 million. That's lower than animation studio LAIKA's previous film, Coraline, which posted an $18 million opening. However, the 3D picture performed better than British import Pirates!, which debuted to $11 million earlier this summer. Unless you're Disney/DreamWorks Animation/Illumination, it appears that the animated field is tough. Focus continued its role as a distributor with this movie, which at over three thousand screens is its widest release to date.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green had a middling weekend of $10.9 million. Those that attended gave the sentimental story an "A-" rating, and its Wednesday debut gave it a five-day total of $15.1 million--not so bad. There are plenty of sentimental stories that catch fire at the box office (think: Marley & Me, The Pursuit of Happyness) but those ones had bigger stars attached. Given that Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton led this picture, the results aren't so bad, although the $25 million budget will certainly take some time to be recouped.
Starring Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston, Sparkle sang for $12 million. Audiences were pleased with the musical remake, giving it an "A" rating. Unlike Timothy Green, this movie only cost $14 million to make, so it will earn back its budget in no time.
Hope Springs, which earned $9.1 million and eighth place this week, needs to drop minimally in order to be deemed a success. Its 37.9% fall from opening weekend was the lowest of any movie in the top ten, and slightly better than the dip in star Meryl Streep's 2009 film Julie & Julia. That movie leveled its fall to the 20% range by the third week, something Hope Springs will need to do if it wants a "sleeper semi-hit" status.
Perhaps it was the Twilight fans, but Cosmopolis averaged $24,000 per screen at three locations. Will more Twihards turn out to see Robert Pattinson in coming weeks, even if he's not a vampire? My guess is no, though a strong performance in this movie should help Pattinson's career once the vampire franchise is finished.
On Wednesday, real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell star in Hit & Run. On Friday, bikes replace cars in the high-speed action movie Premium Rush, which opens opposite the spooky offering The Apparition.