‘Die Hard’ Sequel Opens as Top Movie With $28.6 Milliion

“A Good Day to Die Hard,” the fifth film in the Bruce Willis action series, opened as the top movie over the U.S. Presidents Day weekend with $28.6 million in ticket sales for News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox.

The comedy “Identity Thief” dropped to second place from first with sales of $27.5 million over four days, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

The first four “Die Hard” films, featuring Willis as the iconoclastic cop John McClane, have taken in $1.13 billion in worldwide ticket sales for Fox since the first film in 1988, according to Box Office Mojo, another researcher.

“For a franchise that was into its fourth decade, it’s a pretty decent showing, especially considering what happened with Sylvester Stallone’s and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films recently -- they just tanked,” Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said yesterday in an interview. “That Bruce Willis is basically the last man standing is a story in itself.”

In the new film, Willis’s McClane travels to Russia to rescue his kidnapped son, only to discover the situation is more complex and dangerous than he expected. Jai Courtney co-stars as son Jack.

Date Weekend

“Identity Thief,” may have taken some share from “Die Hard,” as the comedy had a surprisingly good second week by offering couples a movie to see together the weekend after Valentine’s Day, Bock said.

“This is a big date weekend,” Bock said. “If you give the guy a choice, if they have to go see a date film, they’re probably going to go to ‘Identity Thief.’ ‘Safe Haven’ is probably torture for most males.”

“Safe Haven” was third in its debut, taking in $24.5 million for Relativity Media. Julianne Hough stars as a young woman who seems to have escaped her past by taking a job in a small North Carolina community. Her idyllic new life is interrupted when a stranger comes to town asking questions about her. Josh Duhamel co-stars.

The animated children’s tale “Escape From Planet Earth,” from Weinstein Co., was fourth with $21.1 million in its first weekend. In the film, a heroic astronaut from the planet Baab ignores the misgivings of his brother and colleagues to respond to an SOS. The mission turns out to be a trap. The movie features the voices of Brendan Fraser, Sofia Vergara and Ricky Gervais.

Zombie Love

“Warm Bodies” was fifth with $10.6 million in sales. Based on Isaac Marion’s novel, the movie tells the story of a slacker zombie named “R,” who develops a romantic attraction to one of the world’s few remaining humans. The Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. film stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

Revenue for the top 12 films fell 8.6 percent to $138 million from the year-earlier weekend, based on a three-day comparison Hollywood.com said. Sales for the first seven weeks of the year are down 6.7 percent to $1.28 billion. Attendance is down 7.8 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Feb. 15-17. Totals to-date are estimated through yesterday.


                       Rev.            Avg./  *Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 DIE HARD           $28.6    3,553   $8,061   --    $36.9    1
 2 IDENTITY THIEF      27.5    3,165    8,675  -31     74.7    2
 3 SAFE HAVEN          24.5    3,223    7,592   --     33.3    1
 4 ESCAPE FROM EARTH   21.1    3,288    6,418   --     21.1    1
 5 WARM BODIES         10.6    2,897    3,642  -22     51.8    3
 6 BEAUTIFUL CREATURES  8.9    2,950    3,032   --     11.5    1
 7 SILVER LININGS       7.4    2,202    3,367   -3     99.8   14
 8 SIDE EFFECTS         7.3    2,605    2,802  -33     20.1    2
 9 HANSEL AND GRETEL    4.2    2,103    1,986  -39     50.4    4
10 ZERO DARK THIRTY     3.6    1,522    2,367  -25     88.5    9
11 MAMA                 3.1    1,648    1,870  -36     68.6    5
12 ARGO                 2.6      903    2,907   -8    127.3   19

*Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $126.1        $138.0      -8.6

Year-to-date Revenue

     2013          2012
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $1,276        $1,368      -6.7

Year-to-date Attendance:     -7.8%

*Comparisons are over three days

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.