Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- “2 Guns,” a buddy cop comedy-thriller featuring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, was the top weekend film in U.S. and Canadian theaters, collecting $27.4 million for Universal Pictures.
“The Smurfs 2,” a family feature combining animation with live action, opened with $18.2 million in receipts for Sony Corp. to place third, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said in a statement yesterday. The receipts, which missed the estimate of Boxoffice.com, were about half of the opening sales for the original movie in 2011. Returning film “The Wolverine” was second with $21.7 million.
“2 Guns,” a tale of undercover lawmen trying to catch a drug kingpin, taps the bickering buddy movie formula successfully mined by Hollywood in films such as “Lethal Weapon” and marks the seventh No. 1 weekend opening this year for Universal, part of Comcast Corp. The movie, made for $61 million, was projected to have sales of $34 million, according to Boxoffice.com.
“The chemistry is obvious in the film,” Nikki Rocco, president of distribution for Universal Pictures, said in an interview. “Hopefully, it finds its own life in a marketplace that’s very crowded.”
Washington plays Drug Enforcement Administration agent Bobby Trench, while Wahlberg is cast as U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman. The two reluctantly work undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate. When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel goes haywire, they are disavowed by their superiors and can only count on each other.
“This is a business where being No. 1 is always wonderful,” Rocco said. “It’s nice to be on a roll.”
The film garnered a 59 percent favorable rating out of 97 reviews aggregated by Rottentomatoes.com.
“More is much less in ‘2 Guns,’” wrote Bloomberg News critic Greg Evans. “An extended and clever preamble raises our hopes,” before the picture “devolves into an ultra-violent mad, mad, mad world,” wrote Evans, who gave the film two stars, or a “so-so” rating.
“The Smurfs 2,” which opened July 31, is the follow-up to Sony’s 2011 global hit, which generated 75 percent of its $563.7 million in worldwide sales outside the U.S., according to Box Office Mojo, an industry researcher. The picture combines cartoon characters with live action and features Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays.
Produced at a cost of $105 million, “The Smurfs 2” will need to replicate the success overseas to be profitable for Sony, SNL Kagan said. Boxoffice.com had forecast weekend sales of $23 million for “The Smurfs 2.” The first film generated $35.6 million in domestic theaters in its opening weekend.
“U.S. interest in the 3-D franchise seems to have waned among adult moviegoers,” SNL Kagan said in a note last week. “International grosses will have to remain very strong for the film to have a chance of making money.”
Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, said the first film, “The Smurfs,” exceeded “our most wild” expectations and set a high bar for the sequel.
“We did open a little bit less than what we hoped for, but I think we more than made up for it” internationally, he said in an interview. The movie took in $52.5 million worldwide, which was about 4 percent less than the 2011 opening of the original movie, according to Sony.
The sequel takes the diminutive blue cartoon characters known as Smurfs to Paris and also features voices of Katy Perry and Jimmy Kimmel. It had a 13 percent positive rating out of 72 reviews on Rottentomatoes. The studio is on track for a third Smurfs film in 2015, Bruer said.
Among returning films, the Marvel superhero picture “The Wolverine” from 21st Century Fox Inc. fell to second after finishing atop the rankings a week ago. It has had sales of $95 million in its two weeks of release.
“The Conjuring,” the low-budget horror from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., dropped to fourth place with $13.7 million.
Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” took in $2.02 million, after opening to packed audiences in six theaters last weekend. This past weekend it played in 50 cities, including Washington and San Francisco, the setting for much of the film.
Starring Cate Blanchett as the wife of a Bernie Madoff-like swindler, the movie may rival “Midnight in Paris” as Allen’s top-grossing film, according to Michael Barker, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, which distributed both movies.
Hollywood.com Box-Office said “Blue Jasmine” sales this past weekend exceeded those of “Midnight in Paris” in its second weekend of release in 2011 ($1.9 million).
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 11 percent to $126.3 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Attendance year to date is down 3 percent, while revenue has declined less than 1 percent.
The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Hollywood.com Box-Office. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, with estimates for yesterday.
Rev. Avg./ Pct. Total Movie (mln) Theaters Theater Chg. (mln) Wks =============================================================== 1 2 GUNS $27.4 3,025 $9,045 -- $27.4 1 2 THE WOLVERINE 21.7 3,924 5,536 -59 95.0 2 3 SMURFS 2 18.2 3,866 4,708 -- 27.8 1 4 THE CONJURING 13.7 3,115 4,385 -38 108.6 3 5 DESPICABLE ME 2 10.4 3,207 3,240 -37 326.7 5 6 GROWN UPS 2 8.1 3,075 2,634 -30 116.4 4 7 TURBO 6.4 2,985 2,144 -53 69.5 3 8 RED 2 5.7 2,755 2,051 -39 45.2 3 9 THE HEAT 4.7 2,074 2,278 -32 149.6 6 10 PACIFIC RIM 4.6 1,803 2,535 -41 92.9 4 11 THE WAY, WAY BACK 2.9 1,001 2,847 -17 13.7 5 12 FRUITVALE STATION 2.7 1,086 2,486 -41 10.9 4 Top 12 Films Grosses: This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $126.3 $113.8 +11 Year-to-date Revenue: 2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $6,821.2 $6,827.8 -0.1 Year-to-date Attendance: -3% Source: Hollywood.com Box-Office
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