‘Pain & Gain’ Leads Weekend Movies With $20.2 Million

The action film “Pain & Gain” opened as the top film at theaters in the U.S. and Canada, taking in $20.2 million for Paramount Pictures as studios looked ahead to the start of the summer movie season.

“Oblivion,” the Tom Cruise science-fiction tale from Universal Pictures, dropped to second from first with $17.8 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s “The Big Wedding” was fourth with sales of $7.6 million in its debut.

Sales fell 15 percent from the year-earlier period as fans awaited this week’s official kickoff of the summer blockbuster season. May releases include Walt Disney Co.’s “Iron Man 3,” Paramount’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” and Warner Bros.’ “The Hangover Part III.” “Iron Man 3” opened internationally this past weekend with $195.3 million in sales, said Hollywood.com.

“Some of the buzz on ‘Iron Man 3’ is particularly strong,” Paul Sweeney, director of North American research for Bloomberg Industries, said in a telephone interview.

Summer typically accounts for about 40 percent of annual box-office revenue, according to Hollywood.com.

Disney cleared a major obstacle last week by reaching revenue-sharing agreements with the three largest U.S. cinema chains, Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Cinemark Holdings Inc. to show “Iron Man 3.” The chains had balked at Disney’s proposal to increase its share of ticket sales. Terms of the agreements weren’t disclosed.

True Story

“Pain & Gain,” based on a true story, follows three steroid-addled fitness buffs who try to boost their meager incomes by kidnapping a wealthy client. Mark Wahlberg plays the gang’s leader and Dwayne Johnson is one of his followers. “Pain & Gain” was directed by “Transformers” filmmaker Michael Bay. The film, made for about $26 million, was forecast to have sales of $21.9 million, the estimate of Box Office Mojo. Paramount is a unit of Viacom Inc.

“That’s actually fairly typical of what we’ve seen this year, movies opening a little light,” Sweeney said. Noting that most films post a significant drop in sales after the first week of release, he said, “We’ve seen with movies with a strong A-list actor like Mark Wahlberg that the movie can play fairly well over a couple of weeks.”

‘Big Wedding’

In “The Big Wedding,” a long-divorced couple pretend to be happily married at the wedding of their adopted son to fool the biological mother, a devout Roman Catholic who believes divorce is a sin. Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton play the reluctantly re-united couple.

“Oblivion,” about human survival after the Earth has been devastated by war, stars Cruise as a man who roams the planet guarding energy plants needed to maintain a gigantic satellite where most of humanity resides. Gradually, he learns that he hasn’t been told the truth about the planet’s near-destruction. Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough are featured in the movie. Universal Pictures is a unit of Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.

The Jackie Robinson biography “42” was third with $10.7 million. Chadwick Boseman stars as Robinson, the first black to play Major League Baseball. Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager who recruited Robinson and helped him deal with the racism of fans and players.

“The Croods,” DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s 3-D film about a prehistoric family of cave dwellers, was fifth with $6.7 million in receipts. The movie, featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, has taken in $163.2 million after six weeks in theaters.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell to $82.3 million from $97.1 million a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Sales this year are down 12 percent to $2.89 billion. Attendance has also declined 12 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for April 26 to April 28.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 PAIN & GAIN        $20.2    3,277   $6,178   --    $20.2    1
 2 OBLIVION            17.8    3,792    4,695  -52     65.1    2
 3 42                  10.7    3,405    3,130  -40     69.0    3
 4 THE BIG WEDDING      7.6    2,633    2,883   --      7.6    1
 5 THE CROODS (3-D)     6.7    3,283    2,049  -27    163.2    6
 6 G.I. JOE             3.7    2,707    1,368  -36    116.5    5
 7 SCARY MOVIE V        3.4    2,733    1,257  -44     27.5    3
 8 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN   2.9    2,334    1,227  -36     93.2    6
 9 PLACE BEYOND PINES   2.7    1,584    1,704  -43     16.2    5
10 JURASSIC PARK (3-D)  2.4    1,848    1,285  -41     42.1    4
11 MUD                  2.2      363    6,103   --      2.2    1
12 EVIL DEAD            2.0    2,186      909  -52     51.9    4

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $82.3 $97.1 -15

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $2,887 $3,272 -12 Year-to-date Attendance: -12%
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.