'Mama' keeps competition in line; 'Last Stand' falls
05:00 AM, Jan 20, 2013
Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed he’d be back.
Maybe he’s running a little late.
Despite some of the best reviews of his career, Schwarzenegger’s first feature film since his run as California governor didn’t exactly win over the moviegoing electorate. The Last Stand collected $6.3 million and only 10th place at the box office over the weekend, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
The haul was a third of many analysts’ expectations and placed the shoot-‘em-up well behind the low-budget horror film Mama, which coasted to the top of the box office with $28.1 million.
Stand’s subpar performance didn’t stun analysts, who expected audiences to be leery of an old-school action film from a star who has recently made only sporadic cameos in films like The Expendables franchise.
Still, the debut is a letdown, particularly given reviews and fan reaction. While he has never been a critical darling, Schwarzenegger earned a thumbs-up from 57% of the nation’s critics, says survey site Rottentomatoes.com. Fans were more impressed: About 73% of moviegoers said they liked it, giving it hope for a longer run in Hollywood’s normally sluggish winter.
“Arnold’s back, but it looks like Jessica has his number,” says Ray Subers of Boxofficemojo.com.
That would be Jessica Chastain, who anchors not only Mama but also the Oscar contender Zero Dark Thirty, which landed in second place.
The low-budget horror film Mama stormed theaters, earning about $8 million more than forecast, thanks in part to the appeal of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, executive producer of the $15 million film.
Mama rated well with critics and fans. About 62% of critics liked the movie, compared to 71% of moviegoers, says Rottentomatoes.com.
“I would have been happy to open this movie in the mid-teens,” says Nikki Rocco, distribution chief for Universal Pictures, which released Mama.
Rocco says the PG-13 film drew “females into the theaters in a way you wouldn’t believe. They love the supernatural movies.”
Zero Dark Thirty, the chronicle of the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, earned $17.6 million over the weekend, lifting the $40 million film’s total to $56 million since its release Dec. 19 and bolstering its chances at the Feb. 24 Academy Awards. Zero is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture and best lead actress for Chastain.
Sony’s Steve Elzer calls the sophomore weekend “a fantastic second-week result” in national expansion.
The Martin Luther King holiday weekend proved kind to other awards seekers. Silver Linings Playbook, the Bradley Cooper comedy also nominated for best picture, took third place with $11.4 million, lifting its 10-week total to $55.3 million.
The mobster drama Gangster Squad took fourth with $9.1 million.
Broken City, the crime drama starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, didn’t muscle up much at the box office, rounding out the top five with $9 million, well below projections. Critics excoriated the film: Only 24% gave it a thumbs-up, compared to a middling 58% approval rating from fans.
Final figures are expected Tuesday because of the holiday.
The year is off to a strong start for the industry. Revenues and attendance are up 14% through the same period last year, says Hollywood.com.