Warm Bodies $20 Million Opening Heats Up Otherwise Cold Superbowl Box Office

February 03, 2013

Warm Bodies $20 Million Opening Heats Up Otherwise Cold Superbowl Box OfficeThe big Sunday Football showdown between The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, combined with a tired selection of films, brought this weekend's North American box office down a steep 26% from last year's totals. The one bright spot on the charts, Summit's well-received zombie comedy Warm Bodies, had no issues taking over the number one position in its debut from last week's winner, Paramount's 3D flick Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. The other wide release of the week,the delayed Warner action flick Bullet to the Head, was a non-starter in sixth place.

Tapping into the same teen demographic that helped fuel last year's Chronicle to a number one opening during Superbowl weekend, Summit launched its teen zombie romantic comedy Warm Bodies in 3,009 theaters to earn a solid $20 million in its first three days. Critics liked the Jonathan Levine (50/50) directed feature (read our Warm Bodies review), which was bestowed with a solid 77% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ticket buyers also voiced strong feedback on the film via an "A" CinemaScore rating. Both of these factors could help the movie hold up better than usual for a horror genre pic over the next few weeks. The comedy, a living dead variation on Romeo and Juliet, stars Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich, Rob Corddry and Teresa Palmer.

After a so-so number one debut last weekend, Paramount's action/comedy Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters dropped 53% in its second round of release to earn an estimated $9.2 million on 3,375 screens. After ten days, the Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton flick has earned an okay $34.4 million en route to a final domestic haul somewhere near the $55 million mark. The mediocre stateside gross will be compensated for thanks to the film's solid run in the overseas market, a trend that is emerging in recent years. In foreign markets, the movie has earned $62 million thus far.

Displaying the best hold in the top ten this weekend was the Weinstein Company's hit comedy/drama Silver Linings Playbook. The movie dropped a mere 14% from last weekend's numbers, a sign that ticket buyers are telling other people to check the movie out. What makes the 14% drop even more impressive is that it held its ground while every other film suffered a big drop on Sunday due to the Big Game. Now on 2,809 screens, the Jennifer Lawrence film earned an estimated $8.1 million to bring its grand domestic total to $80.3 million. The film should zip by the $100 million mark by the time the Oscars arrive at the end of the month. How much more it makes after that is anyone's guess. A win or two at the Oscars should help prolong its box office legs well into March when it is expected to debut on Blu-ray and DVD.

Fourth place went to the Universal horror hit Mama,which dropped 48% in its third round to earn an estimated $6.7 million from 2,781 theaters to bring its total to an impressive $58.2 million. The $15 million horror film is making its way to a final haul of $75 million. Mama's lead actress Jessica Chastain's other movie in the top five, the Oscar contender Zero Dark Thirty, took over fifth place while losing 45% of its audience from last weekend. Hanging tough on 2,871 screens in its seventh week of release, the Kathryn Bigelow drama has earned $77.7 million to date and will need a win or two at the Oscars to hit the $100 million mark.

This weekend's other wide release, the delayed Sylvester Stallone action flick Bullet to the Head, finally arrived in theaters but one has to wonder why Warner Brothers even bothered. The Walter Hill-directed shoot 'em up was dumped into 2,404 theaters this weekend and mustered up a bloodless $4.5 million in its first three days. Critics gave it a weak 46% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This is the second movie since the beginning of the year in which a former 80s action icon released a movie that practically no one turned out to see (the first was Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand). Time will tell if Bruce Willis can break the bad luck streak of the aging action hero when A Good Day to Die Hard debuts in two weeks. At least that film has a strong franchise helping to power it.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

7. Parker (Film District) $3.2 million (-54% from last weekend) $12.4 million to date.

8. Django Unchained (Weinstein Company) $3 million (-39%) $151 million

9. Les Miserables (Universal Pictures) $2.4 million (-42%) $141.5 million

10. Lincoln (Dreamworks/Fox) $2.4 million (-37%) $170.7 million

Next weekend the comedy Identity Thief, the Steven Soderbergh feature Side Effects and the 3D reissue of Top Gun arrive to take on Warm Bodies for the number one spot.

- Shawn Fitzgerald