As iconic action hero John McClane of the Die Hard franchise would say -- yippe-ki-yay.
After a touch-and-go start, Bruce Willis starrer A Good Day to Die Hard has pulled ahead of rivals Safe Haven and holdover Identity Thief to narrowly win Presidents Day weekend with a three-day gross of $25 million. The 20th Century Fox pic is now projected to earn $30 million for the full holiday weekend, pushing its five-day debut to $38.3 million (both Die Hard and Safe Haven opened on Valentine's Day).
Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman's R-rated comedy Identity Thief has plenty of reason to laugh in its second weekend. Declining a narrow 33 percent, the Universal pic came in No. 2 for the weekend with $23.4 million. Its projected Friday-Monday gross is $27.7 million for a domestic haul of $75 million through Monday.
Relativity Media's Nicholas Sparks film adaptation Safe Haven remains a big winner as well, even at No. 3. Fueled by younger females, the romantic drama grossed $21.4 million for the three day weekend, and should earn $25 million for the four days.
Pairing Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, Safe Haven wasn't expected to open much past $25 million; now, it should finish Monday with $34 million in the bank. Safe Haven narrowly won Valentine's Day and tied with Die Hard on Friday.
Die Hard had been widely expected to amass a five day gross in the $40 million to $45 million range. Dismal reviews likely are hurting the R-rated film since the franchise's fan base is older and more influenced by a critic's opinion. Those who are turning out gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.
Live Free or Die Hard, the previous installment in the series and rated PG-13, posted a five-day debut of $48.4 million when opening on the eve of the Fourth of July holiday in 2007.
In A Good Day to Die Hard, the iconic action hero John McClane travels to Moscow to rescue his son (Jai Courtney), a CIA operative who's in some nasty trouble.
Fueled by younger female moviegoers, Relativity's Safe Haven received even worse notices than Die Hard but is more review-proof. The romantic drama also drew a B+ CinemaScore.
Safe Haven is directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Julianne Hough as a young woman who returns to her hometown only to be gripped by a dark secret from her past, even as she falls for a stranger (Josh Duhamel).
Animated 3D family entry Escape From Planet Earth, opening on Friday, is holding steady at No. 4, grossing a solid $16.1 million for the three day weekend. From the Weinstein Co., the pic should post a four day opening gross of $21 million.
Escape From Planet Earth is the first theatrical feature from Rainmaker Entertainment. Its voice cast is led by Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry and Sarah Jessica Parker. William Shatner plays the evil alien Shanker.
The holiday's fourth new wide release, Beautiful Creatures has fared poorly. The movie, based on the popular YA book series, grossed $7.5 million for the three day weekend and is projected to post a five day opening of only $11.6 million, well less than expected.
From Alcon Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., Beautiful Creatures was bested by fellow YA film adaptation Warm Bodies, which took in $2.6 million for the three day weekend to come in No. 5 in its third frame and pushing its domestic cume to $50.2 million.
Directed and scripted by Richard LaGravenese, Beautiful Creatures is the latest film property to be based on a young-adult book series. Beautiful Creatures stars Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich and is being distributed by Warner Bros. via its deal with Alcon. Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis also star in the film based on the first book in the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
The movie revolves around Lena Duchannes (Englert), whose special powers have long kept her separated from others. Moving to a new town, she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich), but their budding relationship is threatened by an ancient battle between good and evil.
Below are estimates for the Feb. 15-17 weekend at the domestic box office. Full results for the four-day weekend will be posted tomorrow.
Title, Weeks in release/theater count, studio, three-day weekend total, cume (*denotes Oscar best picture nominee)
1. A Good Day to Die Hard, 1/3,553, Fox, $25 million, $33.2 million
2. Identity Thief, 1/3,141, Universal, $23.4 million, $70.7 million
3. Safe Haven, 1/3,223, Relativity, $21.4 million, $30.3 million
4. Escape From Planet Earth, 1/3,288, The Weinstein Co, $16.1 million
5. Warm Bodies, 3/2,897, Summit, $9 million, $50.2 million
6. Beautiful Creatures, 1/2,950, Warner Bros., $7.5 million, $10 million
7. Side Effects, 2/2,605, Open Road, $6.2 million, $19 million
8. *Silver Linings Playbook, 14/2,202, The Weinstein Co., $6.1 million, $98.5 million
9. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, 4/2,103, Paramount/MGM, $3.5 million, $49.8 million
10. *Zero Dark Thirty, 9/1,522, Sony/Annapurna, $3.1 million, $88 million