Brad Pitt’s ‘Killing Them Softly’ Dies With ‘F’ CinemaScore As Twilight Saga, James Bond, And ‘Lincoln’ Dominate Box Office Yet Again
Oscar-Buzzed ‘12 Years A Slave’ In Top Ten, ‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa’ Opens #1 For $32M, All-Star ‘The Counselor’ Bombs With $8M
SUNDAY 7:30 AM, 3RD UPDATE: No change in the three top movies’ order at the domestic box office: Summit Entertainment’s Twilight Saga finale Breaking Dawn Part 2 is #1 for the third weekend in a row, the Eon Productions/MGM/Sony Pictures’ James Bond actioner Skyfall is a close #2, and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar buzzed Lincoln from DreamWorks/Fox/Disney is #3. It was a lean Friday but a fat Saturday. Ben Affleck’s Academy Awards-touted Argo crossed the $100M benchmark this weekend. While during the week, Wall Street called DreamWorks Animation’s Rise Of The Guardians “one of the most disappointing releases in the company’s history” – enough to hurt the public company’s share price. Analysts who expected to see $55M-$58M for the toon over Thanksgiving – not $32.6M - join Hollywood in still struggling to understand why audiences rejected the film. Toon is probably all in at just $80M.
Traditionally the weekend after Thanksgiving gives new definition to the term ‘quiet’. I’m told it’s failed to produce a wide release hit for 20 years and counting. So there were low expectations for producer Brad Pitt‘s R-rated ruthless star turn in Killing Them Softly (2,424 theaters) from his Plan B production company and Oracle heiress Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures which financed it for $15M. But Friday night it received a miserable ‘F’ CinemaScore from audiences despite decent reviews and a stellar cast including Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, and James Gandolfini. Little wonder that distributor The Weinstein Company dumped the film this off-weekend – when no movie has opened north of $10 million since 2005′s Aeon Flux - after acquiring it post its Cannes premiere for a release commitment only in the U.S./Canada. “If we do double digit millions, we will be fine. And if it happens to get into the teens, we would be very happy,” an exec told me before it opened. So TWC must be mad as hell because the pic only opened to single digits. One film financing exec tells me about the TWC deal on this pic, “Killing Them Softly will be lucky to reach $15M box office when all is said and done. Using that figure and extrapolating out their Showtime pay TV deal (which is not that great), potential TV deal, VOD, and DVD, they are going to be unrecouped about $12M in P&A assuming they spent $27M to release. Not good.”