Box Office Report: 'White House Down' Flops; 'The Heat' Soars With $40 Million Opening
Box Office Report: 'The Heat' Bringing Down the 'White House' in Early Friday Returns
Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock's The Heat ended up having all the fire power at the North American box office as their new R-rated comedy crushed Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx's big-budget tentpole White House Down.
From 20th Century Fox, The Heat opened to a rousing $40 million, marking another major win for McCarthy and her Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. The pic marks McCarthy and Feig's best opening to date -- as well as Bullock's.
Conversely, director Roland Emmerich's White House Down debuted to a dismal $25.7 million. The action pic cost a pricey $150 million to produce and marks the second Sony summer tentpole to flop after Will Smith's After Earth.
Disney and Pixar's Monsters University stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend, declining a slim 44 percent to $46.2 million and pushing its domestic total to $171 million. The toon has jumped the $300 million mark after earning another $44.2 million overseas from 37 territories for an international total of $129.3 million.
Monsters University wasn't the only 3D animated film making headlines. Overseas, Universal's Despicable Me 2 broke records as it opened in six countries, scoring $41.5 million for the weekend for an early international total of $50 million from seven territories (it opened in Australia last weekend.) The sequel opens Tuesday in North America, where it is expected to be just as much of a monster.
Despicable 2 opened No. 1 in the U.K., France, French Switzerland, Netherlands and Belgium, and was second only to Man of Steel in Sweden and Australia. In the U.K. and Ireland (considered one market), the toon opened to $15.7 million -- the top opening ever for a Universal film, as well as being the top opening of 2013. Including last week's previews, the U.K. total is an outstanding $23.3 million.
In North America, The Heat came in No. 2, followed by Paramount holdover World War Z, which held well, falling 48 percent to roughly $30 million. The Brad Pitt zombie tentpole has now earned $124 million domestically.
Heading into the weekend, The Heat and White House Down were each tracking to bow in the $30 million range. And on Friday night, each film earned an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers.
The Heat, costing Fox a modest $43 million to produce, provided a needed respite for younger and older women weary of action fare stars (females made up 67 percent of the audience). In the film, Bullock stars as a strict FBI agent who is forced to team up with McCarthy's rough-around-the-edges Boston street cop.
To date, McCarthy's top opening at the domestic box office is Identity Thief, which debuted earlier this year to $34.6 million. Bridesmaids grossed $26.2 million in its domestic debut in May 2011. The film, whose ensemble cast also included Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, became a female-friendly comedy hit and has gone on to gross $288.4 million to date worldwide.
White House Down will turn into a financial headache for Sony unless it does exceedingly well overseas. The A- CinemaScore is a good sign in terms of strong word-of-mouth, but simply not enough moviegoers turned out. In the film, the president of the United States (Foxx) and a wannabe Secret Service agent (Tatum) team up after the White House is invaded by terrorists and the U.S. Capitol destroyed.