Bullock packing 'Heat' but 'Monsters' rule box office

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy were packing ‘The Heat’ at the box office, but ‘Monsters University’ still sits at the head of the class.

Weekend box office estimates show ‘Monsters University’ winning the battle for the box office for the second straight week. The $46 million dollar take for the Pixar film placed it at just over $171 million in just two weeks of release.

The Paul Feig comedy ‘The Heat’ had a strong opening weekend with $40 million in ticket sales. While the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy vehicle didn’t win the overall top spot, the film did boast a higher per screen average which should make the execs at 20th Century Fox very pleased.

‘The Heat’ debuted on roughly 800 less screens than ‘Monsters U’ is showing, meaning that ‘The Heat’ really packed in audiences. The film earned about $1000 dollars more, on average, per showing than did Pixar’s ‘Monster’ sequel.

The big disappointment would have to be ‘White House Down’ this weekend. Likely attributed to the very successful and similarly-themed ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ which began it’s theatrical run just three months ago, ‘WHD’ had a much larger budget and higher expectations than ‘Olympus.’

What may seem as an ill-conceived release by Sony and Columbia Pictures, releasing its “POTUS-in-jeopardy” movie so soon after the Gerard Butler film, is not unprecedented.

In 1998, Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks teamed up on ‘Deep Impact’ which focused on the human drama that might unfold due to the threat of a massive comet striking the Earth. The film debuted in May of 1998, grossing more than $140 million domestically and nearly $350 million overall.

In July of that same year, ‘Armageddon’ hit theaters courtesy of Buena Vista and went on to gross over $500 million worldwide.

Both films dealt with a similar theme, but were decidedly different in their approach. Each of the two disaster films found its audience. There was a more dramatic and realistic ‘Deep Impact’ and then the asteroid-killing-roughneck-cowboys approach of ‘Armageddon.’ Both were entertaining films but appealed to different audience demographics.

The same can be said for 2011 when ‘Melancholia’ and ‘Another Earth’ were both theatrical releases dealing with the dramatic implications of a rogue planet entering our solar system. Similarly themed, yet decidedly different movies.

I couldn’t discern from the ads for ‘White House Down’ that it was any different at all from ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ and apparently neither could audiences this past box office weekend ending June 29.

‘WHD’ even failed to unseat ‘World War Z’ in its second week of release, leaving the Jamie Foxx-starring action film in fourth place. With an estimated budget of $150,000,000 Sony Pictures will be crossing their fingers for good word of mouth at home and international bankability of Jamie Foxx.

With ‘White House Down’ and ‘After Earth’ underperforming domestically, Sony and Columbia have had a disappointing summer relative to their “blockbuster releases.”

Sony Pictures and Columbia’s fortunes will likely change with the release of the strongly-anticipated genre film ‘Elysium’ coming to theaters in August.


The Top Five: Box Office Week/Cumulative

  1. ‘Monsters University’ $46,180,000 / $171,006,000 after two weeks
  2. ‘The Heat’ $40,000,000 / first week of release
  3. ‘World War Z’ $29,800,000 / $123,722,000 after two weeks
  4. ‘White House Down’ $25,700,000 / first week of release
  5. ‘Man of Steel’ $20,820,000 / $248,660,000 after three weeks

(Source: Box Office Mojo)


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