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Chappie tops slow weekend at the box office

2015-03-09 10:08

Los Angeles — Neither a hyper intelligent robot nor Vince Vaughn could save the North American box office this weekend, which is down 38.5% from the same weekend last year according to Sunday estimates from box office firm Rentrak.

While Neill Blomkamp's R-rated Chappie might have taken the No 1 spot in its 3 201 theatre debut, its modest $13.3m gross is hardly anything to celebrate.


It's a career low for Blomkamp, whose previous films Elysium and District 9 debuted at $29.8 and $37.4m, respectively.

Distributor Sony remains optimistic about its $49m film starring Hugh Jackman about a police robot (voiced by Sharlto Copley) who learns how to think and feel.

"It certainly opened in our realm of expectations for it for the weekend," said Rory Bruer, Sony's President of Worldwide Distribution. He noted that the 60% male and 57% under-30 demographic breakdown was good for the film.

Sony and its subsidiaries have released all three of Blomkamp's films.

"I certainly believe, like Neill's other movies, that it's going to have a really strong multiple and we're going to come out fine on the movie," Bruer said.

The R-rated Vince Vaughn comedy Unfinished Business fared even worse, opening at No 10 to a dismal $4.8m. The $35m film about a chaotic European business trip also stars Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson.

In its second weekend in theaters, Will Smith's Focus fell an estimated 46% to take second place with $10m, bringing its domestic total to $34.6m.

"These are not exactly world class numbers," said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak's senior media analyst.

"This is two weekends in a row where we've seen original R-rated movies just not resonate with audiences with Focus last weekend and Chappie this weekend," he said.

One bright spot was Fox Searchlight's retiree comedy The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which opened in third place with a strong $8.6m from 1 573 locations.

"It's one of the very rare instances of an indie sequel. You normally don't see that," said Dergarabedian. The PG-rated film, which reunites Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, will be expanding to about 1 800 screens next weekend.

The first film was somewhat of a sleeper hit in 2012, grossing $46.4m domestically on a budget of $10m.

Holdovers Kingsman: The Secret Service and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, rounded out the top five with $8.3m and $7m, respectively.

"This is the proverbial calm before the storm. We're still on track for a massive, record-breaking year. But there are going to be a lot of casualties along the way and we're seeing that right now," Dergarabedian said.

Read more on:    neil blomkamp  |  movies  |  box office

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