’80s action stars back on top in ‘Expendables 2’
LOS ANGELES, Aug 20 — The aging tough guys of “Expendables 2” strong-armed the box office competition with a chart-topping US$28.8 million (RM90 million) in US and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates.
Last week’s domestic winner, “The Bourne Legacy” starring Jeremy Renner, slipped to the No. 2 spot with US$17 million. In third place, newcomer 3D stop-motion movie “ParaNorman”, earned US$14 million.
The “Expendables” sequel, which unites “Rocky” actor Sylvester Stallone, “Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger and other 1980s stars, brings together a group of spies for an easy mission that turns dangerous when they seek revenge for a murder.
The film follows the surprise success in 2010 of the original “Expendables”, which opened with US$34.8 million domestically and ultimately grossed US$274 million worldwide.
In addition to 66-year-old Stallone and 65-year-old Schwarzenegger, the film stars Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, plus younger stars such as “Hunger Games” actor Liam Hemsworth.
Lions Gate had predicted a debut in the low US$30 million range, while other box-office watchers saw a possible US$40 million opening.
David Spitz, executive vice president and general sales manager at Lions Gate, said a large proportion of the audience were aged over 25, which gave strength to its longer-term prospects.
“It always bodes well for box-office playability when you have an older audience,” he said.
Lions Gate paid about US$30 million for rights to distribute the film in the United States, Canada and Britain.
In a bid for family audiences, “ParaNorman” landed in a surprising third place with the story of a boy named Norman who speaks to ghosts and ghouls and works to save his town from an impending zombie apocalypse. The movie was produced by Laika studio, the team behind the critically acclaimed 2009 fantasy animation film “Coraline”.
Adult comedy “The Campaign” took fourth spot, earning US$13.4 million with a US domestic total now of US$51.7 million.
New drama “Sparkle”, about three young sisters pursuing fame as singers in 1960s Motown, earned US$12 million and the weekend’s No. 5 spot. The movie stars “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks and features the final movie appearance by the late Whitney Houston. Sony produced the movie for about US$14 million.
“Dark Knight Rises”, the final movie in a Batman trilogy starring Christian Bale, took in US$11.1 million at North American (US and Canadian) cinemas over the weekend. The blockbuster has grossed over US$409.9 million in the US and Canada since its July 20 debut.
Another newcomer, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” from Walt Disney Co earned US$10.9 million opening at North American (US and Canadian) cinemas, hitting the No. 7 spot.
The movie tells the story of a couple who wishes for a baby and soon finds an unusual, mud-covered boy standing at their door. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton star. Disney spent about US$25 million to make the movie, and has made US$15.2 million since its opening on Wednesday. The studio had projected five-day sales of about US$15 million.
Focus Features, a unit of Comcast Corp’s Universal Studios, released “ParaNorman”. Sony Corp’s TriStar Pictures released “Sparkle”. — Reuters