$13.3 million not bad for “30 Minutes or Less”

August 16th, 2011 at 8:18 am by under Entertainment

Why 5th place in its opening weekend isn’t such a bad thing

"30 Minutes or Less" poster courtesy Sony

 A first look at the weekend box office’s final numbers may have some wondering if the West Michigan made “30 Minutes or Less” was a box office bust.   

Officially “30 Minutes or Less” made $13,330,118, good enough for 5th place.

The movie was predicted to make between $15 million and $17 million in its debut weekend and finish 4th… while its below those predictions, the movie did make nearly half its reported $28 million dollar budget back in the first weekend.  If it can hold at least 50% of its audience, despite mostly negative reviews from national critics, we’re looking at about $6.6 million in its second week for a total of nearly $20 million in two weekends.  The movie spent $20 million while filming in West Michigan.

Timing can be everything – “30 Minutes” was not helped by a big box office weekend - overall, the weekend was down 9.5% from the weekend before and without a large G, PG, or PG-13 opening, it was the 3rd lowest grossing weekend of this summer.  The 2nd lowest was June 10-12 when “Super 8″ opened at #1 and the lowest box office weekend of the summer was May 13–15 when “Thor” was #1 in its 2nd weekend of release. 

Aziz Ansari and Jesse Eisenberg in "30 Minutes or Less" filmed in Grand Rapids

 Ron VanTimmeran of Celebration! Cinema says “30 Minutes or Less” was number one at the 3 Grand Rapids theaters (North, Rivertown, South) and 4th overall in the Celebration! Cinema circuit (because it was 4th at all the other locations Muskegon, Portage, Mt. Pleasant, Benton Harbor, Lansing).  Here’s how the rankings looked at North, Rivertown, and South: #1 “30 Minutes”, #2 “The Help”, #3 “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”.   And how the movies stacked up at Muskegon, Portage, Mt. Pleasant, Benton Harbor, Lansing: #1 “The Help”, #2 “Final Destination 5″, #3 “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, #4 “30 Minutes”.

Celebration! North was the 20th highest grossing theater in the U.S. for “30 Minutes or Less” (we’re often in the top 100, but rarely this high) (also, the per screen average was 6x larger than the national average).  Celebration! Rivertown was the 41st highest grossing for “30 Minutes”.

VanTimmeran hopes that “30 Minutes or Less” will hold over 4-6 weeks in the 3 Grand Rapids area theaters (North, Rivertown, South), while nationally (and outside GR) it will probably only last 2-4 weeks.

The trouble with R rated comedies

Consider this: most R-rated comedies, except the “Hangover” movies (that made $44 and $85 million), are almost always limited in earnings in their first weekend at the box office because the audience is limited with the younger viewers (under 15) and older viewers (60+) shying away from the R-rated movies.

Danny McBride’s last movie “Your Highness” was also rated R, the action comedy made $9.36 million in its opening weekend earlier this year (4/8/11).   The R-rated action comedy “Cop Out” featured A-list actor Bruce Willis – it only managed $18.21 million in its opening weekend last year (2/26/10).  

In a weekend dates similiar to “30 Minutes”, the R-rated action comedy “Pineapple Express” pulled in $23,245,025 million in its opening weekend (8/6/08) and the R-rated comedy “Tropic Thunder” made $25.81 million in its opening weekend (8/13/08).  However both movies had bigger budgets and came out while “The Dark Knight” was in its 4th and 5th weeks of bringing in tons of viewers.

There are some easily accepted exceptions in addition to the “Hangover” movies, most feature biggger budgets and/or bigger name actors:

The R-rated comedy “Horrible Bosses” featured a cast that included A-list actors to help it make $28.30 million on opening weekend (7/8/11)… “Due Date” (R-rated comedy) featured the box office darling Robert Downey, Jr. and very popular Zach Galifinakis to push its opening weekend earnings to $32.68 million (11/5/10 )…  and the good reviews of “Bridesmaids” brought in $26.24 million for the R-rated comedy in its opening weekend (5/13/11).

More comparisons

Lead actor Jesse Eisenberg’s last (non-animated) movie, “The Social Network” was 1st in its opening weekend
with $22.44 million (10/1/10) and went on to win 3 oscars and was nominated for 9 others, but it was rated PG-13.

Director Ruben Fleischer’s first movie “Zombieland” did much better in its opening weekend, making about $11 million more than “30 Minutes or Less”.  The R-rated Horror Comedy made $24.73 in its opening weekend (10/2/09) and went on to make $75.59 million.

Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari in "30 Minutes or Less" photo courtesy Sony

 Looking forward

We’ll have to wait and see exactly how “30 Minutes or Less” fares in its second week, when traditionally, even good movies lose about 40% from the first week.  The biggest opening (and biggest earner) so far this year,
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ opened to $169.18 million then dropped 72.0% in its 2nd week to $47.42.

“30 Minutes or Less” won’t be considered a disappointment because the movie will make more money in DVD/BluRay sales in December and will start making money overseas when it begins its international release September 16th in Europe (Estonia 9/16, France 9/21, Ireland 9/30, Norway 9/30, Turkey 9/30, Hungary 10/13, Sweden 10/14, UK 10/16, Italy 10/21, Finland 10/28, Belgium 11/9, Germany 11/10, Netherlands 11/24).   Then it opens in Asia (India  9/30, Taiwan 10/8, Singapore 10/13, Hong Kong 10/20, Vietnam 10/21, Korea  10/27, and Thailand 10/27).  The movie will also open in the Middle East and Africa (Israel  9/22, Jordan  10/19, Egypt  10/19, United Arab Emirates 10/20, Kenya  10/28, and South Africa 10/28).

Box office numbers courtesy: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/ .

Previous Posts on “30 Minutes or Less”:

The locations of “30 Minutes or Less (8-11-11): http://blogs.woodtv.com/2011/08/11/30-minutes-or-less-is-almost-all-grand-rapids/

Behind the scenes segment on EightWest (8-5-11): Behind the scenes of  “30 Minutes or Less”

New trailer includes chase scene down Division Avenue (6/23/11): http://blogs.woodtv.com/2011/06/23/chase-through-grand-rapids-in-new-30-minutes-or-less-trailer/

Looking for a bank location (6/10/10): http://blogs.woodtv.com/2010/06/10/30-minutes-needs-a-bank/

“30 Minutes” coming to GR (5/25/10): http://blogs.woodtv.com/2010/05/25/gr-getting-stiller-produced-comedy-30-minutes-or-less/

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