Here’s a tip: Never bring a Smurf sequel to a gun fight.
The Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg action pic 2 Guns proved to be a stronger contender this weekend than originally expected and walked away with an estimated $10 million on its first Friday in 3,025 theaters. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur (The Deep), the $61 million movie finds a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer on the run together after a failed attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. At least at first, neither knows that the other is also undercover. Kormákur’s Contraband, which also starred Wahlberg, opened in January of 2012 at $24.3 million. While Wahlberg may be an erratic performer at the box office, Washington is more reliable — the actor’s last six movies all opened above $20 million. As recently as Thursday, Universal predicted a $20 million opening, which seems modest now, as 2 Guns will likely easily win the weekend with at least $30 million.
The Wolverine snagged second place Friday, with $6.4 million, bringing its domestic total to $79.7 million. Playing in 3,924 locations, with a $1,637 location average, the $120 million Fox property dropped about 69 percent from its first Friday — about on par, percentage-wise, with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This is, so far, one of the steepest second weekend drops of 2013 for superhero movies. We’ll check back in on this number tomorrow, but just for comparison, Man of Steel dropped an estimated 64.6 percent in its second weekend, and Iron Man 3 fell off about 58.4 percent. Both of those movies, of course, earned at least double what Wolverine did its first weekend. Both 2009′s Wolverine and X-Men: First Class brought in second week earnings in the mid-$20 million range, whereas this one will be hard-pressed to even hit $20 by the time the final numbers roll in on Monday.
The Smurfs 2 took third place on its first Friday with an estimated $5.5 million. The CG and live-action hybrid pic opened wide on Wednesday in 3,866 locations and so far has a domestic total of about $15.1 million. Over the three-day weekend, it looks as though the would-be sure-thing will walk away with a dismal $16 million. The first opened at $35.6 million. But, with an estimated production budget of about $105 million, the star-studded sequel still won’t be considered a flop. The first movie made about $421.1 million in foreign box office, and the idea is that the sequel will hold its own overseas, as well, despite weak domestic earnings. It opens in 42 territories this weekend.
In fourth place, The Conjuring brought in about $4.3 million. The tiny, $20 million horror film will cross the $100 million mark this weekend. For all the hype surrounding The Purge — which tapered off very quickly earlier this year — James Wan’s possession flick based on the tales of the Warrens is the real star of 2013 and only further supports the enduring potential behind movies that are inexpensive and thrilling.
Finally, Despicable Me 2 came in to take the fifth place spot Friday with $3.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $319.4 million, as if to taunt the other animated sequel on the list this weekend.
The Spectacular Now, director James Ponsoldt’s coming-of-age drama starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, opened this weekend as well in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. At the time of writing, no estimates had been reported, but we’ll be sure to update as they come in.
Check back in tomorrow for more box office.