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Box office report: 'Die Hard' holds off 'Safe Haven' with $25 million; 'Beautiful Creatures' has ugly debut

Bruce Willis’ return as John McClane, A Good Day to Die Hard, topped the box office over the Friday-to-Sunday period, but with a weaker-than-expected $25 million. Fox’s $92 million thriller, which also stars Jai Courtney (pictured, right), earned $8.2 million on Thursday, its first day of release, and after four days, it’s earned $33.2 million. That’s a substantially weaker start than 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, which started with $33.4 million in its opening three-day weekend.

Die Hard’s middling performance isn’t a total surprise. This has been a remarkably tough winter for male-driven action vehicles, many of which star members of The Expendables. Arnold Schwarznegger’s $45 million entry The Last Stand has earned just $12 million after five weekends. Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head, which reportedly cost $55 million, has only earned about $10 million after three. The Jason Statham thriller Parker cost about $35 million but has only grossed $17 million after nearly a month in theaters. The Mark Wahlberg/Russell Crowe shoot-em-up Broken City has languished with $19.5 million against a $35 million budget. (Meanwhile, 2013’s top four highest-grossing movies — Identity Thief, Mama, Warm Bodies, and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters — all feature women in leading roles.)

Obviously, A Good Day to Die Hard has already earned more than each of those aforementioned flops, though, and it shouldn’t be written off as a misfire. The film’s $7,036 per theater average from 3,553 theaters was strong, and with a “B+” CinemaScore grade, it may benefit from word-of-mouth in the weeks to come. Prognosticators certainly expected bigger business on opening weekend, and it remains to be seen whether it can match Live Free or Die Hard‘s $134.5 million finish, but Fox can rest easy thanks to Die Hard‘s strong international performance so far. The film earned a tremendous $61.5 million overseas this weekend, bringing its international haul to $80.1 million and its worldwide cume to $113.4 million. Those overseas results may keep John McClane Yippee-Ki-Yaying for years to come.

Last weekend’s champ, Identity Thief, dipped only 32 percent to $23.4 million in its second weekend. The Melissa McCarthy/Jason Bateman laugher has now earned $70.7 million against a slim $35 million budget, and, for Universal, it’s the latest in a hot-streak of sensibly budgeted hits that almost (almost) make up for the fact that the studio spent $209 million on Battleship, which earned only $65.4 million, last year. With the exception of The Man with the Iron Fists, every Universal film since the fall has been a profitable venture: Pitch Perfect ($65 million vs. $17 million budget), This is 40 ($67.4 million vs. $35 million budget), Les Miserables ($145.5 million vs. $61 million budget), Mama ($68.3 million vs. $15 million budget), and now Identity Thief. Next up on the studio’s plate? The surefire smash Fast & Furious 6.

Safe-Haven

Image Credit: James Bridges

Close behind in third place, Relativity’s $28 million Nicholas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven opened with $21.4 million. Including Valentine’s Day grosses, the goopy romance, which stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, has earned a solid $30.5 million. Relativity did a great job of marketing Safe Haven as the top choice for Valentine’s Day couples, and the built-in cachet of Nicholas Sparks continues to prove irresistible for many moviegoers. Among all eight Sparks films, Safe Haven‘s $21.4 million frame trails the opening weekends of just Dear John ($30.5 million) and The Lucky One ($22.5 million), which finished with $80 million and $60.5 million, respectively.

For star Hough, who’s made the transition from Dancing with the Stars pro to fledgling country singer (remember?) to Hollywood leading lady, Safe Haven represents her best-ever opening weekend following underwhelming debuts from Burlesque ($11.9 million), Footloose ($15.6 million), and Rock of Ages ($14.6 million). She may carve out an acting career, yet. Like Die Hard, Safe Haven missed with critics, but earned a “B+” CinemaScore grade from audiences, which were 71 percent female and 68 percent below the age of 25.

Weinstein’s animated effort Escape from Planet Earth benefited from the fact that no family films have hit theaters in almost two months and finished in fourth place with $16.1 million. Facing no family competition, Escape, which cost $40 million, fared better than Weinstein’s last attempt to get into the animation game, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, which bombed with just $10.1 million in April 2011. Despite poor reviews, Escape from Planet Earth wound up with a “B+” CinemaScore grade.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Summit’s Warm Bodies, which fell only 20 percent to $9 million, giving it a $50.2 million total. While the YA adaptation hasn’t become the next Twilight, positive word-of-mouth has helped Warm Bodies, which cost about $35 million, avoid the steep drops that usually plague films aimed at teens. It could finish with about $65 million.

Fellow YA tale Beautiful Creatures didn’t earn such a Warm reception on its opening weekend. The witch-y tale bombed with only $7.5 million — $10 million including Valentine’s Day grosses. Warner Bros. is distributing the film, which was financed for $60 million by Alcon Entertainment. Fortunately for the distributor, its other recent release, The Hobbit, is on pace to pass $300 million at the domestic box office on Monday. Audiences issued Beautiful Creatures a lukewarm “B” CinemaScore grade.

1. A Good Day to Die Hard – $25 million ($33.2 million total)
2. Safe Haven – $21.4 million ($30.5 million total)
3. Identity Thief – $23.4 million ($70.7 million total)
4. Escape from Planet Earth – $16.1 million ($16.1 million total)
5. Warm Bodies – $9 million ($50.2 million total)
6. Beautiful Creatures – $7.5 million ($10 million total)

For extra box office musing and up-to-the-minute updates:

Box office update: 'Die Hard' and 'Safe Haven' neck-and-neck on Friday with $7.2 million

Bruce Willis’ John McClane has destroyed German dictators, faceless cyber-terrorists, and, most recently, trigger-happy Russians. But the action icon has never had to face anyone like Julianne Hough in Safe Haven — a weepy woman with windswept hair falling in love in the Outer Banks Nicholas Sparks-style. She, in fact, may be the most difficult adversary he’s ever tried to handle.

Over the past two days at the box office, Safe Haven at $16 million has slightly outgrossed A Good Day to Die Hard’s $15.5 million. The $28 million Relativity romance topped the chart on Valentine’s Day with $8.8 million, while Fox’s fifth Die Hard, which was financed for $92 million, earned $8.2 million. On Friday, the two films swapped places, though they each earned about $7.2 million, putting them each on pace for $27 million four-day weekends and about $35 million after five days. For Safe Haven, that’s a great start. For Die Hard, though, that’s well below expectations. It’s been a difficult winter for male-driven action. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Die Hard' gunning for No. 1 over holiday weekend

It’s a double-holiday weekend at the box office, with Valentine’s Day on Thursday and President’s Day on Monday, and three films (A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, and Beautiful Creatures) are taking advantage of the five-day frame (Weinstein is also releasing Escape from Planet Earth on Friday). Here’s how the busy frame may play out over the Friday-to-Monday period:

1. A Good Day to Die Hard – $47 million

Five years after Live Free or Die Hard scored $134.5 million, Bruce Willis is back as John McClane in a fifth installment in the enduring action franchise — this time with random Cold War overtones! After a slew of weak performances from movies like Parker and The Last Stand (it’s been a tough winter for Expendables stars), A Good Day to Die Hard is poised to become the first outright action hit of the year. Fox is releasing the film, which was made on a $92 million budget, into 3,553 theaters, and between Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and Fox’s well-executed marketing campaign, it’s headed for very healthy grosses. Die Hard opened at 10 p.m. engagements across the country on Wednesday night and pulled in $850,000, more than the $725,000 that The Expendables 2, which debuted to $28.5 million, made in similar showings last year. The Bruce Willis vehicle will be a top choice among men and moviegoers avoiding lovey-dovey fare over the weekend, and it may earn about $47 million over the Friday-to-Monday period. (And perhaps another $8 million on Valentine’s Day.)
READ FULL STORY

'Beautiful Creatures' stars Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich on 'Twilight' comparisons and on-screen chemistry -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Whether or not you have a date this Valentine’s Day, you can live vicariously through the mysterious Lena (Alice Englert) and charming popular kid Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) of Beautiful Creatures, the latest supernatural teen romance based on a young-adult novel. The two leads visited the EW studio to talk about why their new movie, which is opening today, is not following in Twilight‘s footsteps. Keep watching until the end for some outtakes from their interview, which perfectly captures Englert and Ehrenreich’s easy, goofy chemistry from the film. READ FULL STORY

'Beautiful Creatures' cast selects their favorite witches, both wonderful and wicked

Beautiful Creatures hopes to introduce the world to a new kind of witch and warlock — or casters as they prefer to be called in the world of the Ravenwoods and Duchannes — when the movie adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s best-selling YA novel hits theaters Feb. 14. These characters join a long list of pop-culture conjurers including Disney’s many diviners and the spell-spinners of J.K. Rowling’s universe. So when the cast and crew gathered for the world premiere of Creatures last night at Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre, we wanted to find out which witch had charmed their way to favorite status and why.

While many famous folk were enchanted by Bewitched‘s Samantha Stevens, read on to see which other famous witches left them spellbound: READ FULL STORY

'Beautiful Creatures': Meet the cast, and Emma Thompson's accent -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

BEAUTIFUL-CREATURES

Yes, up-and-comers Alice Englert (pictured) and Alden Ehrenreich play the protagonists of Beautiful Creatures, a young adult southern gothic tale that’s like a cross between Twilight and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. (So the time is… I don’t know, around 9 p.m.?)

But the real star of the film may turn out to be Emma Thompson — who’s clearly  having a blast playing the campy “Bible-thumping bigot” Mrs. Lincoln.

Thompson’s over-the-top southern accent is the best part of this exclusive featurette, which introduces Beautiful Creatures‘s main players and teases the main beats of its plot. Then again, the accent has a bit of competition from Emmy Rossum’s deliciously wicked Ridley and the few glimpses we get of the movie’s spooky special effects. Watch it for yourself, but be forewarned: If you don’t want a fairly important revelation about Thompson’s character to be spoiled, you might not want to press “play.”

READ FULL STORY

New 'Beautiful Creatures' trailer: Witchy women

Twilight is the gift that keeps on giving — for fans of paranormal teen novels, at least. Those who flood theaters to see Breaking Dawn — Part 2 will be treated to new trailers for two upcoming films based on beloved supernatural YA series: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Beautiful Creatures. The latter follows 15-year-old Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a witch — sorry, “caster” — who is fated to become either good or evil on her 16th birthday. That destiny takes a back seat when Lena meets Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) — a dreamy normal kid determined to save his new love from her possibly dark future.

This new trailer reveals much more of the movie’s southern gothic plot, which was kept pretty opaque in the teaser released in September. It also introduces the rest of the film’s cast: an imposing stable of actors who look like they’re either taking this material fairly seriously (Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis) or having great fun with it (Emma Thompson, Emmy Rossum). Watch Lena and Ethan’s love story bloom as Thompson chews the scenery below:

READ FULL STORY

'Beautiful Creatures' trailer: The devil you know? -- VIDEO

The atmosphere of the new trailer for the highly anticipated adaptation of supernatural teen novel Beautiful Creatures is… well, moody. Over the ghastly, thumping ecstasy of Florence + The Machine’s “Seven Devils,” it tells the story of teenage outcast Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), who is feared, distrusted, and deemed evil by her Southern townsfolk. Except Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), who wants to get to know Lena for himself. But judging from the deaths and shattered glass the mysterious beauty leaves in her wake, will it be at his own peril? Judge for yourself below. READ FULL STORY

FIRST LOOK: 'Beautiful Creatures' brings the Southern (gothic) charm

Supernatural star-crossed romance, a small town full of secrets, and a dash of Southern gothic intrigue. That’s the recipe for Beautiful Creatures, the latest movie offering for the Twilight set. Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You) wrote and directed the South Carolina-set adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s young adult novel, the first in a trilogy of books. In development since 2009, Creatures recently started shooting in New Orleans. Now EW has your first look at a romantic (dare I say sparkling?) scene between Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), the mysterious girl of his dreams — literally. Check it out below. READ FULL STORY

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