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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 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.)
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'RED 2' trailer: Yes, Helen Mirren kicking ass still looks awesome -- VIDEO

A glibly violent lark about retired government secret agents — played by, among others, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren — who find themselves thrust back on the job, the first RED had a great deal of fun staging action sequences with “older” actors at the center of them. Which is to say, they gave Helen Mirren a giant machine gun, and it was kinda amazing.

The sequel has a new director (GalaxyQuest‘s Dean Parisot), the same screenwriters (Jon and Erich Hoeber, based loosely on the graphic novel by Warren Ellis), and, as the new trailer makes clear, the same basic plot: Bruce Willis is retired (this time with his younger, thrill-seeking girlfriend played by Mary-Louise Parker), and finds himself the target of another seeming conspiracy to kill him. This time, it appears to involve Catherine Zeta-Jones (as an old flame) and Anthony Hopkins (as, well, the trailer barely features him, but we know he’s a missing Cold War scientist). And, yet again, Helen Mirren looks awesome kicking ass.

Check it out below:  READ FULL STORY

'A Good Day to Die Hard' to be rated R so Bruce Willis can yell pithy profanities at Russians

a-good-day-to-die-hard

Despite featuring explicit scenes of hardcore parkour, Live Free or Die Hard was still the first film in its franchise to receive a PG-13 rating. That always seemed a bit wrong—after all, “Yippee-ki-yay, m—–f—er!” isn’t exactly the catchphrase of Woody from Toy Story—and this sanitization didn’t really help the fourth entry. Luckily, it seems that the Moscow-set A Good Day to Die Hard will be returning to the series’ less teen-baiting roots of profanity, villainous Europeans, gunfire, explosions, and Bruce Willis yelling profanity at villainous Europeans while shooting and exploding them.

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'Moonrise Kingdom' director Wes Anderson would care about awards if ...

Wes Anderson doesn’t win a lot of awards. In his seven-film career, he’s gotten just two Oscar nominations, one for screenwriting on The Royal Tenenbaums and one for Best Animated Feature for Fantastic Mr. Fox.

His latest, Moonrise Kingdom, was somewhat of an awards wild card. Though it enjoyed critical praise and a healthy run in theaters ($45.5M domestic gross on an estimated budget of $16M), it premiered at Cannes in May. Regardless of Anderson’s history with awards, an early in the year premiere can make the possibility of awards recognition an uphill battle. You’re not only trying to convince people that it is an awards worthy film, you also have to remind them that it exists.

But there is hope for Moonrise, yet. Though it was overlooked for any SAG or Director’s Guild nominations, Moonrise won the Gotham Award for Best Film, and was nominated for five Film Independent Spirit Awards including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson), Best Cinematography (Robert Yeoman) and Best Supporting Actor (Bruce Willis). The film also snagged a Golden Globes nomination for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. The big question is whether or not Anderson will get any Oscar nods this Thursday, perhaps his first for directing a non-animated feature.

Though he’s currently shooting his eighth feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel with Bill Murray, Jude Law, Saoirse Ronan, and Owen Wilson, Anderson took a few minutes to speak with EW about awards, his favorite unsung heroes of Moonrise Kingdom, and casting Bruce Willis in an unlikely role.

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'A Good Day to Die Hard' trailer brings back some self-awareness amid the explosions -- VIDEO

The latest trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth entry in the soon-to-be 25-year-old franchise, brings in a little more of the series’ trademark irony. In it, John McClane exchanges plenty of bullet fire, as well as some barbs with his son, Jack—last seen sitting on the kitchen floor in his jammies in the first Die Hard, and currently played by Jai Courtney, fighting some nasty Russian heavies alongside dear ol’ dad. It’s also made clear that McClane’s phrase “007 of Plainfield, N.J.” is in reference to his kid and not himself. But as someone who grew up in North Plainfield, I can attest that it’s still meant to be deeply sarcastic.

The original 1988 film was somewhat of a corrective to the he-man kill-count action movies of its decade, most of which were also produced by Joel Silver, and McClane was always more of the right guy in the wrong situation than a hulking mass of biceps and machine guns. Of course, once you’re five movies deep in a series with an exponentially increasing scope—”The McClanes are going to Moscow!“— it helps to have a wink or two. Hence lines in the trailer like “I guess you’ve done this before” and “Do you go looking for trouble or does it always find you?” It’s nice to see that even if the mission statement’s gotten a little fuzzy, the tone’s still there. Plus, like the other trailers, this one is set to “Ode to Joy,” the franchise’s unofficial anthem. (Although, personally, I’ve always thought this tune would make a more appropriate theme song.) Check out the new trailer below.
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'A Good Day to Die Hard' poster: Meet the McClanes -- EXCLUSIVE

Fresh off that great poster with the tagline that hopefully earned somebody from the marketing department a well-deserved promotion, the new poster for February’s A Good Day to Die Hard opts for a tagline-free look at the McClane boys — papa John and son Jack — holding identical really big guns and staring off-camera. Maybe they’re staring at a helicopter they’re going to shoot at. Maybe, given the movie’s Moscow setting, they are staring at President Vladimir Putin, and Putin is saying something like “Do you really sink you heff a chawnce against us, cowboys?” (Putin has a German accent, for some reason.) Anyhow, they’re definitely looking at something, and it’s probably about to explode. Take a look below, and click on the image for a bigger look at the carnage. READ FULL STORY

'A Good Day to Die Hard' featurette: Jai Courtney on playing Bruce Willis' son -- VIDEO

Come out to Moscow, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…

The McClanes just can’t stay out of trouble, can they? In the fifth installment of the Die Hard series, A Good Day to Die Hard, our hero John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Russia to help his estranged son John “Jack” McClane (Jai Courtney) with…something CIA related. But there are explosions and bad guys with Russian accents, and witty one-liners, so it doesn’t seem to stray from the formula.

After the jump, check out the short clip featuring some behind the scenes footage from A Good Day to Die Hard and a few words from Australian actor Jai Courtney.

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New 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' trailer: Everything you'd seen before, but kinda different! -- VIDEO

The newest trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation isn’t all that much different from the previous trailers. We still get a brief glimpse of Channing Tatum before he seems to be blown to smithereens. We still witness a winky Bruce Wills as the original G.I. Joe cracking wise about his cholesterol. We still see the city of London go kablooey. And we still have the the pleasure of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showcasing his terrifying-yet-transfixing biceps. But since the movie was abruptly bumped from its summer 2012 release to March 29, 2013 for a conversion to 3-D, a reshuffled refresher of why you were jazzed to see the film in the first place is in order. Check it out below:  READ FULL STORY

'Fire With Fire': Josh Duhamel on costar Vincent D'Onofrio -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Josh Duhamel plays a firefighter who witnesses a murder in the upcoming thriller Fire With Fire, co-starring Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent D’Onofrio, and he only has words of praise for D’Onofrio, who plays a plump-faced villainous killer, in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video, below. “He’s not afraid to go to places that are horrible,” gushes Duhamel about D’Onofrio.
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