Box Office: UNSTOPPABLE wasn't, no MORNING GLORY for Ford, SKYLINE gets backlash

Unstoppable will likely be the final Tony Scott/Denzel Washington train-based thriller commissioned by a major Hollywood studio. For the second time in two years, the once formidable Scott/Washington partnership has underperformed - Unstoppable earning just $23 million for the weekend from a large $100 million budget which it'll never reach. The Taking of Pelham 123 opened with the exact same numbers from the same budget and departed on around the $63 million mark, needing worldwide grosses to bail it out last summer. But with Chris Pine still an unknown quantity as a film star, Unstoppable doesn't have that added global box office star in John Travolta in it's carriage to keep the interest levels high over the coming weeks. Also there's the fact Fox aggressively marketed this thing EVERYWHERE and spent a fair few extra dollars on t.v. ads during NFL football games across four networks (NBC, CBS, ESPN and Fox). It's another sour morning for Fox head Tom Rothman who had similar failures this summer with The A-Team and Knight & Day. In terms of it's veteran director, Scott's decline started long before his current fascination with trains. You have to go back six years and two further disappointments before one of his movies turned a profit domestically, albeit just - the 2004 hit Man on Fire that earned $77 million domestic from a $70 million budget. His next movie will be Nemesis, a $100 million+ actioner which has the usual Tony Scott get-up (cop vs. terrorist) but the gimmick is the bad guy wears a silly costume. It's been a particularly strong year for animated family fare at the box office and I think the end result is going to be even more toon-movies greenlit for the coming seasons. The superhero themed Megamind has held onto it's top spot for it's second weekend, dropping just 30% in it's second week adding another $31 million to it's $89 domestic total. It will have tough competition next week from Harry Potter but I think Megamind will enjoy more staying power than you think and it can reach it's $130 million budget, before hitting heavy heights worldwide. Due Date hasn't proven to be the cultural success The Hangover was (shame, as I think it's the stronger movie) but it will make it's money back early this week and will turn something of a profit for Warner Bros. Todd Phillips' film drops 51% to take a healthy $16 million weekend resulting in a $59.5 million cume. Maybe it's the film's mean streak and more adult nature than The Hangover for why it hasn't hit the masses? Universal's low-rent but powerfully marketed Skyline hasn't proven to be the second coming. $12 million for the weekend and hitting fourth place is extremely modest and although it's made back it's budget, it hasn't proven to be historically significant. We weren't invited to review it but there's been a loud backlash against the film for it's lack of story (we told you that from the trailer) which most attribute to the fact the directors Brothers Strause stole the premise from the much stronger looking Battle: Los Angeles at Sony - where they were working on the visual effects. However there's still something to be said for Skyline beating out a Harrison Ford vehicle. Proving he's only really significant in an Indiana Jones costume - in Ford's highest profile movie since the last film in that franchise, the breakfast news desk comedy Morning Glory has flopped at Paramount. $9 million opening weekend is one fourth of what it needs to hit it's budget (i.e. large pay deals for Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams) and I don't think the studio were expecting this as they gave the film a mighty marketing push. Was it the breakfast show setting that turned people off? Overall, box office was down 11% from this time last year when 2012 hit. source - box office mojo
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.