Frankenstein's monster has no problem conquering demons and gargoyles in his latest theatrical incarnation. But tackling the box office is an entirely different beast.
That's not to say there weren't high hopes driving the debut of I, Frankenstein this weekend; Lakeshore Entertainment financed the bulk of its $65 million production budget, and consumers have endured a massive marketing push from distributor Lions Gate (NYSE: LGF ) over the past several weeks. But the action-horror film still only mustered a paltry $2.82 million in gross ticket sales Friday night.
As a result, if I, Frankenstein achieves a similar Friday-weekend ratio as Lakeshore's most recent Underworld film two Januaries ago, it could have trouble grossing $9 million when all is said and done this weekend. That's well below already-low initial expectations for a $10 million to $12 million weekend debut.
But it's also not as though anyone expected I, Frankenstein to win. After all, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA ) Universal's Ride Along set a new January debut record by pulling in $41.5 million last weekend. What's more, Comcast just decided to increase the theater count for Lone Survivor from 2,989 to 3,160, after the heartwrenching war film gathered an impressive $22.1 million in its third weekend.
Sure enough, Ride Along managed to gross another $6.3 million yesterday, putting it on pace for a solid second-weekend gross between $18 million and $19 million. All told, that would bring Ride Along's domestic total to $73 million, or nearly triple Comcast's modest $25 million budget.
Meanwhile, Lone Survivor hauled in another $3.6 million, which means it could possibly exceed the $12 million mark if it enjoys another typical strong late-weekend push. Come Monday, Lone Survivor will have likely exceeded the $90 million mark from stateside sales alone, more than doubling its $40 million budget.
Next, Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA ) Paramount's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit nipped at I, Frankenstein's heels yesterday, earning a little over $2.6 million and putting itself on pace for a second weekend total around $7.6 million. Keep in mind, however, Viacom spent a whopping $60 million producing the Tom Clancy-based movie, which has only grossed around $24 million in the U.S. so far. Lucky for them, the character apparently still boasts some appeal with overseas movie-goers, who have accounted for another $22.2 million in ticket sales to date.
Finally, let's not forget Open Road Films' first animated movie The Nut Job, which grabbed another $2.3 million on its second Friday and pushed its domestic total over $30 million. And though it's technically trailing both Shadow Recruit and I, Frankenstein for now, keep in mind The Nut Job largely enjoys a captive family audience as the most recent animated film to hit theaters since Disney's Frozen back in November. As a result, I wouldn't be surprised if The Nut Job approaches the $10 million mark this weekend.
I'll be sure to touch base once the final numbers roll in. But given the threat of losing to three holdovers in its debut, at this point I, Frankenstein looks absolutely dead in the water.
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