“Spring Breakers” Amuses – Weekend Box Office

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No matter what you think of the film, the $30.5 million debut of Olympus Has Fallen this weekend is very good news for those who want their action films to be R-rated.
With Arnold, Sly, and Jason all flaming out and only the terrible A Good Day To Die Hard opening well, we needed an original R-rated action film to reestablish their viability. I may be forgetting something, but this this is among the top R-rated action openings for a non-sequel since the $50 million debut of Wanted back in June 2008 (possible exceptions: Inglorious Basterds which opened with $37 million in August 2009 and the sci-fi drama The Book of Eli which debuted with $32 million in early 2010).

The film is easily Film District’s biggest debut ever, with a solid A- from Cinemascore and a strong 3.0x weekend multiplier. The concept is a pretty obvious winner, so obvious that I’m amazed it hasn’t been done before (yet it’s only the first of two, with White House Down opening this summer). The obvious appeal of the narrative plus a game cast of recognizable players (Gerald Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, etc.).

It’ll take a hit next weekend from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but it should recover due to the fact that it’s one of the most insanely violent R-rated action films this side of Starship Troopers and thus will provide the kind of carnage that a PG-13 G.I. Joe movie cannot. Hopefully this finally gets the undervalued Antoine Fuqua onto the various ‘hot lists’ next time a studio goes hunting for a tent pole director.

To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos

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