Box Office: 'Jackass: Bad Grandpa' No. 1 With $32 Million; 'The Counselor' D.O.A.
Paramount and MTV Films' Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa -- featuring Johnny Knoxville and child sidekick Jackson Nicoll -- easily topped North American box office after delivering a $32 million opening and dethroning blockbuster space epic Gravity.
After staying at No. 1 for three weeks, Warner Bros.' Gravity slipped to No. 2, falling 32 percent to $20.3 million. The 3D space epic will cross the $200 million mark domestically sometime on Sunday or Monday, and has now earned $364 million worldwide after topping the foreign chart for the weekend with $36.6 million, putting its international total at $164.4 million.
Bad Grandpa, the first Jackass film to have any sort of plot, stars Knoxville as signature character Irving Zisman, a crotchety 86-year-old, and Nicoll as 8-year-old grandson Billy. The outrageous duo embark on a hidden-camera road trip across America, performing stunts and punking people. Along the way they encounter, among others, male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants and bikers.
The comedy opened well behind the last Jackass film (there are three in total). In October 2010, Jackass 3D debuted to a sizzling $50.4 million. Jackass: Number Two opened to $29 million in late September 2006, while the first Jackass, opening in late October 2002, debuted to $22.8 million.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore stressed that Bad Grandpa is a spin-off, versus a continuation of the gross-out franchise, and that it actually has much more in common with Borat than with the other Jackass films.
"The movie is executed ala Borat, where Knoxville's character is interacting with real people and doing crazy things," Moore said. He noted that Bad Grandpa played differently than other Jackass movies in drawing older moviegoers (69 percent of Jackass 3-D's audience was under the age of 25, compared to 37 percent for Bad Grandpa) as well as more females (44 percent, versus 39 percent).
Overseas, Bad Grandpa opened to an impressive $8.1 million from 16 territories, on par with Jackass 3-D and three times bigger than Jackass 2. The U.K. led with $3.2 million, bigger than the three Jackass films, followed by a stellar $3.1 million in Germany.
Jeff Tremaine returns to direct, and he produces alongside Knoxville, Spike Jonze and Derek Freda. Knoxville is the only Jackass regular to appear in the film, which received a B CinemaScore.
Ridley Scott's star-packed drama The Counselor, from an original screenplay by No Country for Old Men author Cormac McCarthy (his first), quickly fizzled, grossing an unimpressive $8 million to come in No. 4 behind Bad Grandpa, Gravity and Captain Phillips.
Moviegoers gave The Counselor a rare D CinemaScore despite Scott's pedigree and stars Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. It may fare better overseas, where it began rolling out this weekend in a handful of markets, including Brazil.
The Counselor, starring Fassbender as a greedy lawyer who gets caught up with drug traffickers, received mostly negative reviews. Insiders say the film was a vanity project for Scott, but that it reportedly cost only $25 million to make, with talent taking a drastically reduced fee in order to work with Scott.
Scott, who has longtime ties to Fox, last directed Prometheus for the studio.
"The movie had some big grosses in big city, core runs, where audiences are more likely to be looking for challenging, provocative filmmaking," said Fox domestic marketing president Chris Aronson. The movie skewed notably older, with 85 percent of the audience over the age of 25.
Sony had two reasons to crow this weekend. Paul Greengrass' Somali pirate drama Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, continued to enjoy a strong hold in its third weekend, falling 28 percent to $11.8 million to place No. 3. The drama has now earned $70.1 million domestically.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, also from Sony, placed No. 5 in its fifth weekend, grossing $6.1 million to jump the $100 million mark in North America.
While The Counselor may have bombed, the Fox empire is succeeding at the box office with Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. The Fox Searchlight film, expanding into a total of 123 theaters in is second weekend, zoomed up to No. 8, grossing $2.2 million for a 10-day total of $3.4 million. New Regency and River Road co-financed and produced the film alongside Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner's Plan B Entertainment.
The other big headline at the specialty box office was Abdellatif Kechiche's French film Blue Is the Warmest Color, which is opening to solid business in New York and Los Angeles for IFC Films, grossing $101,116 from four theaters for a location average of $25,279.
The steamy lesbian drama is rated NC-17, meaning that no one under 17 is allowed in. However, the IFC Center in New York has announced it will allow in teenagers it deems appropriate, regardless of age (the ratings system is voluntary).
In recent days, the war of words between Kechiche and star Lea Seydoux has escalated, with the filmmaker calling her an "arrogant, spoiled child" who said "slanderous" things about him in an effort to gain attention following the film's Palme d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival in May. "Thus after having been celebrated and glorified thanks to the Palme d’Or won by Blue Is the Warmest Color, she started to drag me through the mud with lies and exaggerations," he said in an interview earlier this week.