Box Office Report: 'Smurfs 2' No. 1 Wednesday With $5.2 Mil; No. 3 in the U.K.
UPDATED: The sequel's chances in North America could be dimmed by an unprecedented glut of family product; moviegoers award the film an A- CinemaScore.
Sony's The Smurfs 2 topped the domestic box office on Wednesday with a $5.2 million, slightly behind Turbo and reflecting a glut of family product in the marketplace. The studio is hoping that the CGI/live-action hybrid makes up ground internationally, considering the first film's foreign gross made up 75 percent of the total worldwide haul.
Two weeks ago, DreamWorks Animation's Turbo opened to $5.6 million on its way to a softish five-day debut of $31 million. One advantage Smurfs 2 has is that megahit Despicable Me 2 is further into its run. The movie also should be helped by an A- CinemaScore.
But it remains to be seen whether Smurfs 2 can match the $35.6 million earned by The Smurfs in its first three days when it opened in late July 2011. Either way, Sony is counting more on the sequel's international prospects, considering the first film took in a stunning $421.1 million gross (the movie took in $563.7 million globally).
Smurfs 2 posted an opening-day gross of $1.4 million in the U.K. on Wednesday, 21 percent ahead of The Smurfs. Still, it only placed No. 3 behind Disney and Pixar's Monsters University (now in its third week) and 20th Century Fox's The Wolverine. In France and Switzerland, it debuted in line with the first movie. All told, it is rolling out in 42 foreign markets.
In North America, the family film will vie for the No. 1 spot with R-rated action-comedy 2 Guns, starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. That film doesn't open until Friday, and, unless tracking picks up in the next two days, it may only hit $20 million for the weekend.
Smurfs 2, based on the comic book series created by the Belgian artist Peyo, is the second title in a planned trilogy (The Smurfs 3 is set for summer 2015). The sequel sees all of the main cast returning, with Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria reprising their live-action roles. Jonathan Winters, who died this spring, and Katy Perry lead the voice cast, while Raja Gosnell returns to the director's chair.
Hollywood has never opened so many family films in summer. This season boasts Epic, Monsters University, Despicable 2, Turbo, Smurfs 2 and Planes, which hits theaters in two weeks (there's also the Percy Jackson sequel, although that will skew older).
On Wednesday, during a Wall Street earnings call, DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg acknowledged a soft North American opening for Turbo, which he blamed on an "oversaturated" market for family films, but he's confident the movie will eventually be profitable. He said the large number of movies aimed at kids led to an "unprecedented" amount of competition.