'End of Watch' Tops Box-Office and Speculation Over 'Dredd's Demise

End of Watch posterThe tight race at the top of the box-office has been decided and the winner is Open Road's End of Watch, which managed to edge out Relativity's House at the End of the Street after the two were estimated to have earned $13 million each for the weekend.

Actual results proved End of Watch, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as a pair of Los Angeles police officers, was the winner with $13.1 million and the second film from Open Road to top the box-office this year after The Grey did it back at the end of January.

House at the End of the Street, starring Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook) made $800,000 less than was estimated and finished the weekend with $12.2 million. Clint Eastwood's Trouble with the Curve finished a lose third with $12.1 million despite being the favorite heading into the weekend.

This is one of those situations where I can't help but wonder if the studio wasn't sure they would be able to bring in $13 million and were just hoping they went that high, or if their tracking was actually saying that was a safe estimate and they wouldn't drop below it. I wonder only because I would think you wouldn't really want to be the one that was tied for first, or was first after estimates, only to have to relinquish the title. I'd think that would be a little embarrassing and looked at as a bit of dirty pool.

I'm not a Hollywood insider so I don't know the answer, but I would think that while House got some attention for briefly being tied for number one, it looks a little bad dipping below your estimate to come in number two and almost number three. Sure, it was a tight race, but considering the weight marketers and Hollywood types place on being number one I'd think it would be better to be safe than sorry. Maybe that's just me though.

Dredd posterAlso, reading over Box-Office Mojo's recap of the weekend Ray Subers writes the following concerning the terrible performance from Lionsgate's Dredd 3D:

Dredd's awful performance is the latest example of how the Comic-Con/online fanboy crowd just doesn't make up a large portion of the moviegoers in this country.

It's an interesting statement considering studios place so much emphasis on the demo. I wonder what the formula is for a Comic-con/online fanboy movie? Clearly movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises pull in a crowd, and Marvel has managed well with lesser-known properties such as Iron Man. In that regard, I am interested in seeing how Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier will do now that they'll have Avengers fame to build on.

The first installment in both the Thor and Captain America franchises weren't huge, but now they have a chance to shine and, perhaps, introduce some sort of a model for other studios to follow... which I guess involves getting someone as charismatic as Robert Downey Jr. to lead off your sprawling comic book franchise before tapping into the lesser known names and blowing the doors off with a compilation feature. I guess not all properties have that kind of mythology, unfortunately.

I'm not a comic book reader so perhaps those of you that are or payer closer attention to anticipation levels for comic properties can enlighten me. I guess Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is another Comic Con disappointment and properties such as Punisher: War Zone, Jonah Hex, The Spirit, Elektra and The Losers come to mind. However, of those films it seems if you add Dredd to the mix it was the only one that actually received good reviews and failed so I'm not sure the Comic-Con/fanboy crowd was the only problem.

One thing I'll say about Dredd is that I thought it looked terrible based on the tiny bit I had seen. Then people started telling me it was good. People I trust. However, that still didn't convince me I needed to see it in theaters. Could this be the larger issue? The need to see it in the cinema versus the decision to simply wait and watch it at home? Looking at that list of comic book films I listed above along with Dredd, I can't say any of them present the size, scope and theatrical necessity we find in movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight. What do you think?

I have included the weekend actuals below and you can read my examination of the weekend estimates here.

  1. End of Watch - $13.1 million
  2. House at the End of the Street - $12.2 million
  3. Trouble with the Curve - $12.1 million
  4. Finding Nemo 3D - $9.6 million
  5. Resident Evil: Retribution - $6.7 million
  6. Dredd - $6.2 million
  7. The Master - $4.3 million
  8. The Possession - $2.6 million
  9. ParaNorman - $2.3 million
  10. Lawless - $2.2 million

numbers via Box Office Mojo

  • Christopher Robin Meade

    intresting article brad, very intersting article

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    As it pertains to Dredd, I think it's purely the accessibility, or rather lack thereof, of the property in question. It's not as audience friendly or even as well known as Batman or any of the Avengers at this point. I told a lot of people about DREDD this past weekend and most of them didn't even know it was based on a comic book property. Plus with an R rating you're missing out on the family dollar.

  • Jack

    Man, The Master came in about $700,000 lower than projected. That's rough. I actually love this film, but Weinstein shouldn't have released it so early yet. The word of mouth is gonna kill this and it hasnt even reached 1000 theatres yet. I think it should have stayed limited last weekend and only expand into a few more theatres outside of NY/LA like Chicago, Washington, DC, before expanding wider this weekend, where there's no film targeted for the adult demographic besides Looper really.

    It won't hit Blood's numbers, and will probably rake in under $20 million. This isn't a mainstream film. I was the youngest in my theatre opening day, 20, and the baby boomer crowd was not fond of it. Shame, this is why we can't get challenging films anymore. Even though Weinstein didn't produce it, the budget's listed as $40 million. gonna be tough. Hopefully, it holds on for a few more weekends, I know I'll be checking it out again and builds momentum.

    As for Dredd, doesn't surpirse me. I'm a big comic book fan, and wasn't even sure who Dredd was besides knowing there was a sly Stallone film years back. The character is too Batman looking, plus the R-rating probably shrunk it. The thing with The Avengers, it grabbed the entire demographic, people who hate superhero movies still wanted to see The Avengers, so I'd say this Ray Subers guy has no idea what he's talking about.

  • Winchester

    While I don't necessarily think that it has a 'one size fits all' answer I absolutely think that Comic-con audiences are NOT necessarily a barometer for broad mainstream movie goers opinion and for a film's success. I agree with Subers on that point but it also a problem that appears to afflict lower tier comic properties more.

    There's no point discussing Superman, Spidey, Batman though - they crossed into mainstream popularity far too long ago to be affected.

    With other properties there's a real basic inherent problem to overcome. That is to either dilute the property a bit in order to broaden the appeal, or accept limited audience appeal beyond core fans if you stay heavily loyal to the source material. There's a fair gulf of how you do that inbetween the two. You also have to understand (if making one) that whatever you do are not going to please all your core fans. So, you have to decide who you want to appeal to more. You also might have to accept annoying some fans because in adapting to a movie some things might have to be changed. That doesn't always go down well.

    Fanboys just can rarely be pleased. They are the most impossible at times.

    And that's not really meant to belittle them intentionally. But I'm into one or two things that have a hardcore and at times very narrow minded fanbase with them, so I'm just basing it off direct observation and experience of dealing with them.

    Anyway, I digressed a bit but basically - not assuming how Comic-con rates a film (or assuming that you don't need to sell it to wider audiences as well) would be something to bear in mind.

  • John W

    Does 3D account for Dredd's disappointing performance at the box office?

    The reason I ask is because I really wanted to see this but all they're showing is the 3D version in my area and if I have to choose between 3D and waiting for the blu-ray, I'll wait.

    • Vince (Not Vance)

      Definitely could be a factor. 3D helps films that were going to be appealing regardless but hurts those that are either seen as A. a cash grab (most of the 3D re-releases) or B. an unnecessary gimmick tacked onto an unappealing film (My Soul to Take is a good example but take your pick).

      Dredd also just isn't a mainstream comic character. Most of the films acknowledged above- Scott Pilgrim, The Losers, Jonah Hex- those comics have pretty dense mythology & cults behind them but they just don't have mainstream appeal, and unfortunately they never will. The biggest Judge Dredd has gone into the mainstream was the Stallone bomb in the 90s which hardly sold on its own as a lame vehicle for the former Mr. Balboa. If that's the only brand recognition the film has...good look overcoming that.

      Dredd will be fine though when it goes to home video. Much like Scott Pilgrim, The Punisher films, The Rocketeer & other notorious comic book flops, the film will find its audience when the DVD/Blu-Ray hits.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JonSullivan/ Jon Sullivan

    "Dredd 3D" seems like a perfect film to do an early Video On Demand release for. I think it looks pretty intriguing, but it also doesn't look like something I need to rush out to see. Would I pay $10 to watch it at home though? Yeah, probably. I think "Bachelorette" is a similar movie in that regard; my wife and I really liked it, but it's not the type of movie I would make plans around seeing in a theater.

  • Dim McRemnant

    Scott Pilgrim vs The World actually has an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even higher than Dredd. It may go the same route as Scott Pilgrim, barely make its production budget back in the box office, and explode on DVD/BluRay.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Yeah, I should have done a better job separating Scott Pilgrim from the other films I mentioned.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/BroadwayAtMidnight/ BroadwayAtMidnight

    Judge Dredd is a character from the english comic book 2000 A.D. and unfortunately not well known in America except for a lot of hardcore fans. That is probably the number one reason no one is running to see it. The second reason I think is people will remember the first Judge Dredd with Stallone and not think much of the character. That movie did not follow the source material as well. Last but not least it does not have any major actors in the cast and despite what Hollywood is dying you to make us think Karl Urban is not a good leading man. Specially in roles where the character doesn't even say much like In Dredd or the just ok Pathfinder. He is instead a great character actor that is often wasted on this firm face roles. I feel those three reasons hurt this movie, specially the obscurity and lack of marketing.

  • Ivan

    Great article, as far as Dredd goes, I agree with Yaz, it's a very difficult franchise with a very murky past. People without a comic book context can't help but relate it to the Stallone movie, which was good for it's time but times are achangin'. I can't help but forsee a very bleak future for lesser known franchises such as Dredd, and the hype and newly found popularity of much brighter comic book characters will only make it a little more difficult. Scott Pilgrim is a great movie, Punisher: War Zone is, by far, one of the best comic book adaptations to screen that I've seen and yet they bomb, not 'cause they're bad but because they're not really that relatable for a sunday movie crowd. It's not the movies fault, it's the way the industry is wired. As for me, I can't wait to dig in once it hits Mexico (If it ever does). Cheers.

  • Scott

    Fanboys WANT every genre movie to be a big, entertaining hit, but are the first to dismiss or destroy a genre movie that doesn't measure up.

    I don't get where the idea came from that fanboys are easy to please. It doesn't match anything I've seen. Aside from Comic-Con cheers, I guess?

  • deeezy

    Dredd was amazing and more people should see it. So much fun packed in there...

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    Why Dredd tanked:

    (1) The marketing was horrific. Nothing about the trailers attracted people to the film in terms of an interesting plot. When you mix this with lack of big name stars (this movie would have done so much better if Channing Tatum was the lead, even if the movie's quality itself was worse off), that's never a good combo.

    (2) Lack of connection with the source material. Other than people I chat with online, I'm pretty sure none of my friends in real life have seen the Judge Dredd film with Sly Stallone, nor are they familiar with the premise. I'm a 90s child too - and we loved our R-rated action films growing up in the 90s (The Rock, Speed, Face/Off, etc.). Therefore, lack of people caring about this movie in the target audience - I assume males aged 20-35.

    (3) R Rating - although I would argue this had the least impact of the three things I've mentioned

    Finally, it doesn't affect the box office, but I saw lots of online film pundits predicting this movie would kill it at the box office due to the rave reviews it got at TIFF and the screeenings at Comic-con. Guess they forget to take into account that most moviewatchers don't follow online movie news (or Brad would be a lot richer and could fly all his loyal readers to film festivals). :)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Tom/ Tom

    Well, I saw Dredd over the weekend, and it was definitely better than what the trailers made it out to be. Reminded me alot of Carpenters Assault on Precinct 13. Like others mentioned before, Dredds a very niche character in the U.S, so its somewhat harder to sell to the public. I think the marketing was the thing that really hurt this movie though, making it look more like a cheap direct to DVD flick.

  • http://cinesnatch.blogspot.com Cinesnatch

    Familiarity seems to be the key here. I was also expecting it to do gangbusters, considering the support behind it.

  • AJ

    In some regards, Dredd had the same problem as Tintin... it's not an American property, and has never been especially popular over here. Like Tintin, many are aware of it, but even so it almost hurts it more when people have had plenty of opportunity to embrace something and still have never gotten around to doing so. (It makes me wonder, despite the increased popularity stateside of the new take on Dr. Who, would a big-budget version of that flop in America? Probably.)

    I think at some point studios have to accept the fact that, with so many comic-book films flooding the theaters every year, being based on a comic property is no longer a draw in itself. I know as a comic book fan, early on I went to many of the films based on characters that I have never read about. Now that I have so many that cater to me, I tend to be choosey and stick to the ones I'm already interested in. Hence Green Lantern was a pass and Captain America was worth the ticket for me. I can be swayed if the film is highly praised, of course, and do want to see Dredd, but there's still not that drive that necessarily gets me out there for opening weekend.

  • Topy

    Comic-con movies are underrated. I have no idea whatsoever before seeing them but they end up being part of my top 15every year.