A mere two weeks after the conclusion of this year's San Diego Comic-Con, comics ruled the box office for what feels like the zillionth time since the new era of comic-based movies began. But this time, it was smaller comic publisher Boom! Studios that took the #1 spot with "2 Guns," starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of undercovers whose bank robbery leads to all kinds of violence.
"2 Guns" made $27.4 million, the fifth-highest debut for Washington and sixth for Wahlberg, who has succeeded with action comedies before thanks to "The Other Guys," while the whole shoot-em-up-laugh-em-up bit was new to Washington. "Part of the excitement is the unknown," Washington recently told MTV News. "'Is this going to work? Can I be funny? How do I do that?' ... [Taking on comedy with a partner] actually makes you sharper, makes you prepare more, wakes you up."
While "2 Guns" took several liberties with the source material (which may or may not have contributed to its mixed reviews), "The Wolverine" was the most faithful adaptation of the mutant anti-hero yet, by most accounts. Last weekend's #1 film slipped just one spot with $21.7 million in its second weekend for a 10-day total of $95 million. The second weekend drop for the character-driven Wolvie flick was much less than that of the poorly received "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which opened bigger than "The Wolverine" but suffered greatly from poor word-of-mouth.
As Deadpool creator and Image Comics co-founder Rob Liefeld pointed in a Sunday morning tweet, even The Smurfs originated on the printed page. Belgian comics artist Peyo created Les Schtroumpfs, a.k.a. The Smurfs. The little blue creatures' second big-screen blend of live action and animation opened to significantly less than the 2011 original.
For what it's worth, this week's TOP 3 films are each based on comic books! Pretty significant. Yes, Smurfs was a comic first.— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) August 4, 2013
"The Smurfs" collected $35.6 over its first weekend in July of 2011. "The Smurfs 2" made just $18.2 million in the same amount of time (and $27.7 million total since it opened last Wednesday). Both movies were savaged by film critics, with the sequel receiving even lower scores than the first. Katy Perry returned to voice Smurfette, who played a much larger role in the sequel's plot. She recently revealed that she provided some backup vocals to "Ooh La La!," Britney Spears' contribution to the movie's soundtrack.
Horror hit "The Conjuring" and the even more massive "Despicable Me 2" rounded out the top five. "The Conjuring" was #4 with $13.7 million in its fourth weekend, for a domestic total of $108.6 million (against a $20 million budget). "Despicable Me 2" made another $10.3 million for a $326.8 million total. The minion-stuffed sequel has made $713.6 million worldwide. The 2010 original made $251.5 million domestically and $543.1 million total during its run.
While it's far from a hit, "Red 2" was #8 over the weekend, which means four of the top 10 movies were based on comic sources. "Pacific Rim" was an original story but certainly appealed to the Comic-Con audience. Guillermo Del Toro's ambitious robots vs. monsters tale was viewed as something of a commercial disappointment in the U.S., but it has now made over $293.3 million worldwide, which could be enough to justify a sequel for the $190 million movie.
The first official post-summer weekend of 2013 will see the arrival of Matt Damon in "Elysium," from the director of "District 9"; "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters," a second (and more faithful) entry in the Young Adult book based franchise; Disney's sort-of-"Cars"-spinoff "Planes," featuring Dane Cook as the lead voice; and "We're the Millers," which everyone with an Internet connection has by now learned features Jennifer Aniston as a stripper.