Having ended The Twilight Saga, its one reliable cash cow in a catalog full of motley also-rans, Summit Entertainment is on the hunt for the next big thing—or, barring that, something good enough to carve out a decent slice of the Twilight demographic. To that end, it offered Warm Bodies, another YA-adapted ‘tween romance about the love between a girl and a sensitive monster, and it paid off over a sluggish Super Bowl weekend. With $19.5 million in receipts, Warm Bodies more than doubled the runners-up, and brought the term “zom-rom-com” into the lexicon, a crime for which all prints should rightly be burned. (And all digital prints hacked and recoded by Crash Override, The Phantom Phreak, and Cereal Killer.) The long-delayed, retro-‘80s Sylvester Stallone/Walter Hill actioner Bullet To The Head tanked spectacularly, earning just $4.5 million on its opening weekend for sixth place. If studios interpret its failure as a wholesale rejection of efficient, hard-hitting, CGI-free violence and explosions, we at The A.V. Club will consider the entire country dead to us. (If you can’t appreciate the purity of two meatheads attacking each other with axes, you don’t deserve to have movies.) Also performing horribly was the awful Al Pacino/Christopher Walken/Alan Arkin crime dramedy Stand Up Guys, which opened on 659 screens, a neither-here-nor-there release strategy that paid off in $1.5 million and a feeble $2,276 per screen average.
In limited release, two acclaimed documentaries did terrific business. The death of pugnacious three-term New York mayor Ed Koch gave Koch, a documentary that considers the polarizing figure in all his complexity, an enormous boost. No one can know exactly how much Koch would have made otherwise, but the $20,000 per screen on two screens is many, many times higher than money collected by the average indie bio-doc. The Gatekeepers, on the other hand, earned its $22,000 per screen on the force of widespread acclaim, an Oscar nomination, and the support of major-studio boutique Sony Pictures Classics. And it deserves every penny and then some.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.