Riddick Tops a Powerless Box Office Weekend

Scott serves up analysis of what turned out to be a pitifully weak weekend at the box office.  He also is kind enough to offer up some hope for the future.


After a wait of nine years, Vin Diesel returned to his role as Richard B. Riddick in the movie Riddick, which took first place at the box office with a domestic total of $19 million.  It was a particularly dismal weekend at the theatres, with the three day total being $84 million.  The last time we had a weekend this quiet was the first weekend in February, which saw the debut of Warm Bodies (opening at $20 million) and Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head (opening at $4 million).  That weekend in February was up until now the lowest grossing weekend of the year with $88 million, so what can we look at to account for an even worse gross in the past few days?

One possibility is the return of football, which offers a strong reason for people to stay home.  The weekend after Labour Day has the tendency to be a reliably weak time, and many would point to the gridiron as the reason for that.  A result of it being a traditional dud is that the quality of movies released is usually a lot lower, because studios do not waste movies with a lot of potential on a slow weekend.  Another possible answer for the low gross is what I just mentioned… the quality of movies released both this weekend and the weekend previous.

Riddick ended up on the lower end of expectations, with some (myself included) believing that it had a chance to make it well into the mid $20 million range.  If we couple the terminal nature of this weekend in history and the fact that Riddick did not come from a franchise with the strongest foundation, then we see why it had the outing that it did.  Pitch Black brought in $53 million on a budget of $23 in 2000, and The Chronicles of Riddick grossed $107 million worldwide, falling well short of a profit on a budget of $120 million.  Riddick saw the return of Karl Urban as Vaako, the former leader of the ‘Necromongers’ (nope, I did not make that name up, though I suspect perhaps one of the writer’s ten year old children came up with it) whom tangled with Riddick  in The Chronicles of Riddick and was ultimately dethroned by the bald bad-ass.

We have not to worry, though.  We are sledging through the second quagmire of uninspiring movies right now (the first being the doldrums of the early winter months), and the end is in sight.  Soon we will be facing an onslaught of movies with hopes of award recognition.  Not only that, but there are also some blockbusters scheduled for the last few months of the year that should have us a bit excited and give entertainment to those who don’t get geeked up for the Oscar contenders.  We get Ender's Game, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Thor: The Dark World, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  If comedies be your drug of choice, the anticipated Anchorman: The Legend Continues sees the news gang reunited for more adventures.  Family animation?  That’s coming as well, with the main buzz being around Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.  Into horror movies?  There’s the latest emerging horror franchise and second horror of the year for director James Wan in Insidious: Chapter 2, and for the curmudgeons that revel in the good ol’ days of horror there is an intriguing remake of Carrie coming out soon starring two insanely talented actresses in Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore.

 I could go on into other genres, but I think I made the point.  I should note that I personally am not excited about all of the movies I mentioned, but that’s the great thing about the release schedule for the fall… it seems to have offerings for all.  There is a lot to be offered to all different fans of cinema, so while the skies are grey right now, let us focus on the sunny days that are to come.