B.O. Roundup, June 7-9: 'The Purge' Upsets 'The Internship'

Sunday, 09 June 2013 11:13 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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B.O. Roundup, June 7-9: 'The Purge' Upsets 'The Internship'

Much like a real life intern, this weekend's widest new release, The Internship, was marginalized and barely noticed as it went about its thankless task. 

The Purge, a  much cheaper horror tale, meanwhile, ran laps around the comedy, debuting in first place and making a big impression on this weekend between splashy summer spectaculars.

Universal Studios lined up The Purge as a bit of counter-programming, as the early summer generally doesn't see too many high profile horror releases, which tend to hit later in summer through the fall season.  The move paid off handsomely, as the film opened to an estimated haul of $36.37 million from 2,536 locations.  That's well above projections for The Purge, a movie that optimistic projections had pegged for a roughly $25 million.

With the massive price tags typical of the season, many a summer movie would be considered an unmitigated failure opening with $36.37 million.  But The Purge was produced on a budget in the neighborhood of just $3 million.  Turns out that was money well spent, as this marks the biggest horror debut of 2013 so far and the second-biggest R-rated opening of the year, behind The Hangover Part III.

The film, directed by James DeMonaco and starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, powered its way to the top based largely on the strength of its premise of an otherwise idyllic future in which all crime is legal for an annual twelve-hour orgy of lawlessness and violence.  Audiences, which were somewhat surprisingly 56% female, bestowed a C on The Purge, according to exit poll company CinemaScore.

The winner of the box office drag race will likely endure a precipitous drop next weekend, both because that's almost always the case with this genre and because the upcoming Friday sees the debut of mega-movie Man of Steel.  Still, Ethan Hawke ought to enjoy this weekend of glory.  Critical darling Before Midnight, the second sequel to Before Sunrise, is tearing it up in limited release, having earned $1.5 million in fewer than 50 theaters.

Though both The Purge and The Internship were savaged by critics, the former can hold its head higher in first place than the latter in fourth, behind holdovers Furious 6 and Now You See Me in second and third.

The film, which reunites Wedding Crashers stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as a pair of luddites who inexplicably score a coveted internship at Google, opened to an estimated $18.10 million from 3,366 locations, 830 more than The Purge.  That's several million dollars over what the comedy's tracking suggested going into the weekend.

But 20th Century Fox was doubtless hoping for a stronger showing based on the performance of Wedding Crashers in the summer of 2005.  That film was a comparatively risque R rated endeavor that benefited from phenomenal word of mouth.  Audiences, which gave The Internship a B+ CinemaScore, are simply less excited about the squeaky clean new comedy.

A general sense of familiarity haunts The Internship, as does the sense that the film is groveling before the throne of the insanely powerful multinational corporation that figures so crucially into its plot.

Anyways, here are the top ten movies in the country for the weekend of June 7th through 9th:

1. The Purge                                        $36.3 million               New Release

2. Fast & Furious 6                              $19.7 million               $202.9 million

3. Now You See Me                              $19.5 million              $61.3 million

4. The Internship                                  $18.1 million              New Release

5. Epic                                                   $12.1 million              $84.1 million

6. Star Trek Into Darkness                  $11.7 million              $200.1 million

7. After Earth                                        $11.3 million              $46.5 million

8. The Hangover Part III                       $7.3 million                $102.3 million

9. Iron Man 3                                         $5.3 million                $394.3 million

10. The Great Gatsby                            $4.2 million                $136.1 million

This Wednesday sees the addition of This Is the End to the box office rumble, followed by the much anticipated Superman reboot Man of Steel as the sole wide release on Friday.

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