‘Now You See Me’ Pulls $28 Mil-Plus Rabbit, Beating ‘After Earth’ With $27 Mil

"Now You See Me" $274.0m

Universal's 'Fast and Furious 6' wins weekend with $34.5 mil, down 65%

In an unexpected box office showdown, Liongsate-Summit’s magic-themed thriller “Now You See Me” grossed an estimated $28.1 million, trouncing Sony’s post-apocalyptic Will Smith starrer “After Earth,” which crash landed with $27 million in three days. Neither film, however, managed to beat Universal holdover “Fast and Furious 6,” collecting $34.5 million.

“Fast 6,” which had another massive weekend overseas estimating $75 million, reached $480.6 million worldwide, including $170.4 million Stateside.

Overseas, Warner Bros. had a big weekend with “The Hangover Part III” grossing an estimated $82.3 million from 54 markets. Pic’s now totaled $110.7 million, with a worldwide cume nearing $200 million.

Neither “Hangover” nor “Fast” had much competition internationally as Sony bowed “After Earth” only in one day-and-date territory — South Korea, where it posted a soft $2.7 million. It was a strategic move that certainly didn’t help Sony’s publicity efforts this weekend, since the $100 million-plus pic relies especially now on overseas grosses from becoming an all-out disaster.

“Certainly we would have liked to have done more,” said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. “But this was always going to be a worldwide play.”

“After Earth” bows throughout most of the international market place next weekend.

The head-to-head battle between “After Earth” and “Now You See Me” — which at least one studio has the former pic winning, by the way — wasn’t a complete shock, even though “After Earth” definitely had the edge in pre-weekend tracking. The Lionsgate film actually caught up to “After Earth” in advanced ticket sales by late last week.

Regardless, the $28.1 million domestic start gives “Now You See Me” a solid footing financially. Pic, which received an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore rating, cost just $75 million, for which Lionsgate is responsible for only 2/3 after foreign pre-sales and licensing.

“You didn’t see bounces or pops,” said Lionsgate distribution prexy Richie Fay, referring to the film’s weekend breakdown. “It was a slow and steady play.”

Meanwhile, domestic prospects are fizzling quickly for “After Earth,” especially with major competition from “Man of Steel” and “World War Z” over the next few weeks. The Sony film did score a decent ‘B’ CinemaScore, which could help some with word-of-mouth. Though without rave reviews from moviegoers, it’s doubtful the film will gain much steam.

At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight’s cult thriller “The East” scored a solid — though not shining — per-screen average of $18,889 from four theaters in New York and L.A. Meanwhile, CBS Films’ coming-of-ager “The Kings of Summer” averaged $14,500 per screen this weekend, also from four locations.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change**

  1. Fast and Furious 6 (2): $34.5; 3,686; $9,370; $170.4; -65%
  2. Now You See Me (1): $28.1; 2,925; $9,590; $28.1; —
  3. After Earth (1): $27.0; 3,401; $7,939; $27.0; —
  4. Epic (2): $16.4; 3,894; $4,212; $65.2; -51%
  5. Star Trek Into Darkness (3): $16.4; 3,585; $4,575; $181.2; -56%
  6. The Hangover Part III (2): $15.9; 3,565; $4,468; $88.1; -62%
  7. Iron Man 3 (5): $8.0; 2,895; $2,765; $384.8; -59%
  8. The Great Gatsby (4): $6.3; 2,635; $2,378; $128.3; -54%
  9. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani‡ (1): $1.6; 162; $9,635; $1.6; —
  10. Mud (6): $1.2; 580; $2,110; $16.9; -37%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. The Hangover Part III (2): $82.3; 54; 8,600; $110.7; $198.8; +333%
  2. Fast and Furious 6 (3): $75.0; 62; 9,776; $310.2; $480.6; -49%
  3. Star Trek Into Darkness (4): $37.6; 43; 12,293; $147.4; $328.6; +187%
  4. Epic (3): $28.5; 56; 10,110; $86.3; $151.5; +23%
  5. The Great Gatsby (3): $22.6; 55; 8,000; $120.0; $248.3; -6%
  6. Iron Man 3 (6): $9.9; 55; n/a; $795.2; $1,180; -43%

*in millions of $; **based on 3-day; ‡other studio estimates

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  1. Frank W says:

    To the previous poster, Will Smith always wants to show a positive side of humanity and family. Nothing wrong with this. His kid did well in his first turn out, a bit whiney in the Karate Kid but overall bearable, but ruined The Day The Earth Stood Still (which itself was ruined by overblowing it and being done better by Knowing).

    To the writer. “Trouncing” means “defeat heavily in a contest • rebuke or punish severely : some shows were trounced by critics.” A $1.1 million difference doesn’t sound like a “trounce” to me. Per screen average looks better as a “trounce” as After Earth has 476 more screens as NYSM and they made a difference of $1600+ more than After Earth, but still, wrong verb–unless it’s more a backlash against Smith, his kid, or the Director. I expect this type of misleading headline (the one in the e-mail to this page, different here at the actual story) from Huffington Post, not Variety

    You should have said Fast And Furios 6 trounced both of them.

  2. harry georgatos says:

    Will Smith has to always be the hero without any grey areas and ambiguity to his leading man characters! What Smith wanted to do to Tarantino’s Oscar winning screenplay to DJANGO UNCHAINED only confirms the ego of this man!! Also appearing with his son in another Shamyalan stinker is obvious accusations of nepotism in trying to make his son the next generation of Hollywood leading man. A few acting lessons for this young kid is needed similar to Tom Cruises son in the horrible RED DAWN remake. Nepotism is well and abundant in Hollywood!

  3. The Kingslayer says:

    Smith really needs to start looking for more interesting parts to play at this stage in his career, I’d like to see him team up with Michael Mann again and be less reluctant to accept roles in Tarantino movies.

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