Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/9/2013 5:42 PM

'The Purge' topples 'Fast 6' at box office

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • This film image released by Universal Pictures shows Ethan Hawke in a scene from "The Purge," which came in at No. 1 at the box office this weekend. The horror film outperformed expectations with its $36.4 million haul.

      This film image released by Universal Pictures shows Ethan Hawke in a scene from "The Purge," which came in at No. 1 at the box office this weekend. The horror film outperformed expectations with its $36.4 million haul.
    Associated Press

  • This film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Owen Wilson, left, and Vince Vaughn in a scene from "The Internship." The comedy, which reteams "The Wedding Crashers" stars Wilson and Vaughn, brought in $19.8 million in its first weekend of release.

      This film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Owen Wilson, left, and Vince Vaughn in a scene from "The Internship." The comedy, which reteams "The Wedding Crashers" stars Wilson and Vaughn, brought in $19.8 million in its first weekend of release.
    Associated Press

  • Video: 'The Internship' trailer

  • Video: 'The Purge' trailer

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The suspense thriller "The Purge" topped the weekend box office with a shocking $36.4 million that doubled industry expectations, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Audiences starved for a horror option flocked to the micro-budget Universal film starring Ethan Hawke. The film's strong opening performance minted another box-office hit for "Paranormal Activity" producer Jason Blum.

Like that horror franchise, "The Purge" was made for relative peanuts -- just $3 million -- making it an extremely lucrative release for Universal. The studio had expected it to open in the high teens.

"Never did we expect it to open at this level," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. "This result could not have been forecasted by anybody."

There has been a dearth of horror films at the multiplex in recent weeks, which Rocco acknowledged was a major factor for "The Purge." Written and directed by James DeMonaco, "The Purge" is set in a utopic United States in the year 2022, where crime has been eradicated except for one violently cathartic day a year when nearly all mayhem is legal.

The film opened strong with late night screenings Thursday night that alone took in $3.4 million.

"This is exactly the kind of film that stumps all the analysts," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "It proves that R-rated horror films, no matter the budget, always have a place with audiences."

Universal also claimed the second spot at the box office, as the Vin Diesel action flick "Fast & Furious 6" earned $19.8 million in its third week of release. The sixth installment of the street racing series has now earned a total of $202.3 million domestically and $381.7 million internationally.

The Google-promoting comedy "The Internship" opened with $18.1 million, a decent debut for the Fox comedy that reteams "Wedding Crashers" stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.

But that was good enough only for fourth place behind two hold-overs: "Fast & Furious 6" and Lionsgate's "Now You See Me." The illusionist heist film held strong, earning $19.5 million over the weekend, bringing its cumulative haul to $61.4 million.

After Will Smith's sci-fi adventure "After Earth" bombed in its domestic opening last weekend, coming in third with $27.5 million for Sony, the film found a warmer reception overseas this weekend. It took in $45.5 million internationally after opening in some 60 overseas markets. Domestically, it continued to fare poorly, adding $11.2 million in its second week.

Even with the unexpected success of "The Purge," the box office was still down from last year, when "Madagascar 3" and "Prometheus" both opened. But Superman comes to the rescue next weekend with the debut of Zac Snyder's highly anticipated "Man of Steel" for Warner Bros. Dergarabedian expects the film to open above $100 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. "The Purge," $36.4 million.

2. "Fast & Furious 6," $19.8 million ($45.3 million international).

3. "Now You See Me," $19.5 million ($2 million international).

4. "The Internship," $18.1 million.

5. "Epic," $12.1 million ($12.7 million international).

6. "Star Trek Into Darkness," $11.7 million ($17.6 million international).

7. "After Earth," $11.2 million ($45.5 million international).

8. "The Hangover Part III," $7.4 million ($34.8 million international).

9. "Iron Man 3," $5.8 million ($3.9 million international).

10. "The Great Gatsby," $4.2 million ($13.3 million international).

------

Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1. "After Earth," $45.5 million.

2. "Fast & Furious 6," $45.3 million.

3. "The Hangover Part III," $34.8 million.

4. "Secretly Greatly," $19 million.

5. "Star Trek Into Darkness," $17.6 million.

6. "The Great Gatsby," $13.3 million.

7. "Epic," $12.7 million.

8. "Iron Man 3," $3.9 million.

9. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," $2.7 million.

10. "Oblivion," $2.1 million.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here