Zombie rom-com scores at weekend box office
NEW YORK (AP) -- The love-struck zombies of "Warm Bodies" swarmed the box office on Super Bowl weekend with a $20 million opening.
On a weekend that Hollywood largely punts to football, the PG-13 film from Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment easily led the box office. The Super Bowl always means a significant slide in movie-going on Sunday -- studios predict a decrease of as much as 70 percent from Saturday to Sunday -- but "Warm Bodies" still lured many teenage fans.
The film appealed particularly to females, who made up 60 percent of the audience.
David Spitz, executive vice president of Lionsgate, said the studio courted female teens with "Warm Bodies" by pairing its trailer with the last "Twilight" film, "Breaking Dawn, Part II."
Younger female audiences have some history of turning out on Super Bowl weekends. The most successful film released the weekend of the big game was in 2008, when "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" opened with $31.1 million.
"There was just nothing in the marketplace like this," said Spitz. "Is it more zombie horror? Is it more romantic comedy? Is it more comedy? It's a mixture and that's the reason why the film found an audience."
Action films continued to fare poorly in 2013, as Sylvester Stallone's "Bullet to the Head" opened with just $4.5 million for Warner Bros. That meant his brawny cohort Arnold Schwarzenegger bested him when his "The Last Stand" opened with $7.2 million in January.
But both openings were poor. Along with the weak performance of Jason Statham's "Parker," which has taken in $12.4 million in two weeks for FilmDistrict, moviegoers aren't turning out for traditional R-rated action movies. That trend should reverse itself when Bruce Willis' "A Good Day to Die Hard" opens Feb. 14, says Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Last week's top film, Paramount's "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," dropped to second with $9.2 million on the weekend.
The other debut of note was Lionsgate's "Stand Up Guys," which stars Al Pacino and Christopher Walken as veteran gangsters on a last hurrah romp. Though it opened in limited release in 659 theaters, it took in just $1.5 million.
The most Super Bowl-appropriate film in theaters, the Oscar-nominated "Silver Linings Playbook," continued to add to its stretched-out run for the Weinstein Co. The film, which centers on a family of diehard Philadelphia Eagles fans, came in third place, adding $8.1 million for a cumulative total of $80.4 million.