Sewol disaster bites into cinema revenue
“Heaven Is for Real,” based on a best-selling Christian book about a boy who claims to have witnessed heaven during surgery, was a strong third at U.S. and Canadian theaters with $21.5 million over the Easter holiday weekend.
“Transcendence,” the science fiction thriller starring Johnny Depp as an artificial intelligence researcher, was a disappointing fourth with $11.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates provided by tracking firm Rentrak.
“Captain America,” which stars Chris Evans as a scrawny World War II reject given superpowers from an experimental serum, is the latest superhero hit from Disney’s Marvel Studios.
The film has earned a global total of $586 million, including more than $200 million domestically, since it started rolling out internationally on March 26, validating the strategy of distributor Disney to ramp up its pipeline of films featuring Marvel Comics super heroes.
“Rio 2” features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as blue Spix macaw birds, and follows recent big ticket weekends for animated films like “Frozen” and “The Lego Movie,” which lured kids and their parents to movie theaters.
“Heaven Is for Real” stars Greg Kinnear in the story of a young boy who claims he witnessed Heaven during emergency surgery. It opened on Wednesday night and was expected to total $28.5 million in ticket sales through Sunday, according to Sony, which distributed the film through its TriStar Pictures unit.
“This result is really terrific and far exceeded our expectations,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution, adding that the studio was hoping for a five-day total of around $20 million for the film, which only cost about $12 million to produce.
Bruer noted that the film was “playing well across the board, appealing not only to a faith-based audience but to a more mainstream one. It’s a subject people like to talk about, and it has provoked dialog.”
“Transcendence” marked the directorial debut for cinematographer Wally Pfister, who won the 2010 Academy Award for his work on “Inception.”
With a budget of $100 million, it was projected to open with ticket sales of $21 million, according to the website Box Office Mojo.
“Unfortunately, the movie just missed the audience,” said Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president for theatrical distribution at Warner Bros, which distributed the film. It was produced by Alcon Entertainment.
“Transcendence” was also savaged by critics, with only 20 percent of 134 reviewers giving it a positive rating, according to the website Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers rated the film a C+ in exit polling by CinemaScore.