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Universal's ‘Bourne Legacy’ Tops Weekend Box Office

Sunday, 12 August 2012 04:28 PM

“The Bourne Legacy,” Universal Pictures’ reboot of the “Bourne” action-film series, led the U.S. and Canadian box office in its opening weekend with sales of $40.3 million.

“The Campaign,” an R-rated election-themed comedy from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., took in $27.4 million to place second in its debut, Hollywood.com Box-Office said Sunday in an e-mailed statement. The romantic comedy “Hope Springs,” from Sony Corp., opened in fourth place with sales of $15.6 million.

The fourth movie in the Bourne saga begins a new storyline without the namesake character of the first three films or Matt Damon, the actor who played him. It marks an effort by Universal, part of Comcast Corp., to extend a film series that previously collected $945.4 million in worldwide ticket sales. Studio officials acknowledge the difficulties in starting over.

“It’s a good start given all the changes the franchise has gone through,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com. “I wouldn’t say it’s spectacular, but it’s a solid opening.”

Domestic ticket-sales forecasts for “The Bourne Legacy” ranged from $33 million at Box Office Guru to $46 million, the prediction of Box Office Mojo, an industry researcher. The film was made for about $125 million, Box Office Mojo said.

New Story

The last Bourne movie, “The Bourne Ultimatum,” collected $69.3 million during its opening weekend in 2007, while the first picture, “The Bourne Identity” opened with sales of $27.1 million in 2002.

This weekend’s results mean it may be possible for the movie studio to keep the series going, Pandya said.

“The Bourne Legacy” explores the government program that gave the previous three films’ lead character, Jason Bourne, and other agents their enhanced abilities. In the new installment, Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner stars as Aaron Cross, another super soldier who learns he was genetically altered.

Like Bourne, he fights back when the agency tries to have him killed. Renner is joined by Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton in new roles. David Strathairn, Joan Allen and Scott Glenn return from the previous films.

The idea for the new character and story came from writer/director Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the previous Bourne films. Universal Pictures executives, deciding they couldn’t replace Damon as Jason Bourne, invited Gilroy to come up with a new approach, Peter Cramer, Universal’s co-president of production, said in an interview.

‘Hope Springs’

“The Campaign” features Will Ferrell as Cam Brady, a long-serving congressman who commits a major public gaffe before an election. Two wealthy businessmen seize on the opportunity and plot to put up a candidate, Marty Huggins, the director of the local tourism center, to gain influence in their North Carolina district.

Zach Galifianakis stars as Huggins. Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott co-star.

“For an R-rated Will Ferrell comedy, this is about as big as it gets,” Pandya said of the opening.

“Hope Springs,” a romantic comedy, features Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in the lead roles. After 30 years of marriage, the middle-age couple takes a trip to the small Maine town of Great Hope Springs to attend an intense, week-long counseling session to reignite the spark in their relationship. Steve Carell stars as the marriage counselor.

‘Wimpy Kid’

“This will probably hold up pretty well for the rest of the month,” Pandya said. “These kind of movies that skew older tend to have better legs at the box office.”

Adult women, a target for the film, generally don’t rush out like teenagers, Pandya said. They’re also an audience for the London Olympics, and with the games finishing this weekend the group may have more time for movie-going, he said.

“The Dark Knight Rises,” the last film in the Warner Bros. Batman trilogy, came in third place in its fourth weekend, collecting $19.5 million in sales.

The film marks the third and final pairing of actor Christian Bale, playing Batman, with director Christopher Nolan.

Set eight years after “The Dark Knight,” the second film in the series, an aging Bruce Wayne emerges from retirement to fight Bane, a powerful villain who isolates Gotham City and orchestrates class warfare between the haves and have-nots.

Weekend Revenue Down

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” collected $8.2 million in its second weekend to finish in fifth place. The film is the third picture in the series from News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox films. They are based on the best-selling illustrated novels by Jeff Kinney about a youth navigating middle school.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 3.3 percent to $138.3 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 3.6 percent to $7 billion, with attendance up 2.4 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Friday and Saturday, and estimates for Sunday.

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Sunday, 12 August 2012 04:28 PM
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