Coming off of both 2011’s Bridesmaids and this past February’s Identity Thief, star Melissa McCarthy is proving to be a force to be reckoned with at the box office. This past weekend, that force was too much to overcome for the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action vehicle White House Down.
According to Box Office Mojo, The Heat raked in just above $39 million at the box office in its opening weekend, with White House Down coming in at just under $25 million. Oddly enough, the story here doesn’t seem to be the second clean sweep in a row for Disney and Pixar’s prequel Monsters University as much as it is that Melissa McCarthy’s funny is just too much for the combined action forces of Foxx and Tatum.
The one-two punch of McCarthy and director Paul Feig (creator of Freaks and Geeks and director of Bridesmaids) seems to be a formula for success, and is definitely an interesting development this week simply because most summer blockbusters tend to be the kinds of films similar to White House Down. In a season this year dominated by other, perhaps more interesting action films (like Man of Steel or World War Z), White House Down perhaps proved to be a less interesting, more generic choice when compared with other action offerings, as well as films like Monsters or The Heat.
One other thing to consider when it comes to White House Down‘s relative lack of performance is its similarity to another film that came out earlier this year, the Gerard Butler-starring Olympus Has Fallen. Although there are several plot and character differences (Gerard Butler is Secret Service/Channing Tatum is Capitol Police, Olympus‘ White House assault is driven by North Korea/White House Down‘s is driven by mercenaries disgruntled about U.S. intervention in the Middle East), stylistically the films appear to be very similar, and that may account for something.
McCarthy is moving onto her third straight box office hit, after breaking out in Bridesmaids and leading she and Jason Bateman into success earlier this year in Identity Thief. This strong showing right out of the gate for the hard R-rated, buddy cop comedy should only mean good things for McCarthy’s career, as well as another feather in the cap for both Paul Feig and McCarthy’s co-star Sandra Bullock.
Rounding out the top five in addition to Monsters University, The Heat, and White House Down are World War Z (taking third behind Heat with just over $29 million, putting it at $263 million worldwide), and Man of Steel (in fifth with just over $20 million, bringing it’s worldwide take to $523 million, and making it the third most-profitable DC Comics film behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises). It’s a good week to head to the movies in the US with the holiday upon us, so have fun and don’t blow a finger off with a firecracker!
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