Box Office: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Lures Many Moviegoers into Its Gingerbread House

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Box Office Mojo

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boxoffice - Box Office: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Lures Many Moviegoers into Its Gingerbread HouseAudiences had no interest in an aging Austrian action hero last weekend, but they showed up this weekend to see a pair of younger action heroes save a Bavarian forest from witchery.

The R-rated 3D antics of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters proved a somewhat surprising #1 at the box office.

The Gemma Arterton-Jeremy Renner 3D action horror flick from Dead Snow director Tommy Wirkola topped the box office with $18 million. If you listen to Nikki Finke, that’s actually a weak opening; if you listen to Box Office Mojo, it’s actually a solid opening. Compared to the weekend’s other new wide releases that both bombed (Parker and Movie 43) and considering Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is an R-rated genre mishmash that sat on a shelf for over a year, I’m inclined to agree with Box Office Mojo’s assessment. Even as one of the select few that enjoyed the flick, I’ll be the first to express my shock at how well it did. I had this one pegged as a big bomb, even more so after sitting in a nearly empty theater at Thursday night’s sneak preview.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters earned a so-so “B” Cinemascore rating from audiences polled. That’s exactly the same Cinemascore rating Dredd received. I only throw that tidbit out there just so I can hear the sounds of heads exploding all over the internet. I believe I just heard Matt Fini’s skull go boom.

Hey, an R-rated action-horror movie opened #1 at the box office; that’s a good thing even if this isn’t the one you wish it were.

The international box office sure isn’t a disappointment. H&G:WH opened huge in Russia earlier this week taking in over $9 million. Expectations are it will also do strong business in Asia and South America shortly. Given the alleged $50 million budget there’s always a chance that the theatrical and eventual home video release puts this well enough into the black to spawn a sequel. Not likely, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Mama dropped 55% from last weekend with $12.5 million. Still enough to hold strong at #2 and about on par with how most horror movies drop in their second week. As it begins closing in on nearly $50 million in two weeks, I find the lack of announcement of a sequel already to be a tad curious.

In limited release, and by limited release I mean in one theater in Los Angeles, Don Coscarelli’s adaptation of John Dies at the End did a nice, tidy $13,500. Not too shabby for a film that has been available via VOD for going on two months.

Horror-wise, the month of February will belong to tweeners with the romantic zom-com Warm Bodies opening this Friday and the Cajun-fried Twilight wannabe Beautiful Creatures following two weeks later. Suffice to say, with Twilight over, the studios are scrambling to find a new romantic horror hybrid that appeals to Taylor Swift’s target audience. Think they’ll have better luck than when the studios rolled out their myriad of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings wannabes? Remember what huge hits The Seeker: The Dark and Eragon were? Me neither.

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