As iconic action hero John McClane of the Die Hard franchise would say, "Yippie-ki-yay."
After a touch-and-go start, the Bruce Willis starrer A Good Day to Die Hard has pulled ahead of rivals Safe Haven and holdover Identity Thief to narrowly win Presidents Day weekend with a three-day gross of $25 million. The 20th Century Fox pic now is projected to earn $30 million for the full holiday weekend, pushing its five-day domestic debut to $38.3 million (both Die Hard and Safe Haven opened on Valentine's Day).
Overseas, the fifth installment in the series topped the international box office with $61.1 million for a foreign total of $80.1 million and worldwide haul of $113.3 million
Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman's R-rated comedy Identity Thief has plenty of reason to laugh in its second weekend. Declining a narrow 33 percent, the Universal pic came in No. 2 for the weekend with $23.4 million in domestic ticket sales. Its projected Friday-Monday gross is $27.7 million for a domestic haul of $75 million through Monday.
Relativity Media's Nicholas Sparks film adaptation Safe Haven remains a big winner as well, even at No. 3. Fueled by younger females, the romantic drama grossed $21.4 million for the three-day weekend and should earn $25 million for the four days.
Pairing Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, Safe Haven wasn't expected to open much past $25 million; now, it should finish Monday with $34 million in the bank. Safe Haven narrowly won Valentine's Day and tied with Die Hard on Friday.
Die Hard had been widely expected to amass a five-day gross in the $40 million to $45 million range. Dismal reviews likely are hurting the R-rated film since the franchise's fan base is older and more influenced by a critic's opinion (65 percent of the audience was over the age of 25). Those who are turning out gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.
Live Free or Die Hard, the PG-13 previous installment in the series, posted a five-day debut of $48.4 million when opening on the eve of the Fourth of July holiday in 2007.
In A Good Day to Die Hard, Willis' McClane travels to Moscow to rescue his son (Jai Courtney), a CIA operative who's in some nasty trouble.
IMAX theaters contributed $4.3 million of the total domestic gross and $8.3 million worldwide.
Fueled by younger female moviegoers, Relativity's Safe Haven received even worse notices than Die Hard but is more review-proof. The romantic drama also drew a B+ CinemaScore. More than 70 percent of those buying tickets were females, while 68 percent of the total audience was under the age of 25.
Safe Haven is directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Hough as a young woman who returns to her hometown only to be gripped by a dark secret from her past, even as she falls for a stranger (Duhamel).
Animated 3D family entry Escape From Planet Earth, opening on Friday, is holding steady at No. 4, grossing a solid $16.1 million for the three-day weekend. From the Weinstein Co., the pic should post a four-day opening gross of $21 million.
Escape From Planet Earth is the first theatrical feature from Rainmaker Entertainment. Its voice cast is led by Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry and Sarah Jessica Parker. William Shatner plays the evil alien Shanker.
The holiday's fourth new wide release, Beautiful Creatures, has fared poorly. The movie, based on the popular YA book series, grossed $7.5 million for the three-day weekend and is projected to post a five-day opening of only $11.6 million, well less than expected.
From Alcon Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., Beautiful Creatures was bested by fellow YA film adaptation Warm Bodies, which took in $2.6 million for the three-day weekend to come in No. 5 in its third frame and pushing its domestic cume to $50.2 million.
Directed and scripted by Richard LaGravenese, Beautiful Creatures is the latest film property to be based on a young-adult book series. The film stars Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich and is being distributed by Warner Bros. via its deal with Alcon. Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis also star in the film based on the first book in the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
The movie centers on Lena Duchannes (Englert), whose special powers have long kept her separated from others. Moving to a new town, she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich), but their budding relationship is threatened by an ancient battle between good and evil.
At the specialty box office, Gael Garcia Bernal's No opened to a notable $74,476 from four theaters for a location average of $18,619. The Chilean film, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics in the U.S., is a contender for the best foreign-language film Oscar.
The Metropolitan Opera's The Met: Live in HD continued to hum along as Verdi's Rigoletto, a new production from Michael Mayer, grossed $2.6 million from 800 theaters on Saturday morning. The live broadcast ranked No. 12 overall.
Below are estimates for the Feb. 15-17 weekend at the domestic box office. Full results for the four-day weekend will be posted tomorrow.
Title, Weeks in release/theater count, studio, three-day weekend total, cume (*denotes Oscar best picture nominee)
1. A Good Day to Die Hard, 1/3,553, Fox, $25 million, $33.2 million (REVIEW)
2. Identity Thief, 1/3,141, Universal, $23.4 million, $70.7 million (REVIEW)
3. Safe Haven, 1/3,223, Relativity, $21.4 million, $30.3 million
4. Escape From Planet Earth, 1/3,288, The Weinstein Co, $16.1 million
5. Warm Bodies, 3/2,897, Summit, $9 million, $50.2 million (REVIEW)
6. Beautiful Creatures, 1/2,950, Warner Bros., $7.5 million, $10 million (REVIEW)
7. Side Effects, 2/2,605, Open Road, $6.2 million, $19 million (REVIEW)
8. *Silver Linings Playbook, 14/2,202, The Weinstein Co., $6.1 million, $98.5 million
9. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, 4/2,103, Paramount/MGM, $3.5 million, $49.8 million (REVIEW)
10. *Zero Dark Thirty, 9/1,522, Sony/Annapurna, $3.1 million, $88 million (REVIEW)