Your Box Office Explained: The U.S. Is Just Gravy for Good Day to Die Hard

Photo: Frank Masi, SMPSP/Twentieth Century Fox

This (Not Quite Over Yet) Weekend’s Winners: A Good Day to Die Hard (for now, No. 1 with $33.2 million for its first four days) seems to have the edge against Identity Thief  (No. 2 with $23.4 million, down just a third from last week), and Nicholas Sparks’s Safe Haven (No. 3 with $21.4 million) is just a few steps behind.

This (Not Quite Over Yet) Weekend’s Losers: Off-brand animation from the Weinstein Company in Escape From Planet Earth (No. 4 with $16 million) proved to be anything but a great escape, while goth-lit maladaptation Beautiful Creatures was an unintentional horror show, taking just $7.4 million despite its source material’s sizable literary fan base.

How It All Went Down: Here in the States, Good Day is trailing 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard by about $8 million, but as one veteran producer of blockbuster films put it, “the movie blows, and McClane isn’t [James] Bond.”

Well, not quite, because it actually does share one thing in common with 007: You see, to you, it was Presidents’ Day weekend — but to Hollywood, it was a chance to uncork a blockbuster in far-flung countries that can’t even pronounce “Lincoln” without a phonetic guide. Worldwide, Good Day has knocked down some $80 million thus far overseas, and it’s yet to even unspool in China, France, Brazil, India, or Australia yet. And in this respect, A Good Day to Die Hard has far more in common with James Bond than you might think.

“Like Bond, most of its action will come from overseas,” said one current studio marketing chief at a rival studio. “I was joking the other day that America has become just another ‘territory’ … We are a mature market. Russia, China, and the rest are coming up fast.” (Indeed, as Deadline Hollywood notes, numerous South American territories posted grosses that were twice those of the last Die Hard film.)

Part of the problem back here in the States has to do with release date and MPAA rating: The prior Live Free or Die Hard was a PG-13 film released in the middle of summer, when kids were out of school and free to, well, die hard. While most kids are out of school today (and therefore able to stay out a bit later at the multiplex yesterday), the R-rating of Good Day means most are likely not in a position to enjoy it without fake I.D.

Meanwhile, Beautiful Creatures is a rare teen wizardry misfire from Warner Bros., alma mater to Harry Potter, et al. It went through all the requisite small-screen social media motions (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), but, like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Percy Jackson & the Olympians, the books’ fans sensed it wouldn’t rival how they imagined the books in their minds.

YBOE: Good Day to Die Hard Doesn’t Need the U.S.