Pulp

From the box office: Feb. 1-3

Super Bowl weekend is typically one of the slowest box office weekends of the year, and this weekend was no exception. The overall box office was down more than 22 percent compared to last week, with only one successful debut in “Warm Bodies.” Other new releases included “Bullet to the Head” and “Stand Up Guys,” both of which bombed.

Summit Entertainment’s “Warm Bodies” took the top spot this weekend with more than $20.3 million. The film is rare in that it is a “zom-rom-com” (zombie romantic comedy) about a zombie who falls in love with a woman and slowly begins to come back to life. The film was well-embraced by audiences, who gave it a B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Additionally, Summit (the studio behind such series as “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games”) created an effective marketing campaign, opting to highlight the comedic and romantic aspects of the film through its teasers and trailers. This was effective in that it targeted two different demographics: men, who were drawn to the comedic nature of the film, and women, who were drawn to the romance. Thus, the audience skewed 60 percent women, which is atypical of zombie films.

Summit also released the first four minutes of the film online, which generated online buzz and persuaded viewers to go to the theater to continue watching the rest. The film will definitely benefit next week from Valentine’s Day, and should be a hit, given that it only cost $30 million to produce.

Warner Bros. new release “Bullet to the Head,” starring Sylvester Stallone, opened with an embarrassing $4.5 million, behind a production budget of $55 million. The one prize this film takes is that it is Stallone’s worst opening gross in more than 30 years. Warner Bros. spent no effort on a marketing campaign, opting to focus the attention solely on its main star Stallone, rather than actually showcasing what is distinctive about the film. Congrats, Sylvester.

It seems surprising, almost strange, that a film with a trio of stars in Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin could debut at the box office with disappointing results. Yet, that was the case with “Stand Up Guys,” which opened with just under $1.5 million in 659 theaters. The poor opening is most likely a result of poor reviews and a lack of marketing effort to promote the film.

—Compiled by Ian Tecklin, staff writer, ijteckli@syr.edu

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