‘2 Guns’ Blasts to $27M Box-Office Win With Boost From African-Americans

"Smurfs 2" can't get past "The Wolverine" and family film fatigue

Last Updated: July 16, 2014 @ 3:49 PM

The team of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg blasted their way to the top spot at the box office, as the action comedy “2 Guns” won the weekend with a $27.3 million debut for Universal.

“The reason for going to see this movie was Denzel and Mark,” Universal’s head of distribution Nikki Rocco told TheWrap. “The director Baltasar Kormaku did a great job of showing off their chemistry and delivering with the action, our marketing team played it just right, and it clicked.”

Critics were cool to “2 Guns” (58 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) but audiences, which broke down 51 percent women and 77 percent over 25 years of age, gave it a “B+” CinemaScore.

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Minority audiences turned out in force, with Hispanics making up 14 percent of the crowd and African-Americans a whopping 28 percent.

“That’s Denzel,” Rocco said. “And it’s a solid action film, too.

The week’s other wide opener, the family film “The Smurfs 2,” took in $18.2 million over the three days and finished third behind last week’s No. 1 movie, the Hugh Jackman superhero sequel “The Wolverine,” which wound up with $21.7 million in its second week.

Battling family fatigue in a summer loaded with films aimed at kids, Sony’s live action-animated 3D mash-up has taken in a soft $27.7 million domestically since opening Wednesday. But the real target for this movie is foreign audiences.

The original “Smurfs” made more than $420 million overseas in 2010, and this one should top that. It opened in 43 foreign markets this weekend and took in $52.5 million.

The horror movie “The Conjuring” and family film “Despicable Me 2” both held very strongly to finish fourth and fifth, with $13.6 and $10.3 million respectively. The animated film’s indefatigable minions passed the $700 million mark worldwide over the weekend.

Overall, the weekend was strong, with the domestic box office up by about 10 percent over the comparable weekend last year. 

The R-rated “2 Guns” didn’t hit the $30 million some analysts has expected, but it’s still another feather in the box office cap for Denzel Washington. It’s the 11th consecutive wide opening film to debut north of $20 million for Washington, according to BoxOffice Mojo.

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In this one, directed by Baltasar Kormaku from a script by Blake Masters, he plays a DEA agent who finds himself on the run with a naval intelligence officer (Wahlberg) after an attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel goes bad. Paula Patton, Bill Paxton and Fred Ward co-star.

“2 Guns” reunited Wahlberg with Universal for the first time since last year’s breakout box-office hit “Ted” and represents a box-office rebound for him. Earlier this year, Wahlberg was in Paramount’s “Pain and Gain” and Fox’s “Broken City,” both of which disappointed.

The No. 1 opening is the seventh of the year for Universal, out of nine releases. “Despicable Me 2,” “Fast and Furious 6,” “Identity Thief,” “Mama,” “Oblivion” and “The Purge” have debuted in the top spot. Only the “Jurassic Park” 3D re-release and “R.I.P.D.” missed.

The critics were lukewarm on “2 Guns” and audience gave it a “B+” CinemaScore.

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“2 Guns” was in 3,025 theaters, considerably less than “The Wolverine” (3.924) or “The Smurfs 2” (3,866).

“The Smurfs 2’ hit its demographic target. Eighty percent of the audience was families, and they gave it an “A-” CinemaScore. But the presence of the rival family films “Despicable Me 2’ and “Turbo” had to hurt. Disney had a hit with “Monsters University” last month and opens “Planes” next weekend, and the extremely crowded animated field put the “The Smurfs” at a disadvantage from the start.

“We’re a little disappointed in the domestic numbers, but there is a lot of PG DNA in the market right now, and $80 million is a great worldwide number,” Sony’s distribution chief Rory Bruer said Sunday.

Warner Bros.' "The Conjuring" upped its domestic total to $108 million in its third week. That's just a 41 percent drop from last week — an exceptional hold given horror films' typical propensity for steep dropoffs after their first week.

Sony's Adam Sandler comedy "Grown Ups 2" added $8.1 million and raised its domestic total to $116 million after four weeks.

The DreamWorks animated snail tale "Turbo" took in $6.4 million to up its total after three weeks to nearly $70 million. That was enough to top Summit's "Red 2," which made $5.6 million over the weekend and has taken in $45 million in the U.S. in three weeks.

The Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy comedy "The Heat" ($4.7 million) and Warner Bros. giant robots epic "Pacific Rim" ($4.5 million) rounded out the top ten.