2013 got off to a slow start. January was a dud, February was horrendous, but March picked up slack, but it wasn't good enough. March was the 3rd highest grossing and 8-10th highest attended March ever; so somewhat a plus. February doesn't crack the top 10 adjusted though. Things do look promising in the coming months.
So "why" you ask? Why the slow start? 2012, especially the first three months, set the BO on fire and 2012 broke oh so many records; so why does replacing the "2" with a "3" drag everything back down? Well there were a couple factors. Lack of family affair, violence, and poor reviews.
Violence. Violence, violence, violence. There was so much violence. After the extremely tragic events at Newtown in December, America was tired of seeing it; I know I was. 10 movies were released wide in January and of those 10, 9, yes 9 were rated R. Then there was a PG-13 horror tossed in there (which was the highest grossing of the month by far). Of those 8 R rated movies, 5 would qualify for "shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, chop-em-up" style. TV is also rattled with violence now and Americans were likely asking themselves "why go pay $10 at the theater to watch more violence?" It wasn't only the violence though; only 2 movies (one technically coming out in 2012) were given "fresh" reviews; Mama and Zero Dark Thirty.
February was even worse. Way worse. 11 movies (5 rated R, 0 G) were released wide in February and the biggest by far and currently #2 for the year was Identity Theft. Starring the red hot comics Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, IT was the first true comedy of the year, and the R rating didn't stop it. In wake of all the violence, all we needed was a little comedy. Though IT received poor reviews, audiences didn't care. The simple premise and comedic draws were enough to drive the crowds. Nick Sparks' PG-13 Safe Haven was second with $70M. Even though Die Hard 5 was #3 for February, it shouldn't have been. Die Hard 5 was the frontrunner to win the month and it crashed and burned (like many things in the movie). Negative reviews were probably the biggest killer for this as it opened somewhat solid over Valentines Weekend. Warm Bodies was the biggest surprise of the month, ranking #3 for zombie movies. Bullet to the Head (yes, that's the title), was the latest of R-rated shoot-em-up fare to fall victim to 2013 audiences not having it and it became a bomb for WB. Funny thing is they took out "killer" in the bomb Jack the Giant Slayer to make it more friendly. Maybe "Blow to the Head" or "Kiss to the Cheek" would have been better? Beautiful Creatures also had an ugly gross.
March was the best of the bunch, but it wasn't "march madness" from last year. Jack the Giant Slayer bombed hard and will lose WB over $150M. The college crowd wasn't ready to be 21 and Over as that made half of Project X's gross. There was Last Exorcism 2 that got zero demons out of anybody. Phantom bombed. Dead Man Down (another violent R) was DOA. Spring Breakers was solid and made back its budget, but the party was short. Burt Wonderstone was the latest tragedy for WB and is one of Carrel's and Carey's lowest grossers ever. And I hope no one was a host for the party for The Host, because no one came. WAIT! March did have a bright side. Olympus Has Fallen broke the streak of violent R failing and earned over $30M on OW. It is poised to finish between $80-$100M and is Film District's biggest hit yet. The Croods luckily was no Guardians. Croods, the first big animated family movie of the year, has been doing very well and should finish between $170M-$200M. Speaking of $200M, Oz was the biggest movie of the month and year so far, grossing $212M and $454M worldwide. That's a hefty number, but Oz likely won't break the black in theaters due to the insane budget and marketing costs. Good thing the 99 cent "Oz Temple Run" is lighting up the App Store. GI Joe 2 is also a solid hit and gave March a boost and Temptation and The Call had a strong openings. 15 movies went wide in March.
April doesn't look electrifying (does it ever?), but it won't be another "February". Summer 2013 though, looks gigantic and looks to be one of the biggest summer's ever. 2013 with the slow start could still pick up slack and get back on 2012 levels, but Summer will need to be a beast and the Holidays will need to live up to the hype. April could also provide some help to, which it's doing this weekend, with Evil Dead at #1, was bigger than the same weekend last year. There you go! We're getting somewhere.