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The Heat hits $40 million in US as White House Down bombs

The Heat

Story by Jack Foley

SANDRA Bullock-Melissa McCarthy buddy cop comedy The Heat has taken a hot $40 million in the US in its debut weekend, marking another success for the Bridesmaids team of McCarthy and director Paul Feig.

Their success came at the expense of another high profile release, White House Down, which tanked with $25.7 million despite the on-screen pairing of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.

The Heat‘s performance wasn’t quite enough to over-power last week’s box office champion, Monsters University, which remained at No.1. But it did take second spot comfortably.

Chris Aronson, Fox’s president of domestic distribution, commented: “We positioned this movie as a female summer movie event, and it worked. That was the entire thrust of the marketing campaign, but due to the popularity of the stars and the storyline, men also turned out.”

The figures marked Bullock’s best opening weekend figures of her career. The Oscar winner’s previous best was for her Oscar-winning role in The Blind Side ($34.1 million).

White House Down‘s failure, however, marks Sony’s second summer flop after the Will Smith vehicle After Earth.

It cost an estimated $150 million to produce and is directed by Independence Day‘s Roland Emmerich, who also suffered one of his heaviest disappointments.

Ironically, the film attracted decent reviews and boasted the star wattage of Tatum and Foxx, both on hot runs following hits with, respectively, Django Unchained and Magic Mike.

But some pundits are laying the blame for the film following so closely after another ‘terrorists take over the White House thriller, Olympus Has Fallen, which opened to $30.4 million just three months ago.

Putting a brave face on it, a Sony spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter: “We couldn’t be more proud or supportive of the film Roland, Channing and Jamie created. This weekend’s launch is just the beginning.

“While White House Down opened in a few smaller countries this weekend, it will not begin to open in major overseas territories until mid-July and it will continue to roll out overseas well into the fall.”

There was some good news for Sony, however, as its R-rated comedt This Is The End continued to perform well, grossing $8.7 million in its third weekend for a US total of $74.7 million and sixth spot at the box office. The film opened in UK cinemas this weekend.

The US top five was therefore comprised of Monsters University (which took $46.2 million in its second weekend to bring its US total to $171 million), The Heat, Brad Pitt zombie flick World War Z (which continued to perform well ahead of expectation with $30 million to bring its US total to $124 million), White House Down and Man of Steel (which grossed $20.8 million in its third weekend for a US total of $248.7 million).

Globally, Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot has now jumped the $500 million mark.

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