Even without Matt Damon, The Bourne Legacy easily debuted in first place this weekend ahead of Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis political comedy The Campaign and box office behemoth The Dark Knight Rises. Also, after a quiet mid-week start Hope Springs saw a nice jump in attendance over the weekend. The Top 12 grossed an estimated $138.3 million, which is up a bit from the same weekend last year.
Reboot/spin-off The Bourne Legacy debuted to an estimated $40.27 million at 3,745 locations. That's on par with recent Bond franchise reboot Casino Royale ($40.8 million) and is in between The Bourne Identity ($27.1 million) and The Bourne Supremacy ($52.5 million). Legacy's debut was off 42 percent from 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum (the last entry with Damon in the lead), and that decline is directly in between those for recent franchise reboots X-Men: First Class (off 53 percent from The Last Stand) and The Amazing Spider-Man (down 30 percent from Spider-Man 3 over its first five days).
While it didn't set the box office on fire, this is a fine opening for what has always been a challenging project. Matt Damon is Jason Bourne, and the pivot to Jeremy Renner put a lot of pressure on the marketing team to justify the reboot. By showing a connection with the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, and by relentlessly pushing the tagline "There Was Never Just One," it seemed like audiences eventually accepted the idea of expanding the Bourne universe. All the effort it took to make that sell took away from time that could have been spent selling the goods that the movie itself had to offer, though. All this added up to a competent debut that's still on the lower end of what was possible for another entry in such a strong franchise.
According to distributor Universal Pictures, the audience was 52 percent male and 69 percent were 30 years-of-age and older. They awarded the movie a middling "B" CinemaScore, which doesn't suggest great word-of-mouth. Especially concerning is the widespread complaint about the movie's abrupt ending, which could lead to steep drop-offs moving forward (it doesn't help that The Expendables 2 is targeting the exact same older male audience next weekend).
In second place, The Campaign scored an estimated $27.44 million from 3,205 locations. That's a bit behind similar Will Ferrell Summer comedies Anchorman ($28.4 million) and Step Brothers ($30.9 million), and more noticeably off from The Other Guys ($35.5 million) and Talladega Nights ($47 million). That being said, it's a fantastic opening for the box-office-challenged political satire genre: in fact, it's the highest debut ever for a movie centered around a political campaign.
The movie was awarded a disappointing "B-" CinemaScore, which isn't particularly encouraging for its long-term prospects. However, the upcoming release schedule is surprisingly devoid of any direct comedy competition, which should help the movie play well through at least the rest of August.
After leading for three-straight weeks, The Dark Knight Rises fell to third place with an estimated $19.54 million (a 45 percent drop from last weekend). The conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has now earned $390.2 million, which is good for 15th on the all-time domestic chart.
Hope Springs opened in fourth place with $15.6 million this weekend, which brought it's five-day total to $20 million. That five-day figure is identical to star Meryl Streep's Julie & Julia's three-day debut at the same time in 2009. That movie went on to hold very well and make it all the way to $94.1 million: Hope Springs almost certainly won't get to that level (its "B" CinemaScore could hurt it a bit), but the fact that it's geared so specifically towards older audiences suggests it could hang on strong in the long-run.
Distributor Sony Pictures reported that the audience was 66 percent female and 69 percent were 40 years-of-age or older.
In its second outing, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days fell 44 percent to an estimated $8.2 million. That's a much better hold than either of the previous Wimpy Kid movies (both of which dropped at least 54 percent), though its weekend gross and gross-to-date ($30.6 million) were both lower.
Thanks to some truly toxic word-of-mouth, the Total Recall remake plummeted 68 percent to an estimated $8.1 million this weekend. That drop is identical to that of last Summer's much-maligned Conan the Barbarian remake, which suggests that maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger movies need to just be left alone. Total Recall has now earned a meager $44.2 million, and is going to need some outstanding overseas grosses to avoid being dubbed one of the biggest bombs of 2012.
Way down in 13th place, Nitro Circus the Movie 3D debuted to an estimated $1.17 million this weekend for a five-day total of $2.15 million. That's better than X Games 3D The Movie's $837,216 debut in August 2009, but it's still a pretty weak figure for a nationwide release.