A Good Day to Die Hard’ bests all rivals at box office

An unexpectedly large number of moviegoers took shelter at “Safe Haven” this weekend, nearly leaving “A Good Day to Die Hard” exposed.

The fifth installment in the Bruce Willis action franchise narrowly won the holiday weekend at the box office, but came in well below industry expectations. The latest Nicholas Sparks tear jerker had the opposite fate, selling far more tickets than projected, and the Melissa McCarthy comedy holdover “Identity Thief” also proved to be a more fearsome rival than initially thought.

“A Good Day to Die Hard” was barely able to steal No. 1 from “Identity Thief,” collecting a so-so $24.8 million over the weekend and $37.5 million in all since debuting late Wednesday, according to estimates from distributor 20th Century Fox. After its robust opening last weekend, the R-rated “Identity Thief” saw its ticket sales tumble only 32 percent, to $23.4 million, raising its overall total to $75.2 million.

“Safe Haven,” meanwhile, which hit theaters on Valentine’s Day, was supposed to make only around $25 million, but it ended up pocketing a surprisingly strong $34 million over the five-day period.

“Safe Haven” was critically panned, but that didn’t matter to couples looking for a romantic movie to see on Valentine’s Day. The film, about a young woman (Julianne Hough) who finds refuge from an abusive relationship with a widower (Josh Duhamel) in a quiet North Carolina town, cost Relativity Media about $28 million to produce.

Seventy-one percent of the opening weekend crowd was female, and 68 percent of the audience was under age 25.

McClatchy News Service