Chart Watch

Chart Watch Extra: One Direction’s Box-office Stumble

Chart Watch

View gallery

.
One Direction: This Is Us ranked #2 at the box-office over the four-day Labor Day weekend. The movie about the red-hot boy band was vying to become only the third music concert movie to rank #1 at the box-office, following Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour and Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

The One Direction movie was, actually, #1 over the three-day weekend, but lost ground on Monday and was edged out by Lee Daniels' The Butler for the four-day weekend. The final, studio-reported tallies were $20,010,000 for The Butler and $18 million for the One Direction movie. If the One Direction movie had lived up to projections ($20.6 million), it would have squeezed out a victory. Instead, The Butler came out on top for the third weekend in a row.

The Butler, which stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, simply has broader appeal. Extensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom gave the civil rights movie special resonance.

One Direction: This Is Now is the fourth music concert movie that debuted and peaked at #2 at the box-office. The first three were U2: Rattle And Hum, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The U2 movie was released in November 1988, eight months after the band's 1987 album The Joshua Tree won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. JoBros' movie was released in February 2009 and the Bieber movie in February 2011.

Madonna: Truth Or Dare peaked at #3 at the box-office in May 1991.

So the Cyrus and Jackson movies remain the only two music concert movies to rank #1 at the box-office. The Cyrus movie was released in February 2008, when Cyrus, then 15, was known as a pert and wholesome Disney star. (How times change!) Jackson's movie was released in October 2009, just four months after his shocking death.

View gallery

.
Morgan Spurlock, best known for his satirical 2004 movie Super Size Me, directed One Direction: This Is Us. The movie's $18 million opening-weekend gross constitutes the fourth strongest opening weekend for a music concert movie. Cyrus’ movie leads with an opening-weekend gross of $31.1 million, followed by Bieber’s movie ($29.5 million), Jackson’s movie ($23.2 million),

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $73 million in the U.S. during its entire theatrical run. That's the record for a music concert movie, edging out Jackson’s movie ($72.1 million) and Cyrus’ movie ($65.3 million).

View gallery

.
Recent movies by Jonas Brothers and Katy Perry were considered box-office disappointments. JoBros' movie grossed $19.2 million. It opened in February 2009, six months after the brother trio peaked with the release of their third studio album A Little Bit Longer. (Six months may not sound like much, but it's a long time in teen idol terms. It’s a little like the concept of “dog years.”)

Perry’s movie debuted and peaked at #8 at the box-office in July 2012. It grossed $25.3 million.

View gallery

.
Other concert movies were even less successful. Glee The 3D Concert Movie debuted and peaked at #11 at the box-office in August 2011. It grossed just $11.9 million. The studio, Fox, found that fans were reluctant to pay to see something they had become accustomed to watching on TV for free.

A Rolling Stones concert movie, Shine A Light debuted and peaked at #15 at the box-office in April 2008. It grossed just $5.5 million in 2008. Bon Jovi: The Lost Highway did modest box-office in 2007. These acts simply don’t play to the demographics that are inclined to go to see a concert movie in a theater. The acts that work best are teen phenoms like Bieber and Cyrus.

View gallery

.
U2: Rattle And Hum and Madonna: Truth Or Dare aren’t the only music concert movies from the 1980s and 1990s that did well at the box-office. A list of top-grossing music concert movies at boxofficemojo.com also includes Talking Heads’ 1984 movie Stop Making Sense and Prince’s 1987 movie Sign O’ The Times.

Two artists have each starred in two music concert movies that made some noise at the box-office. Twenty years after U2: Rattle And Hum, the band starred in U2 3D. Neil Young starred in both Neil Young: Heart Of Gold (2006) and Neil Young Journeys (2012).

View gallery

.
One Direction has been setting records on the Billboard charts since the group broke through in this country in March 2012. The group’s first two albums, Up All Night and Take Me Home, both debuted at #1 on The Billboard 200. Those albums wound up as the #3 and #5 best-selling albums of 2012. It marked the first time since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking U.S. sales, that an act has had two albums in the year-end top five.

View gallery

.
The band has had three top five hits on the Hot 100: “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Live While We’re Young” and “Best Song Ever.” These last two songs both debuted at #1 on Hot Digital Songs.

The group’s music video, Up All Night—The Live Tour, has ranked #1 on the Top Music Videos chart for 31 weeks. That’s the longest run at #1 since the chart was introduced (as Top Music Videocassettes) in March 1985. It has sold 507K copies, which is good these days for a music video.

View gallery

.
P.S. Want to know what movies kept U2, JoBros and the Biebs out of the #1 spot at the weekend box-office? U2: Rattle And Hum was blocked from the top spot by the horror film They Live. Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Movie was blocked by Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail. Bieber’s movie was blocked by the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston rom-com, Just Go With It.

View Comments