Coming off the biggest September weekend ever, it was a given that the box-office would go down as the marketplace around this year is still not ready to sustain too many movies making $10+ million over a weekend. Just like all four releases have posted at least decent numbers last weekend, three out of four openers this frame remained well below expectations as the Top 3 films were holdovers. The Top 12 cume of $91.2 million was down 13.9% from the last weekend, yet still 5.7% up from last year thanks to the holdovers’ strength.
Rising from the third spot to the top of the box-office, the 3D family adventure Dolphin Tale dipped only 25.6% for a $14.2 million weekend and a $37.5 million total, reaching its production budget inn just ten days. The good hold was to be expected. The movie managed to score a rare terrific “A+” grade from CinemaScore and faced no new competition whatsoever. Future prospects look equally bright as there won’t be any full-on family films released until Puss in Boots on October 28th and no new 3D movies until The Three Musketeers a week earlier. It’s not often nowadays that the gap between two 3D releases is that long and Dolphin Tale should definitely end up as a huge benefactor of that. Set to dominate the family segment for weeks to come, Dolphin Tale should find itself with a $95-105 million total when it will leave the theatres.
Even though Moneyball has won its second Friday in a row, the acclaimed baseball drama had to settle for the #2 spot once again. The Brad Pitt starrer took in $12.5 million (down 35.9%) for a running total of $38.5 million after ten days. As another film with great word-of-mouth to boot and likely awards buzz to arrive soon, Moneyball should enjoy a very healthy remainder of its run at the box-office. The final outcome will depend on how strong the awards buzz will be, but as long as it manages to stay in theatres into December, it should see some boosts then again. I expect it to wind up with around $80-90 million, unless it actually manages to score some wins along with its likely nominations at the Oscars.
Relinquishing its top spot in its third weekend, the surprise hit re-issue of The Lion King in 3D lost 49.6% of its audiences over the weekend and added $11.1 million to its total, bringing the cumulative gross to $79.7 million. Its overall domestic lifetime gross now stands at $408.2 million, putting it ahead of Spider-Man and into the all-time Top 10. It has been a tremendous performance for this film. The harsher drop can easily be explained by the BluRay of the film having hit the shelves. Now originally the entire re-release was supposed to be a two-week limited engagement deal. However, as it usually happens when such a movie breaks out, the distributor keeps it in theatres for longer. Nevertheless, with the film available for home video now, the interest of moviegoers seems to be vanishing and the film’s box-office future now depends on how long Disney is willing to keep it in theatres for. There’s no question about the film rising up a few more spots on the all-time domestic chart and Toy Story 3 ($415 million) should fall soon as well. The question is: does it have enough gas left in the tank to pass Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’s total to (once again) become Disney’s biggest grosser domestically? I think it should edge it out eventually, but the path there will be rocky and will require for at least some theatres to keep playing it for a few more weeks. Right now I see a $95-100 million finish for the re-release, giving it a cumulative domestic total of $423-428 million. Looks like Shrek 2’s reign as the biggest animated film ever will continue afterall.
Even though the highly acclaimed dramedy 50/50 ended up being the weekend’s biggest opener, bringing in $8.9 million from 2,458 theatres for a per-theatre-average of $3,604, the opening is still nothing to write home about. It funny that the biggest of the four openers this weekend still made less money than last weekend’s smallest opener (Killer Elite which bowed to $9.4 million). Now 50/50 should still have a solid run ahead of itself as not just the reviews, but also the WoM for it is strong. Nevertheless, due to its less-than-amazing average, it won’t stay in theatres for long enough in order to truly develop impressive legs. Therefore, it will leave the theatres with around $29-32 million. At least that is still enough to make it one of Summit Entertainment’s ten biggest films.
Even though it has been released in just 1,161 theatres, Courageous won Friday and almost became the weekend’s biggest opener, having settled for the #5 spot overall.. The Christian-themed drama made $8.8 million for a terrific PTA of $7,580. The film’s director Alex Kendrick has already directed two very successful faith-based movies in the past – Facing the Giants and Fireproof. Both films have opened at the last weekend of September, just like Courageous. Facing the Giants opened to $1.3 million in just 441 theatres back in September 2006. It didn’t have a particularly impressive average, but developed terrific legs and finished with $10.2 million, giving it a multiplier of 7.57. Fireproof has been given a wider release and stunned everyone with a $6.8 million start from just 839 theatres. It also went on to become a leggy hit with a multiplier of 4.89 and a $33.5 million total. Therefore Courageous’ success is not unexpected, but it still lived up to all expectations. If the aforementioned movies are anything to go by, then we’re in for some really good legs once again (especially as WoM seems to be terrific among the target audiences). The film should gross around $35-40 million.
Jim Sheridan’s critically lambasted horror thriller Dream House couldn’t muster a really good opening, as the film bowed in 2,661 theatres with a $8.2 million star, giving it an average of $3,085 per theatre. The opening was enough to occupy the 6th spot of the chart this weekend. With competition in form of Paranormal Activity 3 and The Thing ahead as well as terrible reviews, I don’t expect any good legs for this, though the adult-oriented cast (Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts) might help the longevity a bit. It should make $21-23 million by the end of its run.
Tyler Lautner’s first major vehicle, Abduction, delivered the worst hold of all second-weekend holdovers this weekend. The film decreased 48.3% for a $5.7 million frame and a $19.1 million total as it slipped three spots to #7. Considering the amounts of new competition and the horrible reviews (as well as frontloading which was to be expected due to Twilight fans) this is actually not such a bad hold. Nevertheless, it is playing in over 3,100 theatres now and its average is really low. That means that it won’t hang around for long as it’ll shed screens and theatres like crazy soon. It’ll end up in the vicinity of $28 million and could very well become John Singleton’s lowest-grossing film since Rosewood in 1997.
The crown of the biggest loser this weekend should clearly go to the Anna Faris/Chris Evans raunchy romcom What’s Your Number? Being the widest new release this weekend, Number opened to just $5.6 million from 3,002 venues for a pathetic 1,865 average. For comparison, that’s barely higher than Conation’s fourth-week average. So what exactly went wrong here? Faris delivered a solid hit with The House Bunny a few years back. That one, however, had a PG-13 rating despite its Playboy bunny theme. Number’s R-rating definitely hurt it a lot. Moreover, Faris’ character in The House Bunny seemed more fitting her talents than her generic part in What’s Your Number. Either way, its disastrous opening is the 5th-worst ever for a movie opening in more than 3,000 theatres (only behind Hoot, Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, Meet Dave and Imagine That). It won’t enjoy any longer life at the box-office either and should soon disappear with $13 million.
Dropping to #9, Contagion was down 40.4% this weekend as it added $5 million to its total bringing it to $64.7 million. This has been a solid run for this star-studded flick, but one can’t help but feel that it’s slightly behind expectations set by its good opening and really solid 2nd-weekend hold. Obviously competition is hurting it a lot, but while The Town was able to withstand the onslaught of new releases last year, Contagion is suffering more, even though it also has IMAX screens to boost its grosses. Contagion will find its way to a $76 million total.
Rounding off the Top 10, Killer Elite made $4.9 million (down 48.1%) in its sophomore weekend, bringing its running total to $17.4 million. It’s a rather mediocre total for a movie with this much acting talent involved, but on the other hand it is just following the trajectory of your typical Jason Statham actioner and will finish with $25 million.
Despite its unfortunate “C” CinemaScore-grade, Drive is managing to avoid truly bad drop. Even though it dropped out of the Top 10, down to #11, this weekend, the arthouse action thriller made $3.3 million (down 42.1%) and brought its running cume to $27.1 million. The $15 million budgeted feature is now a clear hit for FilmDistrict. I don’t see it going much further from now on as new competition will cost it a lot of theatres (it has already lost over 900 this weekend). I project it to end up with $33 million.
Spending its eighth and possibly last week in the Top 12, The Help slipped down to the #12 spot. The Southern drama collected another $3 million over the weekend as it dropped 31.2%. Its current total stands at a humongous $159.4 million. As I have said before, its final total will depend on how long it’ll stay in theatres for as the film will most definitely enjoy some strong awards buzz come this awards season. I still see it eventually getting into the $170-175 million range.