Couples Retreat opens fantastically, but it's not the biggest story of the weekend.
Friday Box Office Analysis
By Tim Briody
October 10, 2009
The [bp:67_]Vince Vaughn[/bp] comedy opened on Friday to a very solid $12.3 million. The wide-appeal of this comedy, something the box office hasn't had since probably The Hangover, as well as being the only new wide release in a marketplace with little to get excited about contributed to this breakout success. It's likely the number one date movie option this weekend, and again with its wide audience appeal, has the makings for a very solid weekend. Based on the higher than anticipated Friday number, I'll go with a 2.8 weekend multiplier and a $34.4 million weekend, but there's certainly some upward movement possible here.
Want to feel old? The Blair Witch Project was ten years ago. The movie that has been dubbed the spiritual successor to that film is Paranormal Activity. Starring absolutely nobody and shot on a handheld camera by one guy with no real script for $15,000, you can see why comparisons have been made.
The adventure that Paranormal Activity (shot in 2007) has taken to get to this point is rather impressive (including a planned bigger budget remake that was scrapped) and it culminated with a release in 13 theaters in "college towns" two weeks ago. The film's director invited people to go to a Web site and demand that the film be brought to their town as well. The limited viewings and Internet buzz were so successful that the film expanded to 33 theaters last weekend and is now in 159 theaters this week.
In those 159 theaters, Paranormal Activity earned $2.5 million on Friday. That's one hell of a per-screen average. This is now a true box office phenomenon and something to watch over the next couple of weeks. A weekend of $7.2 million is just absolutely spectacular and a wonderful success story.
Last week's breakout hit, Zombieland cannot turn its solid word of mouth into avoiding a big dropoff as it falls 50% from last Friday to $4.8 million. To be fair, it certainly could have been worse and it's still a win for all involved. Give it a second weekend take of $14.6 million.