Weekend Wrap-Up

Paranormal Active, Saw Lacks Teeth

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

October 25, 2009

They're laughing at you, Jigsaw. You must be spinning in your grave.

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Couples Retreat, the comedy starring Vince Vaughn and an ensemble of other recognizable performers, finishes in fifth place with $11.1 million. After dropping about 50% last weekend, it has leveled out a bit in its third frame with a 36% decline. That's what bland-looking comedy will do for you. It becomes the compromise choice in a weekend that offers only scary, violent movies or kid flicks. Couples Retreat has earned $78.2 for Universal, easily making back its $60 million production budget and all but ensuring a Couples Retreat 2 will appear sometime in the future.

Sixth place goes to a rather sad performance from the 3-D animated Astro Boy, from Summit Entertainment (the same people responsible for the Twilight series). Although it's based on a popular anime series, it's not something that people particularly remember or even like much, at least not in North America. The movie managed $7 million in a very wide 3,014 locations, which means that its per venue average is really not good at $2,328. If there's any good news to be taken from Astro Boy's performance, it's that it had a stellar weekend multiplier (weekend box office divided by Friday gross) of 3.77. That does mean that it's performing like a typical family film, and it should at least be able to have a decent hold next weekend based on these early indicators. A solid 71% Fresh rating at RottenTomatoes will help. Unfortunately, that's not going to be enough to make this a profitable venture, as the budget had to be fairly significant.

The Stepfather, which had a surprisingly good showing last weekend, hangs around in seventh place and doesn't fall as much as horror flicks usually do. The bland terror thriller that stars a guy from Nip/Tuck and Lonely Boy from Gossip Girl earned $6.5 million and declined 44% from the previous frame. So far, The Stepfather has earned $20.4 million for Sony, which means it's going to make money and continues to ensure that this sort of bland, PG-13 rated horror will have a place in theaters.


Coming up in eighth is Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, which combined so many genres that it had to be a little confusing to the audience that might have sought it out. Based on a young adult book series, the movie threw together horror, adventure, comedy and thrills, and hoped that kids would see something in the mix that they liked. This turned out to be perplexing more than anything, as the movie earned only $6.3 in its debut weekend in 2,754 venues, which means it had a pathetic location average of $2,065. With a 36% Rotten rating at RottenTomatoes, it could have been worse, but it doesn't really appear that there's much reason for any audience to throw support behind this one. There might be a vampire craze in pop culture, but people want their bloodsuckers to be broody and romantic, not goofy and, well, looking like John C. Reilly.

Ninth and tenth go to a couple of Sony films that have been hanging around the top ten for a few weeks. The first of these is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, the 3-D animated movie that might have done even better if the studio had timed its release differently. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs earned $5.6 million in its sixth frame, dropping only 30%. Its grand total of $115.2 million has to have the suits at Sony very happy indeed. They're probably pretty pleased with the performance of the horror/comedy Zombieland as well, which closes out the top ten as it earns $4.3 million and falls 44% from last weekend. Its total so far of $67.3 million is about triple its production budget, and will go down as one of the true success stories of 2009.

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