Weekend Wrap-Up

Recycling the Classics Big at the Box Office, For Now

By John Hamann

September 18, 2011

Meow at the moon.

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For Ryan Gosling, Drive is actually one of the better openers of his career. Despite him having more movies before it, I remember him first as the dude from The Notebook, which opened to $13 million but went on to earn $80 million. He then did some small films like Lars and the Real Girl and Half Nelson, which were both largely critically loved, but didn't earn a whole lot. Blue Valentine, the steamy drama he did with Michelle Williams, was again critically well received, but only earned $9.7 million from domestic cinemas (albeit against a budget of $1 million). Then came this summer's Crazy, Stupid Love, which Gosling did with Steven Carell. That has turned into a minor hit, as it opened to $19 million and has pulled in about $81 million. Next up for Gosling is The Ides of March, George Clooney's new political thriller. It opens in October and also stars Clooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti.

The Help is fourth this weekend as its able to leapfrog Straw Dogs following Friday grosses. Now in its sixth weekend, the film made by DreamWorks (and others) and then released by Disney's Touchstone Entertainment, earned $6.4 million and dropped 28%. The film about race relations in the south is starting to lose steam, but you can't take the shine off the gross so far of $147.4 million – all against a budget of only $25 million.

Fifth is Straw Dogs, the new horror thriller from Sony/Screen Gems. From director Rod Lurie, this is a remake of a Sam Peckinpah flick with Dustin Hoffman in the lead role (little did they know, they could have converted the original to 3D and gotten rich). This version laughably starred James Marsden in the lead role with Kate Bosworth from Blue Crush as the wife. Obviously, no one bought it, as the film earned only $5 million from 2,408 venues. The original Straw Dogs sits at 93% at RottenTomatoes - this version, a lowly 38% . This one was not intended to make people think. It is there only for the violence, and horror is just on the outs right now. This has to be hard for Screen Gems, as this is the studio that's had a lot of success with horror, and films released in September in general. Just a year ago, Screen Gems had Resident Evil Afterlife and Easy A in theaters. Easy A was a $58 million hit against an $8 million budget; Afterlife made $300 million worldwide.

Sixth, and the last of our new releases is Sarah Jessica Parker's I Don't Know How She Does It. It earned only $4.5 million this weekend, as it seems like there are a lot of people like me who will only watch this one if hell serves it up. It was the low ranking film in terms of reviews this weekend (20% fresh), and thankfully the lowest opener. I hope the Weinsteins spent a fortune making this.

Seventh is the The Debt, Helen Mirren's foray into espionage films, at least beyond that of RED. The Debt took in another $2.9 million this weekend, off a not bad 39% from last weekend. The Debt has done want it wanted to in North America – its earned more than the production budget of $20 million, as it has running total of $26.5 million. Now it can run across Europe and Asia and make a serious profit.

Eighth is Lionsgate's Warrior, the well reviewed MMA flick that did not get off to a strong start last weekend, and will likely end up with cult status. After opening to only $5.2 million, Warrior holds not badly, but its much too little, much to late. Warrior brought in another $2.8 million this weekend, and dropped 47%. All of a sudden the 82% fresh Warrior, with its $25 million budget, stands to lose quite a bit of money, especially considering the marketing campaign. Give it a total so far of $9.9 million.

Ninth is Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and after seven weekends in the top ten, is preparing to move onto movie heaven. Rise earned another $2.6 million and dropped 32% this weekend. It has earned a surprisingly large $171.6 million stateside, and has cleared the $200 million mark overseas.

Finishing in tenth is Colombiana, Zoe Saldana's revenge flick. Colombiana earned $2.3 million this weekend and was off 42%. It has earned $33.3 million stateside, and about $15 million overseas, versus a production budget of $40 million.

Overall this weekend, The Lion King did help the box office succeed. A year ago, The Town was on top, pulling in $23.8 million, and it was trailed closely by the upstart Easy A, which opened to $17.7 million. These films led the box office to $87.3 million, an above average score for a middle weekend in September. This weekend, the box office had a similar score, with a combined top 12 score of $84.8 million. Next weekend, four new films take over 12,000 venues. They are Abduction from Lionsgate, Dolphin Tale from Warner Bros., and two good films: Moneyball, with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, and Killer Elite, starring DeNiro, Statham and Clive Owen. Hopefully, a 3D Pinocchio doesn't show up and ruin the party.

Top Weekend Box Office for 9/16/11-9/18/11 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Lion King 3d WALT DISNEY $29,300,000 New $29,300,000
2 Contagion Warner Bros. $14,480,000 - 35% $44,192,000
3 Drive Filmdistrict $11,018,464 New $11,018,464
4 The Help DreamWorks $6,438,000 - 28% $147,365,000
5 Straw Dogs Sony/Screen Gems $5,000,000 New $5,000,000
6 I Don't Know How She Does It Weinstein Co. $4,502,000 New $4,502,000
7 The Debt Focus Features $2,945,897 - 38% $26,543,546
8 Warrior Lionsgate $2,770,000 - 47% $9,912,300
9 Rise of the Planet of the Apes Twentieth Century Fox $2,625,000 - 32% $171,618,406
10 Colombiana Sony/Columbia $2,300,000 - 42% $33,347,000
11 Shark Night 3D Relativity Media $1,800,000 - 47% $17,325,000
12 Crazy, Stupid, Love Warner Bros. $1,600,000 - 29% $80,770,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Restless Sony Classics $17,285 New $17,285
  Connected Paladin $17,100 New $17,100
  Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain Vivendi/codeblack $1,125,000 - 41% $3,525,000
  Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star Sony/Columbia $380,000 - 73% $2,316,000
  Apollo 18 Weinstein Co. $1,073,000 - 62% $16,861,000
  Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Miramax $1,066,790 - 51% $22,725,701
  Our Idiot Brother Weinstein Co. $1,245,000 - 53% $23,622,000
  Spy Kids: All the Time In the World Weinstein Co. $1,597,000 - 36% $36,064,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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