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Weekend Wrap-Up

New Releases Shelved As Holdovers Dominate

By John Hamann

October 2, 2011

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Eking out a fourth place finish is 50/50, the 92% fresh Seth Rogen/Joesph Gordon-Levitt film. 50/50 took in only $8.85 million this weekend, well off what its distributor, Summit Entertainment, and tracking had hoped for (about $12 million). Obviously people don't want to go see a movie about a guy with cancer and its effect on his friendship. This is a shame, as 50/50 takes a serious subject matter and adds laughs, enabling us to learn and take something away. Regardless of subject, this is another well-reviewed flick that audiences have abandoned. Exactly a year ago it was Let Me In (90% fresh, $5.1 million opening, $12 million finish), and two weekends ago it was Drive ($11.3 million opening, 50% second weekend drop). I find it disappointing that these good films are left on the table, and the big business is going to recycled movies like The Lion King 3D. Can 50/50 recover from an opening like this? No.

Courageous, a faith-based film (our second in the top five) distributed by Sony, is fifth this weekend. The film, made by the Sherwood Baptist Church and starring no one, earned $8.8 million. It opened on 1,161 venues, and had an average of $7,580. Made by the same group of volunteers who did Kirk Cameron's Fireproof, Courageous is hoping for the same result. Fireproof cost the church $500,000 to make, and earned $33.5 million. This one cost twice as much, and will likely make more.

Horror film Dream House is sixth this weekend, as the trend away from scary movies continues. Dream House, which stars Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz, flopped this weekend, earning only $8.2 million. This is a story of the talent, director and production company clashing over the final product, as Morgan Creek pulled a Brazil and cut their own version of the movie. Due to that, the stars refused to participate in the marketing of the film and it earned a 6% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. This one cost Morgan Creek and Fox $50 million to make, and it will be extremely lucky to make $20 million in theatres. If you think you need to see this film, you don't, at least until a different cut is released on DVD.

Another classic is seventh, as Tyler Lautner's Abduction hangs on for another weekend. After earning almost $11 million last weekend, Abduction earns $5.7 million in its second frame, and falls 48%. This $35 million Lionsgate effort has now earned $19.1 million, and we shouldn't hear about it again until the Razzies are awarded.




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Oh, we are not done with the really bad films just yet. Next up is What's Your Number? with Anna Faris and Chris Evans. What's Your Number? earned only $5.6 million, and is another complete waste of the talent that is Anna Faris. This was 22% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and sounds a lot like one of those sitcoms that gets cancelled after three airings. Made for $20 million, this one won't cost Fox too much, but I bet those who saw it want their money back.

Contagion, Steven Soderbergh's film about an event plague, finishes ninth. Contagion earned $5 million in its fourth weekend, and dropped 40% from last weekend. The $60 million Warner Bros. flick has now earned $64.7 million, and is just getting started overseas.

Tenth is Killer Elite, the Jason Statham/Clive Owen/Robert DeNiro action flick that failed to engage audiences. In its second weekend, Killer Elite earned $4.9 million and dropped 48%. Elite cost its makers $70 million to get it to movie theatres, and it will be lucky to find a domestic gross of $30 million.

Overall this weekend, despite three fairly major flops, the box office abides. The top 12 films earned a respectable $92.7 million, thanks to the three strong holdovers. A year ago, the top 12 earned $86.2 million, as it was propelled by the first weekend of The Social Network. Next weekend brings two higher profile films in The Ides of March with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, and Reel Steel, the Hugh Jackman movie about boxing robots.


Top Weekend Box Office for 9/30/11-10/2/11 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Dolphin Tale Warner Bros. $14,245,000 - 26% $37,516,000
2 Moneyball SONY $12,500,000 -36% $38,469,000
3 The Lion King 3d WALT DISNEY $11,100,000 -49% $79,700,000
4 50/50 Summit Entertainment $8,848,000 New $8,848,000
5 Courageous SONY $8,800,000 New $8,800,000
6 Dream House Universal $8,209,185 New $8,209,185
7 Abduction Lions Gate $5,650,000 - 48% $19,139,188
8 What's Your Number? Twentieth Century Fox $5,600,000 New $5,600,000
9 Contagion Warner Bros. $5,040,000 - 40% $64,702,000
10 Killer Elite Open Road Films $4,855,000 - 48% $17,425,000
11 Drive FilmDistrict $3,337,484 - 42% $27,050,799
12 The Help DreamWorks $3,000,000 - 31% $159,400,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil Magnolia $60,000 New $60,000
  Take Shelter Sony Pictures Classics $56,171 New $56,171
  Munger Road Freestyle $38,855 New $38,855
  Finding Joe Balcony $9,571 New $9,571
  Margaret Fox Searchlight $7,496 New $7,496
  Benda Bilili! Nat'l Geographic $1,722 New $1,722
  Machine Gun Preacher Relativity $82,000 + 82% $140,199
  Puncture $10,440 - 64% $46,337
  Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain Vivendi/codeblack $750,000 - 34% $6,250,000
  Rise of the Planet of the Apes Twentieth Century Fox $540,000 - 54% $174,481,554
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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