By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
September 30, 2012
For his part, only weeks after Premium Rush failed to sustain the momentum of The Dark Knight Rises, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stakes a claim to a legitimate blockbuster of his own. The co-star of Christopher Nolan’s final Batman movie as well as the director’s aforementioned 2010 epic, Inception, has been struggling to find his niche as a lead actor. Levitt reuniting with his Brick director, Johnson, may not seem like a commercial decision on the surface yet this is the rare instance where both the actor and the director were ready to break out. No one could deny the talent of either of them; still, the duo was in the same position of needing a hit to prove they were more than hype.
Audiences were decidedly mixed on Looper. Its B Cinemascore reflects the fact that a lot of head scratching was performed during the film. This is in stark contrast to critics, who are rapturous over Looper. It is 93% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, 95% among top critics. In other words, Looper will be a popular outsider candidate during awards season while its run in theaters may be shortened due to the complexity of the subject matter. Young men showed up on opening weekend. The question is whether this momentum is sustainable in later weeks of theatrical release. Given Looper’s frugal $30 million budget, the film will be profitable within its first week of release no matter what.
Third place goes to End of Watch, which holds well compared to its debut last weekend. The Open Road Films cop movie featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena earned $8 million from Friday-to-Sunday, down 38%. Its cumulative total is now $26.2 million, which compares quite favorably to its estimated $7 million budget. Remember, too that Open Road is a joint venture from theater chains Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment, so they are not looking at the same financial split that most distributors would have to consider.
House at the End of the Street slides from second to fifth place this week. The Relativity Media release was busted last Monday for over-estimating its weekend total by over $700k in order to claim a tie for first place. This weekend, the Jennifer Lawrence horror flick fell 42% from $12.3 million to $7.2 million. Given last week’s estimate, we are understandably dubious about the validity of the $7.2 million. Anything under 50% would still represent a solid second weekend hold for a forgettable genre flick such as this, though. Lawrence’s name clearly means something to consumers who would otherwise be on the fence about House at the End of the Street.
Universal Pictures attempted something novel this weekend with the payoff extreme. Pitch Perfect, released in 335 locations, earned an absolutely massive $5.2 million. Yes, you read that correctly. Pitch Perfect delivered a whopping $15,560 per location. The choir flick has the highest per-location average in the top ten, besting even the number one film, Hotel Transylvania. Pitch Perfect is poised to become an explosive box office performer next weekend when it expands into wide release. This will happen by design as Universal correctly determined that they had a potential blockbuster on their hands.