Box Office Briefs: 'No Strings' and Lots of Moola

Box Office Briefs: 'No Strings' and Lots of Moola

Jan 24, 2011

It’s Will the Jets beat the Steelers? Will it snow again? Will characters played by Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman maintain a healthy, platonic relationship after getting intimate with each other?

These were the big questions many of us asked ourselves as we pondered our weekend.

And we got answers to all three…some of us, anyway, not that the latter was any big surprise.

Originally titled "F***buddies," a name which was later changed after Paramount wringed all the publicity value it could out of it, romantic comedy No Strings Attached grossed a solid $23.3 million at the domestic box office this weekend.

Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film stars Kutcher and Portman as two yuppie friends who just can't get it together enough to find suitable mates, turning to each other to fulfill carnal desires.

I know, who'd want to kiss either of them, right?

Yeah, the whole enterprise is obvious as hell, but Paramount never marketed this as anything but a fun little inexpensive movie for January – a $25 million production budget is downright cheap these days – and it found an audience.

In fact, garnering an demographic that was 70 percent female and 60 percent 25 and under, the movie hit its young-women target on the bull's eye.

It certainly didn't hurt to have Portman around, given that she's coming off a best actress Golden Globe last weekend for Black Swan.

Finishing in second place, Sony's The Green Hornet held up nicely in weekend No. 2, grossing $18.1 million, which was only around a 45 percent drop from last weekend.

In the movie business, if you decline under 50 percent from your opening weekend, it's usually good news.

Likewise, Universal's Ron Howard-directed ensemble comedy The Dilemma also dropped about 45 percent from its premiere, grossing $9.7 million and finishing in third place.

While No Strings was the only big, wide-opening studio release this weekend, there were two adult dramas making limited debuts.

After coming out in a few theaters last month to qualify for the Oscars, The Weinstein Company's Company Men grossed $767,328 while opening at 106 theaters.

If you like sad movies about people getting fired, well then, here you go. This one's directed by John Wells (mastermind of TV's ER) and stars Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner.

Also making its official non-qualifying-run premiere was Newmarket's The Way Back, which is directed by Peter Weir and themed around survivors of a Soviet-era gulag.

Good times…

The film took in nearly $1.3 million playing at 671 theaters.

Here's a look at the top at the domestic box office this weekend, with our Thursday predictions also listed:

No Strings Attached Made: $20.3M We predicted: $22.0M
The Green Hornet Made: $18.1M We predicted: $19.0M
The Dilemma Made: $9.7M We predicted: $8.5M
The King’s Speech Made: $9.2M We predicted: $8.0M
True Grit Made: $7.6M We predicted: $7.9M
Black Swan Made: $6.2M We predicted: $6.5M
The Fighter Made: $4.5M We predicted: $4.2M
Little Fockers Made: $4.4M We predicted: $4.0M
Yogi Bear Made: $4.1M We predicted: $3.5M
Tron: Legacy Made: $3.7M We predicted: $3.8M

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