Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Gravity - $44.2 million
2. Captain Phillips - $26.0 million
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - $14.2 million
4. Machete Kills - $3.79 million
5. Runner Runner - $3.72 million
6. Prisoners - $3.6 million
7. Insidious: Chapter 2 - $2.6 million
8. Rush - $2.36 million
9. Don Jon - $2.34 million
10. Baggage Claim - $2.0 million
The Big Stories
Adults are finally having their say at the box office. Actually, age does not matter when it comes to Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, as it is an event film worthy of every demographic. But it is the time when some great, mature filmmaking is ruling the nation. We will see precisely how Carrie fits into that plan next week and then all bets are off when Bad Grandpa opens the week after. But right now, down here in October, it is our time. And the treasures are abundant for both audiences and a couple studios at the moment.
No Weighing Down Gravity
As impressive as it was to see Gravity take the all-time October opening weekend record, this week's tally is actually more so. Fifty-five million dollars down to just $44 million. That just doesn't happen. Especially with such a direct challenger to its dominance. That is the very definition of word of mouth. By the end of the weekend, it will be hovering around $123 million. Last weekend we told you that the highest grossing film during the month of October (talking 31 days or less here) was Shark Tale with $146.2 million. Good-bye to that nine-year record. Two hundred million dollars seems like a foregone conclusion at this point as talk is already turning to the Oscars. We are jumping ahead though. Gravity was the 11th film of 2013 to open to more than $50 million. Comparing its second weekend to that of its peers is where the impressive part comes in.
Gravity (-20.7%), Monsters University (-44.7%), Star Trek Into Darkness (-46.9%), Despicable Me 2 (-47.4%), Oz the Great and Powerful (-47.9%), The Great Gatsby (-52.2%), World War Z (-55.2%), Iron Man 3 (-58.4%), The Wolverine (-59.9%), Fast & Furious 6 (-63.9%), Man of Steel (-64.6%)
Only Wolverine and Gatsby failed to reach $200 million at the domestic box office. It is already right at World War Z's pace which had $123.6 million by its 10th day - and that opened to $66.4 million to finish with $202.3. Uncertain how far it can climb after that, but Warner Bros., having started the year with five straight flops (and 42 which just about broke even without an international release), is now going to have its sixth big hit of the year and its fourth (after 42, The Conjuring and We're the Millers) to be a genuine word-of-mouth success.
They're Not Here to Fish
No, they want money. And not that measly 30 grand in the safe. They want millions. Greedy Somalis. Nice to see everyone embracing a Tom Hanks film again. Even nicer to see Paul Greengrass have a nice start that doesn't involve Jason Bourne. Captain Phillips' $26 million start is going to help propel it past both Greengrass' United 93 ($31.4 million) and Green Zone ($35 million) in just its first week. The same can be said for Hanks' last three films, Cloud Atlas ($27.1 million), Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close ($31.8 million) and Larry Crowne ($35.6 million). Before that, Hanks in a starring role was very much gold.
The Da Vinci Code ($77.0 million), Angels & Demons ($46.2), Saving Private Ryan ($30.5), Cast Away ($28.8), Captain Phillips ($26.0), Apollo 13 ($25.3), Forrest Gump ($24.4), Road to Perdition ($22.0), The Terminal ($19.0), You've Got Mail ($18.4), The Green Mile ($18.0), Sleepless in Seattle ($17.2), A League of Their Own ($13.7)
With the exception of The Terminal, each one of those films was a $100 million grosser for Hanks. And that is without including Catch Me if You Can, The Polar Express or the Toy Story pictures. Captain Phillips will need some of that word-of-mouth magic to reach $100 million. Of the 10 other films this year top open between $25-30 million, only two of them (We're the Millers and Now You See Me) hit nine digits and the average gross was over $86 million. Sony is certainly hoping that sailing the $55 million-budgeted film through international waters will give it a second hit after its rough summer. Though Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is now a few million off the pace of the original and will need the kind of strong showing overseas to make that a success as well.
Machete Kills Not So Much
That trailer for a third Machete film that opens the first sequel to a film based on a fake trailer might be wishful thinking at this point. Then again, Robert Rodriguez is certainly known to stretch a dollar or two on his budgets, so who knows? What we do know is that Machete Kills is the worst wide opener of Rodriguez' career. Less than Desperado ($7.9 million) when he was getting his first studio shot. Less than the kids effort Shorts ($6.4 million), in an arena that has seen his biggest success. (The first three Spy Kids films are his highest grossers.) The first Machete film opened to $11.4 million in 2010; just over $180,000 less than the Grindhouse double feature that inspired it three years earlier. With a start of a feeble $3.9 million, Machete Kills may not gross that in its entirety. That long-delayed Sin City 2 cannot get here fast enough.
Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
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