Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Gravity - $31.0 million
2. Captain Phillips - $17.3 million
3. Carrie - $17.0 million
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - $10.1 million
5. Escape Plan - $9.8 million
6. Prisoners - $2.0 million
7. Enough Said - $1.8 million
8. The Fifth Estate - $1.7 million
9. Runner Runner - $1.6 million
10. Insidious: Chapter 2 - $1.5 million
The Big Stories
Three new wide releases this week and another limited opener worth mentioning, but there is still one film to rule them all. Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity dropped just 28% to easily take the top spot this weekend and over the week became the single highest grossing film ever within the month of October. As the first film of 2013 (the first since last December's The Hobbit) to top the box office for three straight weekends, it will become the ninth film to break the $200 million barrier by next weekend. If a telekinetic girl remade in the image of a pointless remake with no Halloween competition to challenge it could not break it down, what possibly can? Well, likely Johnny Knoxville in old-age makeup, but that's next week.
Let's Talk About Carrie
With respect to both the great Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, the film is just not that good. It's a truly missed opportunity to really explore bullying and school violence. Instead the film is a softer, less unsettling version of Brian De Palma's 1976 film and the makeup people really failed to make us believe that Moretz was some ugly duckling in a lake of mean girls with tampons. But I figured it would take at least a few days for audiences to trail off from it. Instead of the mid-20s many expected, a $17 million haul is what Kimberly Peirce's Carrie walked away with. That puts it roughly eighth on the year of horror openings (seventh if you don't count Warm Bodies). Not as good as 2013's version of Evil Dead, and not even as good as Texas Chainsaw 3D, which had no stars whatsoever to speak of and opened in the not-so-spooky January.
If we look at horror remakes of American-based films post-1970, Carrie's numbers are even less impressive.
Friday the 13th ($40.5 million), A Nightmare on Elm Street ($32.9), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ($28.0), Dawn of the Dead ($26.7), Halloween ($26.3), Evil Dead ($25.7), The Amityville Horror ($23.5), When a Stranger Calls ($21.6), My Bloody Valentine ($21.2), Prom Night ($20.8), Carrie ($17.0), The Crazies ($16.0), The Hills Have Eyes ($15.7), The Last House on the Left ($14.1), The Fog ($11.7), The Stepfather ($11.5)
Carrie only needed $48 million to become Screen Gems best-grossing horror remake. Instead it could not even start as well as Prom Night or When a Stranger Calls. Halloween is still 11 days away, but usually it takes a film to scare people into theaters. That's something Carrie just does not do. Screen Gems has not had a good year with either The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones or Battle of the Year, however the $30 million film is by no means a disaster for Sony and its division. But it is going to take some overseas numbers to move the needle into the black for the studio.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone Are Box Office Bombs
Lionsgate is not going to want to be in the Arnold Schwarzenegger business much longer. The $45 million-budgeted The Last Stand grossed a mere $12 million in the U.S. and only another $25 million overseas. It's the 11th biggest loser of the year. The sixth biggest loser of the year currently is Stallone's Bullet to the Head. That $55 million film grossed just under $9.5 million here in the U.S. and not even $5 million overseas.
Pair the action heroes together for their first true pairing for a full film (about 20 years too late) and they can't even start with $10 million. Escape Plan was budgeted at $70 million. If this pairing cannot muster up $52 million in worldwide grosses, it will be an even bigger bomb than either of their solo efforts and someone is going to have to answer for that faster than you can say "get to the chopper."
Fun Facts Time
Bill Condon has the second and third highest November openings of all time. $141 and $138 million for his split-down-the-middle-crap-ass Twilight conclusion, Breaking Dawn. His follow-up is now one of the worst October openers this century. Even at a paltry budget of $26 million, The Fifth Estate's under $2 million opening is just flat-out awful.
How bad is it? Consider the list of films from October, since the year 2000, that started on at least 1,500 screens. This is the worst of them.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People ($1.43 million/1,750 screens), The Fifth Estate ($1.70/1,769), Blindness ($1.95/1,690), Beyond Borders ($2.07/1,798), Stay ($2.18/1,684), Chasing Mavericks ($2.26/2,002), Formula 51 ($2.81/1,857), City of Ember ($3.12/2,022), The Big Year ($3.25/2,150), Sex Drive ($3.60/2,421), An American Carol ($3.65/1,639), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising ($3.74/3,141), Johnny English Reborn ($3.833/1,552), Machete Kills ($3.83/2,538), Raise Your Voice ($4.02/2.\,521), Rendition ($4.06/2,250), Fun Size ($4.10/3,014), Digimon: The Movie ($4.23/1,823), The Weather Man ($4.24/1,510), Surviving Christmas ($4.44/2,750)
You can already see Eric Cartman crying his Edward Snowden tears for Julian Assange now. Again, nobody seems to care who is watching us or who spills our secrets. We do a pretty good job destroying our privacy on our own.
Meanwhile, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave was not quite the limited world beater some may have expected (including yours truly), but $900,000 on just 19 screens is nothing to sneeze at either.
In the history of films to open between 10-20 screens, the top openers are as follows:
Precious ($1.87 million), Black Swan ($1.44), Up in the Air ($1.18), 12 Years a Slave ($960,000), Lincoln ($944,308), American Beauty ($861,531), Michael Clayton ($719,910), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon ($663,205), Mystic River ($640,815), Dances with Wolves ($598,257), Eastern Promises ($547,092), A History of Violence ($515,992), Annie ($510,632), New York Stories ($432,337), Good Night and Good Luck ($421,446), Everest IMAX ($364,244), Slumdog Millionaire ($360,018), Deconstructing Harry ($356,476)
Notice how 11 of those 17 films went on to receive a nomination for Best Picture. including the top nine films that surround the future awards contender. A nomination is likely, but to throw some water on some overzealous award prognosticators, it's not going to win. There, it's been said. In the meantime, it's fourth on the above list and if Fox Searchlight can get it out to more theaters quicker than it did Enough Said there is really some money to be made there. Oh, the irony.
- 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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