Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Gravity - $55.5 million
2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - $21.5 million
3. Runner Runner - $7.6 million
4. Prisoners - $5.7 million
5. Rush - $4.4 million
6. Don Jon - $4.16 million
7. Baggage Claim - $4.12 million
8. Insidious: Chapter 2 - $3.8 million
9. Pulling Strings - $2.5 million
10. Enough Said - $2.1 million
The Big Stories
Finally there is a movie out there that can be definitively recommended to your fellow man. Maybe you like Prisoners. Perhaps you felt compelled to recommend Rush cause it was a slightly different direction for Ron Howard. You should all be telling people to find Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said. Forget all that though. You know it and I know it that if there's one film out in theaters right now worth a full ticket price (and even your inflated 3D IMAX dollars) and it's Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. At this point that we could all just drop the mike and walk away. Except the film could be shaping up to be an even bigger story beyond its inherent greatness.
As October Falls, So Could October Records Fall
If you are one of the many who flocked out to see yet another Paranormal Activity film the third time around on opening weekend and did not buy a ticket to Gravity this weekend, there really is no saving you. Don't want to hear any excuses about your plans this weekend. Everyone had plans in 2011 to watch home movies of paint drying and they still ventured to theaters to see home movies of paint drying. October has typically been the month of sequels and remakes getting the biggest openings. To appreciate just what an event picture Gravity is, look at these rankings:
Gravity ($55.5), Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.5 million), Jackass 3D ($50.3), Taken 2 ($49.5), Scary Movie 3 ($48.1), Shark Tale ($47.6), High School Musical 3 ($42.0), Paranormal Activity 2 ($40.6), The Grudge ($39.1), Red Dragon ($36.5)
Shark Tale is the only original film on that list... and it kinda stunk too. Sandra Bullock has never had a film open over $40 million. (This summer's The Heat with $39.1 was her best.) George Clooney's highest, believe it or not, was Batman & Robin ($42.8 million). None of the Ocean's movies even started with $40 million. Even with a resume including Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien and A Little Princess, Alfonso Cuaron's films (aside from Harry Potter Number Three) haven't even grossed $50 million total. Also, look over this next list. It represents the highest grossing films between October 1-31 ever.
Shark Tale (31 days - $146.8 million), Taken 2 (27 - $118.9), Meet the Parents (26 - $101.8), Jackass 3D (17 - $101.6), The Departed (26 - $92.6), Red Dragon (28 - $86.3), Couples Retreat (23 - $85.1), Paranormal Activity 3 (11 - $83.4), Paranormal Activity (31 - $80.7), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (29 - $79.9), The Social Network (31 - $79.5), Real Steel (25 - $74.3)
The Grudge (10 - $70.6), Zombieland (30 - $70.4), Ladder 49 (31 - $66.1), Antz (30 - $65.8), Paranormal Activity 2 (10 - $65.6), School of Rock (29 - $65.4), Training Day (27 - $65.0-$66.5), Argo (20 - $64.3), Scary Movie 3 (8 - $61.9), Where the Wild Things Are (16 - $60.3), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) (15 - $58.9), Red (17 - $58.8), Kill Bill Vol. 1 (22 - $57.2), Gravity (3 - $55.5), Three Kings (31 - $53.7), Friday Night Lights (24 - $52.9), Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (27 - $50.0)
We will revisit this chart in the coming weeks, but by next week Gravity will be in the top 10 of that chart. October is the month for adults. Every major release this month is rated "R" except for Cuaron's film and next week's Captain Phillips which should take a little bite out of Gravity's numbers. That still will not stop it from reaching $100 million possibly by next Sunday. A good hold would get it there by its 10th day; a full five days faster than Shark Tale. Carrie should open well with the horror audience on Gravity's third weekend and Bad Grandpa should pull in at least Borat numbers if not full-blown Jackass dollars. But that's the back half of the month. By Halloween, Gravity should have no less than $135 million and still be in the top five. If word of mouth is as strong enough as I imagine it will be to make this a water cooler movie, it could even challenge Shark Tale as the highest grossing October film of all time.
Sucked Out on the River
Hopefully Rounders fans didn't venture out hoping that Brian Koppelman and David Levien crafted another cult film in the making about gambling. The title may be a reference to the game, but Runner Runner is little more than Paranoia with poker references or Boiler Room if Ben Affleck's character moved from the stock market to offshore gambling. Affleck is actually the best thing about the film, which is just a cliche-ridden, 85-minute slog that leaves about eight potentially interesting story angles folded on the table. Fans of Timberlake would clearly rather see him headline a comedy like Friends with Benefits than dramas with loads of lost potential like this and In Time. Plenty of films got a "C+" from Cinemascore this year (The Big Wedding, Dark Skies, Don Jon, Evil Dead, Getaway, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Last Stand, Paranoia, Pain & Gain, R.I.P.D., Texas Chainsaw 3D). The only films to rate lower than Runner Runner's pure "C" (matching The Family and The Purge) are The Last Exorcism Part II, Scary Movie 5 and Movie 43. Runner Runner has made about $20 million worldwide so far. It will need about another $55 to break even. Otherwise it joins Fox's Turbo, Broken City, The Internship and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters on its losers list of 2013.
Tales of the Top 10
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 had a good enough hold this weekend. Puts it right on pace with the original film which actually grossed $3.5 million more in its second go-round. $15.8 million is the number to watch for next week as Sony still needs about another $130 million worldwide to start cashing in. If you are looking for its Battle of the Year, it has dropped out of the top 10 in just its second week and marks its fifth loser of 2013. Prisoners is just a few million away from reaching $50 in the U.S. but is still a ways away from posting a profit for Warner Bros. Universal's Rush is sputtering towards a $25 million finish stateside, but overseas still looks to save the film from being a disappointment for the studio.
Insidious: Chapter 2 has all but picked up losses incurred from Film District this year on Olympus Has Fallen and Dead Man Down, but Jason Statham's Parker still looms large from January. Film District is left with only Spike Lee's remake of Oldboy to help put it in the black for the year. Another Mexican comedy has broken into the top 10. Lionsgate's Pulling Strings earned $2.5 million on just 387 screens. Not as impressive as Instructions Not Included (which is over $41 million) but still more than Stoker, The East and Trance grossed in the U.S. Speaking of Fox Searchlight, its Enough Said creeped into the number 10 spot on just 437 screens for a total of over $5 million. Meanwhile, Baggage Claim is less than $6 million away from surpassing The Way, Way Back as its biggest grosser of the year. Audiences should try to help Nicole Holofcener's film achieve that... after they have seen Gravity.
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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