In typical early September fashion, critics are reeling from Venice and/or are in the throes of Toronto. If you think we're being over-dramatic, check out our main page and how many times you can spot "TIFF Review." With the cats out of the country, the mice aren't playing. The only newcomer in the top ten is the latest installment of a Vin Diesel-starring sci-fi trilogy, leading a pack of holdovers clinging for dear life.
In the top spot, David Twohy's "Riddick" made $18.7 million. Although this opening pales in comparison to the ones of the 'Fast & Furious' series ("Fast & Furious 6" opened with $97.4 million this past May), it beat out the first 'Riddick' film, "Pitch Black," which made $11.6 million its opening weekend, and nearly tied that of its $105 million budget predecessor "The Chronicles of Riddick," which made $24.3 million its opening weekend. With the relatively modest budget of $38 million, this wasn't the biggest gamble for Universal, so they won't reap a massive reward, but it's also not a massive disappointment ("R.I.P.D."). Considering how poorly 'Chronicles' was received in 2004 (barely making back its budget), "Riddick" hasn't done too shabbily in its distant shadow. The film is on track to make back the $38 million domestically and then some in foreign foreign box office). With "The Family" and "Rush" coming out in the upcoming weeks, "Riddick" won't stay long at the top, but at least it got there.
In second place and its fourth weekend, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" served up $8.9 million, getting close to the $100 million mark with a running domestic total of $91.9 million. "Instructions Not Included" seems to have gotten something right as it had the highest per theater average in the top ten ($11,297 per theater) and came in third overall with $8.1 million in its second weekend. The Spanish-language comedy was the only holdover to go up in ranking (fourth to third) and box office (up by 3.2%). In its fifth weekend, faux-family comedy "We're The Millers" dropped one spot to fourth place and cooked up $7.9 million. Flying steady after five weekends, "Planes" stayed in fifth and swooped in $4.3 million. With $4.1 million for its second weekend, "One Direction: This Is Us" suffered the largest plunge on the leader board (first to sixth) and in ticket sales (down by 74.1%). Only slipping one spot, "Elysium" made $3.1 million in its fifth week. In eighth, "Blue Jasmine" rose back onto the board after a little absence and made $2.7 million, bumping it past the $25 million mark with a running domestic total of $25.5 million. "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" has yet to sink to Davey Jones' locker after five weeks and came in ninth with $2.5 million. Almost too apropos, "The World's End" came in with $2.3 million and at tenth place.
As for specialty box office, Shane Salerno's J.D. Salinger documentary "Salinger" topped the indie charts, opening in 4 theaters with $90,969 with a per theater average of $22,742 (the highest of the entire weekend). In second, Regis Roinsard's comedy about a terrible secretary, "Populaire," opened in three theaters and made roughly $16,662, averaging $5,554 per theater. Coincidentally, Ryan White's Freda Kelly (secretary for The Beatles) doc "Good Ol' Freda" came in third for per theater averages, having opened in one theater and making $8,000. In fourth, holdover "Austenland" screened in 58 theaters and made $195,787, averaging $3,376 per theater. In fifth, holdover "In A World..." screened in 102 theaters and made $315,425, averaging $3,082 per theater.
1. Riddick (Universal) - $18,673,000
2. Lee Daniels' The Butler (The Weinstein Company) - $8,900,000 ($91,901,000)
3. Instructions Not Included (LionsGate) - $8,100,000 ($20,312,00)
4. We’re the Millers (Warner Bros.) - $7,925,000 ($123,844,000)
5. Planes (Buena Vista) - $4,274,000 ($79,279,000)
6. One Direction: This Is Us (TriStar) - $4,100,000 ($23,991,000)
7. Elysium (TriStar) - $3,100,000 ($85,077,000)
8. Blue Jasmine (Sony Classics) - $2,688,000 ($25,449,000)
9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Fox) - $2,500,000 ($59,848,000)
10. The World's End (Focus) - $2,302,000 ($21,737,000)