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Friday Box Office: '42' Bright Spot on Weak Weekend

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood April 13, 2013 at 3:45PM

"42," which was not a guaranteed success as a sports movie with mixed reviews about an African-American hero played by an unknown. For the first time this year, a Warner Bros. release exceeded expectations by opening at over $9 million.
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Chadwick Boseman as Robinson in '42'
Chadwick Boseman as Robinson in '42'

The good news at the Friday box office is the better than expected performance of Jackie Robinson biopic  "42," which was not a guaranteed success as a sports movie with mixed reviews about an African-American hero played by an unknown. For the first time this year, a Warner Bros. release exceeded expectations by opening at over $9 million.

An A+ Cinemascore rating reveals upbeat audience response as well as adult appeal, so the film should increase Saturday and have a chance at grossing perhaps as much as $30 million for the weekend, far above pre-opening predictions.

The other bright news is the #10 ranking for Focus' "The Place Beyond the Pines," which showed continued crossover strength, grossing over $1 million on just over 500 theaters. This looks to be headed toward the biggest limited breakout success of any film since Christmas.

The bad news is the weak opening of Weinstein Co.'s "Scary Movie 5," a rare release from its once-reliable Dimension division, which took in about $5.5 million. The first entry in this once lucrative comedy series since 2006, that gross is a huge fall from that $19 million first day, and should earn a weak #2 ranking for the weekend.

The discouraging news continues with most of the holdovers falling 50% or more from last Friday (which was still a partial spring vacation day in parts of the country). At this point, it appears that only three films ("The Croods" adding to the openers) will gross more than $10 million for the full weekend, a tepid overall showing.

Total grosses for the top ten came to around $31 million for the day, down from $44 million last week and $33 million last year. "42" will need to show a strong Saturday and Sunday jump in order to elevate the weekend to a rare 2013 uptick from the previous year.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Biopics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.