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.