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'Bad Grandpa' Pulls Young Males, 'Counselor' Flops, '12 Years' Makes Top Ten, NC-17 'Blue' Starts Strong

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood October 26, 2013 at 2:06PM

Who knew? All it took to bring back the core males MIA from theaters was a film about an 86-year-old. Paramount's "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" opened to an easy #1 Friday with $12.6 million (including Thursday late shows). Maybe Emmanuelle Riva should have stuck around a little longer after the Oscars last year.
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Javier Bardem and Michael Fassbender in "The Counselor"
Javier Bardem and Michael Fassbender in "The Counselor"

Who knew? All it took to bring back the core males MIA from theaters was a film about an 86- year-old. Paramount's "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" opened to an easy #1 Friday with $12.6 million (including Thursday late shows). Maybe Emmanuelle Riva should have stuck around a little longer after the Oscars last year.

This variation on the long-running MTV show and three previous movies didn't match the opening day of "Jackass 3D" in 2010 ($22 million), but it's still impressive for this series offshoot (with an actual storyline). It retains Johnny Knoxville, playing the old man, and a low budget ($15 million) and enough core appeal to surpass Paramount's low-ball pre-opening prediction of a $20 million weekend. 

The other opener, Ridley Scott's "The Counselor" (Twentieth Century Fox) opened to a weak #4 with $3.2 million. Facing divisive reviews (ranging from a New York Times Manohla Dargis rave to all-out pans from the Los Angeles Times, Time and the Wall Street Journal), this prime cast (Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem) in an original crime thriller from novelist Cormac McCarthy failed to reach anything close to expectations and looks like a flop despite its reported low-end $25 million budget.

"Grandpa"'s success ended "Gravity"'s three-week run at the top, but Warner Bros. has nothing to complain about, grossing $6.2 million for the day, down just 32% from last Friday, and should reach a $200 million total by Sunday and a strong #2 for the weekend. Sony's "Captain Phillips" retained the #3 spot at $3.6 million, down only 28% from last Friday. 

Fox Searchlight's "12 Years a Slave" expanded quickly to 123 theaters for a gross of $620,000, good for #8 for the day and guaranteeing a top 10 position for the weekend despite its scant theater count. Every indication remains at this stage that anticipated audience resistance to this acclaimed but tough drama is less than expected, showing that last weekend's strong limited openings weren't a fluke.

With the boost from "Bad Grandpa" and the two strong holds in the next two spots, the top 10 total for the day was around $31 million, a nice jump from $25.5 million last year. The other films in the group were #5 "Carrie" (Sony, down a steep 70% from last week), #6 "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (also Sony), #7 "Escape Plan" (Lionsgate), #9 "Enough Said" (Searchlight) and #10 "Prisoners" (Warner Bros.).

Opening in just four theaters, Cannes prize-winner "Blue Is the Warmest Color" (IFC) took in around $36,000, impressive for a three-hour long NC-17 rated subtitled film. More detailed coverage of this and other specialized films in Arthouse Audit tomorrow.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Ridley Scott, Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, Johnny Knoxville, 12 Years a Slave, Blue is the Warmest Color


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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.