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.