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Weekend Box Office: Real Steel Holds Off Retreads Footloose and The Thing

by Charles Lyons
October 16, 2011 5:02 AM
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

On its second go-round, family actioner Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman and superb visual effects, trounced familiar updatings of the dance musical Footloose and horror classic The Thing. Charles Lyons reports; top ten box office chart is below.

Disney/DreamWorks holdover Real Steel out-stepped Paramount’s remake of the 1984 cult classic Footloose to win the box office crown for the second week in a row. Universal’s remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing was scary enough for third place in its opening frame.

None of the three new releases this weekend—Footloose, The Thing, and The Big Year – energized a thus-far lackluster fall box-office season, with last week’s robot-movie, Real Steel, which is playing well to families and young males, outperforming its biggest challenger, Footloose.

The Disney/ DreamWorks Hugh Jackman actioner, Real Steel, was real solid, with a relatively scant 40% drop to hold onto the top spot. Its $16.3 million weekend take brings the film’s cume to $51.7 million. Add $56.6 million from two weeks overseas and its global cume rests at $108.3 million.

Despite playing in a domestic market-high number of theaters, 3,549, with a hefty marketing tag, Craig Brewer's Footloose failed to translate for kids of the folks who flocked to see Kevin Bacon star in the original. The $24-million teenage dance-ploitation film, which in its newest incarnation is a wordy southern-set movie with surprisingly few dance scenes, slightly underperformed. It’s $16.1 million opening landed it in second place, behind Real Steel, despite the studio's ambitious 25-market cross-country cast tour and free-screening program. Footloose (67% Tomatometer) played best in the South, and also to teenage girls and their mothers, according to its distributor, Paramount.

Unspooling in 2,996 theaters, Universal/Morgan Creek’s $38-million The Thing (34% Tomatometer) also failed to capture any 80s magic, underperforming with an $8.7 million domestic cume in its opening frame. It was expected to score in the $15-million range.

And Fox’s bird-watcher comedy The Big Year (45% Tomatometer), directed by The Devil Wears Prada's David Frankel, which cost $41 million, was a big bust with a paltry $3.3 million opening, despite the comedy trio of Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, who all promoted the film on the TV talk show circuit. “It’s a softer result than we were hoping for,” confessed the studio’s Bruce Snyder. “It just didn’t connect.” He added that he hoped audiences will discover this film down the line, presumably on DVD or cable.

Sony’s duo of smart, Oscar-friendly films, The Ides of March and Moneyball, both moved up on the top ten ranking on good word-of-mouth, Ides moving to #4, Moneyball at #6. The films dropped a mere 28% and 26%, respectively.

On the indie front, in limited release, Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In (79% Tomatometer), starring Antonio Banderas, got off to a strong start with a $38,497 per screen average, the best indie debut since Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life.

Top Ten Weekend Box Office Chart

1. Real Steel (Disney/DreamWorks) $16.3 million down 40% in its second weekend at 3,440 theaters, $4,740 theater average. Domestic total: $51.7million.

2. Footloose (Paramount) $16.1 million at 3,549 theaters, $4,536 theater average. Domestic total: $16.1 million.

3. The Thing (Universal) $8.7 million at 2,997 theaters, 2,910 theater average. Domestic total: $8.7 million.

4. The Ides of March (Sony) $7.5 million down 28% in its second weekend at 2,199 theaters, $3,411 theater average. Domestic total: $22.1 million.

5. Dolphin Tale (Warner Bros./Alcon) $6.3 million down 30% in its fourth weekend at 3,286 theaters. $1,931 theater average. Domestic total: $58.6 million.

6. Moneyball (Sony) $5.4 million down 26% in its fourth weekend at 2,840 theaters. $1,937 theater average. Domestic total: $57.7 million.

7. 50/50 (Summit) $4.3 million down 24% in its third weekend at 2,391 theaters. $1,805 theater average. Domestic total: $24.3 million.

8. Courageous (Tri-Star) $3.4 million down 30% in its third weekend at 1,214 theaters. $2,801 theater average. Domestic total: 21.3

9. The Big Year (Twentieth Century Fox) $3.3 million at 2,150 theaters, 1,647 theater average. Domestic total $3.3 million.

10. The Lion King 3D (Disney) $2.7 million down 41% in its fifth weekend at 1,970 theaters. $1,374 theater average. Domestic total: $90,452 million.


  • cadavra | October 18, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    REAL STEEL is not an "original." It's based on a Richard Matheson story that was previously filmed as a "Twilight Zone" episode. So it's not only a remake but of a TV show as well.

  • Paris Jade | October 16, 2011 5:18 AMReply

    I’ve been saying it since 22 June 2010 when they announced the cast for Footloose - they would have been wiser to have cast someone like Shia LaBeouf, Anton Yelchin or Penn Badgley in Footloose instead of Kenny Wormald and this movie would have been No. 1 at the box office and much more critically and commercially successful.

    Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Brian Dennehy, Rashida Jones, Rosamund Pike, Dianne Wiest, Anjelica Huston, Jim Parsons, Anthony Anderson, Tim Blake Nelson, Kevin Pollak.
    From the cast alone, ‘The Big Year’ looked like it would make a billion dollars but now won’t even make back its $41 million budget.

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