A clear success compared to cost ($4 million acquisition for Relativity of a reported $6 million budgeted production), Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut built on Sundance and Toronto festival attention and decent reviews to score a modest showing in an unusually wide initial release for a Park City-acquired film (less successful "Jobs" was the only other one this year).
Gordon-Levitt stars with Scarlet Johansson in this romantic comedy. It comes a year after his top-billed role in "Looper" scored a $20 million debut last year, but this film opened better than either "Premium Rush" or "50/50." He clearly has gained from supporting roles in Christopher Nolan's smashes "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises" as well as his earlier lead in "(500) Days of Summer." Johannson meantime has similarly been rotating between blockbuster supporting and solid more general releases ("We Bought a Zoo," "He's Just Not That Into You"). So the casting looked prime to connect with a wider audience, and provided ample reason for skipping a more limited release.
What comes next: The C+ Cinemascore - likely taken at theaters that might not have loved "(500) Days" either-- suggests that a broader audience might not be as enthusiastic about the film as its earlier response. Thus this might not sustain a long run. But the gross so far should put this on the road to profit for all involved.
6. Insidious Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) Week 3 - Last weekend #2
$6,747,000 (-51%) in 3,120 theaters (-35); PSA: $2,163; Cumulative: $69,544,000
Though the big money was in the first weekend (over half of its take so far), Jason Blum's latest low-budget horror film is still a solid grosser even with another big drop.
What comes next: Like most of Blum's productions, this will about double its opening.
7. The Family (Relativity) Week 3 - Last weekend #3
$3,674,000 (-47%) in 2,894 theaters (-197); PSA: $1,270; Cumulative: $31,696,000
Another substantial drop for Luc Besson's comedy, which looks like it will need foreign (Russia is the major territory to open so far, doing solid) to bolster its overall success.
What comes next: Relativity should see around a $30 million domestic gross.
8. Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate) Week 5 - Last weekend #4
$3,380,000 (-%) in 948 theaters (-30); PSA: $3,565; Cumulative: $38,567,000
claiming the title of biggest-grossing Spanish language film in the
U.S. with unadjusted figures ("Pan's Labyrinth" remains the true #1
still, with an inflation-adjusted figure of over $44 million), this
sleeper comedy hit remains one of the most important developments of the
year. To put things in perspective, playing two fewer weeks, this has
grossed $7 million more than "Blue Jasmine" (also a significant
success), even though the latter also at its widest played at a similar
number of theaters.
What comes next: $45 million remains a real possibility still as this film just won't let up.
9. We're the Millers (Warner Bros.) Week 8 - Last weekend #6
$2,865,000 (-37%) in 2,405 theaters (-598); PSA: $1,191; Cumulative: $142,418,000
The top word of mouth film around continues its long top 10 run, now more than five times its opening weekend gross (far above average).
What comes next: This will fall just short of "The Heat," also with a female lead, for the title of biggest grossing live-action comedy of 2013.
10. Lee Daniels' The Butler (Weinstein) Week 7 - Last weekend #7
$2,417,000 (-42%) in 2,062 theaters (-869); PSA: $1,172; Cumulative: $110,281,000
Losing steam at last, although the drop in gross is still only a bit more than the drop in theaters, showing once again the strong legs this film continues to have,
What comes next: This remains with "Blue Jasmine" the most likely Oscar contender film released pre-"Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave," with its popular performance being its strongest argument.