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'Enders Game' Tops Box Office with Lackluster Numbers, '12 Years a Slave' Stays Strong, 'Diana' Flops

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 2, 2013 at 10:39PM

Lionsgate/Summit's "Ender's Game," yet another attempt to catch a youth-oriented genre franchise to replace the "Twilight" series, opened at #1 yesterday to $9.9 million (including Thursday night's figures). This is a decent number, but not as strong as it needed to be given its $110 million-production cost and uncertain overseas fortunes (the U.K. opened last weekend at #5).
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Ender's Game

Lionsgate/Summit's "Ender's Game," yet another attempt to catch a youth-oriented genre franchise to replace the "Twilight" series, opened at #1 yesterday to $9.9 million (including Thursday night's figures). This is a decent number, but not as strong as it needed to be given its $110 million-production cost and uncertain overseas fortunes (the U.K. opened last weekend at #5). The Friday gross falls short of three of the previous four weekends (the first two for "Gravity" and "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"); a mid-20s weekend total won't provide the basis for a multiple-film series.

"Last Vegas"
"Last Vegas"

Two other wide openers showed even weaker numbers. CBS Films' $28-million boomer "Hangover" comedy "Last Vegas" came in at #3 with $5.1 million, which could still build word-of-mouth and more interest from older audiences.  The veteran cast of Oscar winners (Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro and Kevin Kline) plays old pals attending a bachelor party. Relativity's 3-D animated film "Freebirds," a $55 million co-production, came in #4 with only $4 million, but kids at weekend matinees could boost this to #3 if "Vegas" falters.

"Bad Grandpa" came in #2 at $6.1 million, down a bit more than 50%, which will improve when the three-day total comes in. "Jackass 3D" fell 57% its second weekend (from a bigger start), so this should be considered a decent hold for a young-male based film. "Gravity," (Warner Bros.) which lost most of its IMAX screens to "Ender's Game," fell about 40% with a gross of $3.6 million to place #5. "Captain Phillips" (Sony) fell about a third to around $2.4 million and #6.

At #7 and showing sustained strength is "12 Years a Slave" (Fox Searchlight), which took in $1,265,000 in 410 (up from 123) theaters, with a likely total approaching $8 million by Sunday, impressive after only 17 days in limited release. The rest of the top 10 grossed $1 million or less -- #8 "The Counselor," #9 "Carrie" and #10 "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2."" 

Two more limited films of note -- both from units of recently overhauled Universal -- opened to different results. Focus Features' real-life AIDS drama "Dallas Boys Club," with two acclaimed performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, took in $69,000 in 9 theaters, a promising if not sensational start. Richard Curtis's Working Title comedy "About Time," released by the parent company rather than Focus, took in $310,000 in 175 theaters, a weaker result considering the quality of the theaters involved. Also opening was the once-anticipated "Diana," (Entertainment One) doing a very weak $19,000 in 38 theaters.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Ender's Game, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Thompson on Hollywood, Box Office Top Ten


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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.