5. Gravity (Warner Bros.) Week 5 - Last weekend #2
$13,130,000 (-36%) in 3,024 screens (-683); PSA: $4,342; Cumulative: $219,196,000
The biggest drop for the fall's biggest hit so far came in part because of the loss of most of its IMAX screens to "Ender's Game" as well as the beginning of attrition from small-town/lower-grossing theaters. In its 5th weekend "Gravity" still pulled a larger gross than many of the season's films' openings. Worldwide after this weekend should be over $400 million with a handful of major territories yet to come.
What comes next: Though upcoming weeks feature tough competition, this should manage to hold many key theaters through the lucrative Thanksgiving period.
6. Captain Phillips (Sony) Week 4 - Last weekend #3
$8,500,000 (-27%) in 3,021 screens (-122); PSA: $2,814; Cumulative: $82,551,000
An excellent hold for Paul Greengrass's Somali pirate thriller, which now looks to blast past $100 million domestic by some distance and outgross such previous Sony late year awards contenders as "The Social Network" and "Zero Dark Thirty."
What comes next: This also will benefit from upcoming holiday playdates.
7. 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 - Last weekend #8
$4,600,000 (+116%) in 410 screens (+287); PSA: $11,200; Cumulative: $8,760,000
The screen count nearly tripled this weekend, and showed continued ongoing success for Steve McQueen's compelling drama that is getting an audience reaction similar to its rapturous critical response. The drama still lags behind the performance of "Precious" (which had a PSA of $17,300 in 659 theaters its third week) as well as "The Descendants" (which did $18,835 when it expanded to 390 theaters on its second weekend, which was Thanksgiving).
The important news for Searchlight is that although the toughness of the subject may have deterred some audiences, at this point it is clear that word of mouth has been strong enough to encourage reluctant moviegoers to see this. The "Precious" comparison, though still valid, is beginning to look less than the whole story. (That film did most of its gross in its first few weeks.) Despite both films having significant awards potential, ultimately "12 Years" looks like it is heading to a much higher level of potential wins. It also, on a lesser scale but still similar to last year's "Lincoln," seems to be resonating with a part of the public eager to explore the past, as difficult as some of it may be to watch. All this suggests that the measured aggressive release of the film so far is working, and the ultimate gross -- playing across the country in some form from now through February -- could achieve a significantly higher gross, potentially above what both "Precious" and the Best Picture winning "The Artist" achieved ($47 and $44 million respectively.)
What comes next: This will more than double its theaters to close to 1,000 this weekend, reaching nearly every market in the country.
8. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Sony) Week 6 - Last weekend #5
$4,200,000 (-33%) in 2,430 screens (-681); PSA: $1,728; Cumulative: $106,195,000
A surprisingly strong hold while losing a quarter of its dates and facing a new animated film in the market, "Cloudy 2" now looks like it will get unexpectedly close to the first entry's domestic total of $124 million, with a $20 million+ reduction in cost.
What comes next: With international and kids' films still lucrative in the post-theatrical market, this will join "Captain Phillips" as Sony's second success story of the full.
9. Carrie (Sony) Week 3 - Last weekend #6
$3,400,000 (-43%) in 2,252 screens (-905); $1,510; Cumulative: $31,973,000
This actually held a bit better than expected, particularly with the big reduction in theaters, which suggests that it actually had better word of mouth than initially thought. It's too late to give this hit status domestically but a curious wrinkle later in the run.
10. The Counselor (20th Century-Fox) Week 2 - Last weekend #4
$3,250,000 (-59%) in 3,044 screens (unchanged); PSA: $1,068; Cumulative: $13,638,000
A big drop after its bad opening as Ridley Scott's film quickly fades after some promising expectations.
What comes next: The rest of the world -- most of yet has yet to open -- will need a totally different result to turn this relatively inexpensive production into a success.