Forget the September doldrums. Sony's Brit boy band 3-D concert film "One Direction" was a solid number one. And major support came from four strong holdovers: "The Butler," "We're the Millers," "Planes" and "Elysium." All told, the three days will come in with about $84 million for the top 10, up $5 million from last year, and enough to increase the tiny year-to-date lead over 2012 that has taken eight months to achieve.
The big surprise this weekend: the outstanding showing of a narrowly released Mexican Spanish-language film, "Instructions Not Included," which opened regionally, ending up at #5 with a staggering PSA of over $21,000.
Another foreign-language release, Weinstein's "The Grandmaster" from China, fared less well, falling out of the top 10 with $2,446,000 in 742 theaters. Sony Pictures Classics "Blue Jasmine" held steady at around $4 million, already grossing over $20 million, even though it didn't repeat in the top 10. Not doing at all well was Focus Features' "Closed Circuit," which only totaled $2,543,000 in 870 theaters.
1. One Direction: This Is Us (Sony) NEW - Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 49
$17,000,000 in 2,735 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $6,216; Cumulative: $17,000,000
This $10-million 3-D concert-film starring the popular British group scored a solid take, combined with additional worldwide openings for a global $31 million. This will be an easy moneymaker for Sony, which has struggled much of the summer.
With Simon Cowell as one of the producers and documentarian Morgan Spurlock at the helm, this did less than some of the other recent concert films. Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" remains the recent top opener ($29 million), but this came close to Michael Jackson's "This Is It" ($23 million) and is almost triple what "Katy Perry: Part of Me" had its first weekend.
The full four-day figure will be almost double Spurlock's previous best film total, "Super Size Me" ($11.5 million).
What comes next: This could be more front-loaded than other concert films, which have more than doubled their opening weekends over the course of their runs. Still, it's a welcome hit single for Sony.
2. Lee Daniels' The Butler (Weinstein) Week 3 - Last weekend #1
$14,742,000 (-11%) in 3,330 theaters (+220); PSA: $4,427; Cumulative: $74,007,000