Warner Bros. could have bragging rights with the top two films this weekend (based on Friday's grosses), but the reality is they can't be too happy with the poor performance of "Cloud Atlas." The Wachowski siblings/Tom Tykwer collaboration actually came in #3 for the day (just under $3.5 million). But with weak reviews (Metacritic score 55), an audience response of C+ on Cinemascore and a reported $100 million budget, this looks like it is headed for cult status rather than hit.
A perfect storm of negatives -- major population centers focused on Hurricane Sandy, competition from Halloween parties and a weak set of new films (since most distributors shun pre-Halloween weekend for top releases) led to a big downturn in grosses for Friday. "Argo" -- holding well on strong word of mouth but still falling 20% -- is set to be #1 for the three days after two weeks as #2, with "Cloud Atlas" and new horror film of the week "Silent Hill: Revelation" battling for runner up -- that is, unless the fifth weekend of "Hotel Transylania" leaps ahead, which is quite possible with matinees the next two days.
Business fell almost 40% from last Friday, with storm preparations one factor. But any time two new wide release studio releases don't even make the top 10 -- which could happen to both Paramount's "Fun Size" and Fox's "Chasing Mavericks," the problems go much deeper.
"Flight" next week should get much more positive results (assuming the storm has passed). But these grosses are enough to make both studio execs and theater owners lose sleep. ( Check back for detailed analysis Sunday.)
The Friday top 10: