The recruits in "Ender's Game."
The recruits in "Ender's Game."

2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount) Week 3 - Last weekend #2

$11,300,000 (-44%) in 3,187 theaters (-158); PSA: $3,187; Cumulative: $78,747,000

Though it was a fairly steep drop, this is actually a better third weekend hold than the last two "Jackass" entries, with a gross that guarantees that this will unexpectedly get to a total gross that will more than triple its opening weekend.

What comes next: This like "Last Vegas" and several other bigger-than-expected hits this year shows that comedies are in big demand at the moment.

3. Free Birds (Relativity) Week 2 - Last weekend #4

$11,180,000 (-29%) in 3.736 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,993; Cumulative: $30,196,000

A very healthy second week hold for the newest of the kids' films in release. Like a lot of original animated films, this gained traction after getting initial viewing and in this case clearly some favorable word of mouth.

What comes next: Disney's "Frozen" doesn't open until Nov. 27, so this has a clear shot at two more decent weekends at least.

4. Last Vegas (CBS) Week 2 - Last weekend #3

$11,100,000 (-32%) in 3,082 theaters (+17); PSA: $3,602; Cumulative: $33,531,000

A strong hold for this older-audience appealing comedy, which is being driven by its cast and word of mouth far more than reviews. With a $28 million budget this looks with sustained play and holiday weeks ahead to become at least a modest hit and possibly more - if it reaches $54 million (quite possible) it will surpass "The Woman in Black" as the biggest grosser in the four year history of this company.

What comes next: Watch the weekdays for this film -- it actually hit #1 for the day on Thursday, showing real strength among boomers.

5. Ender's Game (Lionsgate) Week 2 - Last weekend #1

$10,250,000 (-62%) in 3,407 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $3,009; Cumulative: $44,031,000

Falling from #1 last week, this is just $1.8 million ahead of the sixth weekend of the slightly less expensive "Gravity," with its PSA even lower. This has become despite an unexpected international turnaround, a significant failure.

What comes next: Mostly over and out when Lionsgate's "Catching Fire" opens in two weeks, if not before.

6. Gravity (Warner Bros) Week 6 - Last weekend #5

$8,405,000 (-34%) in 2,720 theaters (-304); PSA: $3,090; Cumulative: $231,079,000

Another decent hold for the film that is likely to be the biggest hit among the awards contenders.

What comes next: These grosses are strong enough to suggest that quite a few theaters will be playing through the lucrative Thanksgiving holidays.

7. 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 - Last weekend #7

$6,600,000 (+38%) in 1,144 theaters (+734); PSA: $5,769; Cumulative: $17,346,000

This continues to impress for a fourth week now, and with Searchlight taking a real risk in going this wide so soon, it appears that they are maximizing the audience for what never seemed like an easy wider-release film, no matter how strong the reviews. This gross is 50% ahead of what "Blue Jasmine" (at this point the biggest specialized release of 2013) grossed when it passed the 1,000 theater mark (in its case, week 5). Best Picture winner "The Artist" (whose release was slower and more modulated to ride the Oscar bandwagon) never grossed more than $3.6 million on any given weekend. What this shows is that Searchlight was right to get this out early and not depend solely on awards to push the film -- and they still have that to fall back on later.

What comes next: This will hold in most of these theaters through November, and at some non-stop right into January. It's too early to firmly guess at its ultimate gross, but at a minimum it has achieved a result impressive enough to buttress its already strong awards chances.

8. Captain Phillips (Sony) Week 5 - Last weekend #6

$5,800,000 (-31%) in 2,646 theaters (-375); PSA: $2,646; Cumulative: $90,982,000

Another decent hold as the strong adult audience response continues for this Tom Hanks-starrer, which other than the two "Da Vinci Code" entry is his biggest live-action film since 2002 ("Catch Me If You Can"). This soon will top out Sony's biggest Oscar contender last year ("Zero Dark Thirty"), whose main wide weeks came after its Oscar nominations. International is beginning to come into play with some strength as well, making this $55 million film a likely clear success for the uneven Sony.

What comes next: Expect this to get to $115 million or better before it is through.

9. About Time (Universal) Week 2 - Last weekend #13

$5,200,000 (+381%%) in 1,200 theaters (+1,025); PSA: $4,310; Cumulative: $6,700,000

Performing (when adjusting for slightly different screen counts) about 75% as well as "12 Years a Slave" (although this had a bigger TV campaign), these are adequate grosses for this British romantic comedy with a sci-fi twist. Following a much more limited opening last week, this drew a heavily (71%) female audience as well as older (56% over 40), with Universal reporting strongly favorable audience reactions. A majority of the films that opened last weekend actually improved this time around.

What comes next: These grosses should minimally allow for most theaters to give it a chance to run, and if word of mouth is as strong as suggested, this might turn out to perform well enough to reach a decent domestic gross to add to the $43 million international take so far.

10. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Sony) Week 7 - Last weekend #8

$2,800,000 (-32%) in 1,836 theaters (-594); PSA: $1,525; Cumulative: $109,966,000

With a significant attrition of theaters, this still fell only 40% and held on as the longest-running top 10 film -- even with the more recent "Free Birds" doing well.

What comes next: This won't quite reach the $125 million level of "Cloudy 1," but will come close enough plus international to make this a real success for Sony Animation.

Last Vegas
'Last Vegas'