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Friday Box Office Top Ten: Trouble With the Grosses, Lawrence Leads Weak Field

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
September 22, 2012 4:29 PM
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4. Finding Nemo 3D (Buena Vista) Week 2 - Last Friday: #2; Last Weekend: #2

$2,388,000 (-53%) in 2,904 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $822; Cumulative: $22,922,000

The 3-D reset of "The Lion King" not only opened much bigger than "Finding Nemo," but its second Friday only fell one-third, compared to the more than half fall for "Finding Nemo." After a strong summer of multiple animation smashes, this counts as a disappointment.

What it means: Even still, the cost of the 3-D redo was minor relative to gross, and this performance - with most of the rest of the world yet to come - will not prevent future endeavors.

5. Dredd  (Lionsgate) NEW - Cinemascore: B; Metacritic score: 57

$2,230,000 in 2,506 theaters; PSA: $890; Cumulative: $2,230,000

Lionsgate, which is having a strong year once again, is said to have acquired this British/South African production with a marketing commitment north of $20 million, an investment not looking lucrative with this weak initial gross (enhanced by 3-D ticket prices). From the same comic book series that the 1990s Sylvester Stallone "Judge Dredd" came from (that grossed an OK for its time $34 million for Disney), this was a test of star Karl Urban's ability to carry a potential action franchise after establishing himself as a memorable physical force in films like "Star Trek," "The Bourne Supremacy" and "Red" as well as leading roles in films like "Doom" and "Priest." These grosses won't help his cause.

For British director Pete Travis, who came out of the festival circuit with "Omagh" to make "Vantage Point" and then the barely released "Endgame," this also won't be the breakout success he likely wanted. (It also played at the recent Toronto Film Festival, in the Midnight section).

What it means: This has opened in the UK, to (relative to population) somewhat better results. For the producers (not Lionsgate, whose participation is limited to US/Canada) this could bear more fruit around the rest of the world.

6. Resident Evil: Retribution (Sony) Week 2 - Last Friday: #1; Last Weekend: #1

$1,950,000 (-76%) in 3,016 in theaters (+4); PSA: $647 Cumulative: $28,718,000

This is one of the biggest second Friday falloffs for a #1 film in recent months, both in terms of PSA drop and position, but still about the same as 2010's "Resident Evil: Afterlife," so it doesn't come as a surprise.

What it means: This has earned most of its domestic gross already. The foreign first week already had brought in $50 million though, so more from the franchise is likely.

7. The Master (Weinstein) Week 2 - Last Friday: #19; Last Weekend: #19

$1,386,000 (+571%) in 788 in theaters (+783); PSA: $1,759; Cumulative: $2,442,000

After its record setting NY/LA platform openings last week, and with reviews in new cities at the year's best level already established, Weinstein quickly turned this into a much wider film with multiple theaters in a wide range of cities nationwide.

The Friday result - keeping in mind that the audience likely increases more than most new films because of the adult appeal - is not at the same level of success as the extraordinary exclusives last week. The gross is the same as when "Moonrise Kingdom" first reached this level of playoff (about 65 more theaters, so the PSA is a bit better here). But that came in its sixth week of release, when many of the theaters had already been playing for a week or longer, so it isn't the ideal comparison. Director Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" at 885 theaters (its fifth week, boosted by multiple Oscar nominations) grossed $4.9 million for three days, again expanding after having already been somewhat wide.

Though the reviews have been at the highest levels, some indications of a more love it/don't love it quite so much divide came in the weekday figures in NY/LA. From a $103,000 Monday, this fell steadily to $62,000 total in its five initial theaters. With a much wider release, though still drawing a sophisticated audience, this less striking performance isn't unexpected.

What it means: This may still expand further, but at this point it looks like it may struggle to reach, at least on its initial run, the levels of "Moonrise Kingdom" or "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," the two best limited releases this year.

8. The Possession (Lionsgate) Week 4 - Last Friday: #3; Last Weekend: #3

$815,000 (-56%) in 2,598 theaters (-262); PSA: $314; Cumulative: $43,465,000

Lionsgate likely didn't expect this to be a top 10 film in its fourth week.

What it means: This is all gravy by this point.

9. The Lawless (Weinstein) Week 4 - Last Friday: #4; Last Weekend: #4

$704,000 (-48) in 2,614 theaters (-449); PSA: $269; Cumulative: $32,895,000

Still hanging in there, this Weinstein acquistion continues to hold on better than initially expected.

What it means: It's going to end up close to $40 million, quite good for an early September opening.

10. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 7 - Last Friday: #7; Last Weekend: #8

$479,000 (-44%) in 1,431 theaters (-739); PSA: $335; Cumulative: $109,272,000

The steady performance continues, as what once looked like a problem hitting $100 million in US/Canada now is a good deal beyond near the end of its run.

What it means: With $90 million additional in  already and several major countries still to open, this series entry will be the first to do better overseas than at home, which helps chances that it there could be at least one more sequel.

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