Thompson on Hollywood

Finally, the Inception juggernaut has slowed enough for a new comedy, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's The Other Guys, to nab the number one slot at the weekend boxoffice. Anthony D'Alessandro reports. (UPDATED)

Sony’s buddy cop comedy The Other Guys collared an estimated $35.6 million giving funnymen combo Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay their second highest opening of all-time behind 2006’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ($47 million).
Sony hasn’t dropped the ball so far this summer.  Each title has posted a solid opening in relation to its cost and their entire summer slate has shown excellent staying power on the charts. The studio also pulled back a tad on its tentpole spending: Sony’s highest-priced indulgence this summer was the Angelina Jolie actioner Salt at $110 million. Holding well, the spy thriller has already racked up $92 million stateside.  Sony spent $85 million on The Other Guys, $5 million more than Adam Sandler’sGrown Ups (b.o. cume $155.7 million).

The Other Guys, which also starred Mark Wahlberg, should sail past the $100-million mark, largely due to its PG-13 rating. The MPAA label helped The Other Guys, which drew a predominantly male crowd, 56%, to pull 55% under the age of 25 and 18% under the age of 17. Ferrell and McKay’s last film, 2008’s Step Brothers, took its time propelling itself past the century mark (eight frames) due its R rating. Critics, who tend to be harsh on comedies, embraced The Other Guys with an 80% fresh Tomatometer rating, the best rating ever for a Ferrell-McKay vehicle on the site.  Audiences, however, took a jaded attitude toward The Other Guys, which earned a B- Cinemascore.
In the number three slot was Walt Disney-Summit Entertainment’s street dance threequel Step Up 3D, which tapped away with $15.5 million, coming in at the higher end of studio expectations.  Step Up 3D charted the third best opening of the series, behind Step Up($20.7 million) and 2008’s Step Up 2 the Streets ($18.9 million). In this case, clearly the visual format worked in favor of this film’s receipts, yielding higher ticket prices.  A whopping 81% ($12.6 million) of Step Up 3D's grosses came from 3-D.  Overall, those 3-D locales playing Step Up 3D pulled in 2.5 times more dough than 2-D hubs. 

“People are consciously making the 3-D choice,” asserts Disney domestic distribution chief Chuck Viane.  Exhibitors added 150 3-D screens in the last week, a tell-tale sign that audiences prefer the format over 2-D.
While the opening share for 3-D films has plummeted from 61% with Shrek Forever After to 45% with Despicable Me through the summer, keep in mind that animated, sci-fi and action titles tend to post the biggest B.O. numbers for 3-D fare. The question for studios remains whether converting a film --which may or not be suitable for 3-D--is worth the cost in relation to the few extra bucks it makes on opening weekend.
The Step Up films have built a huge following among young women: the recent installment captivated 60% females overall and 70% under 25; 31% of attendees were between the ages of 12 and 17 and 8% were under the age of 11.  Those watching the film in 3-D awarded it an A- Cinemascore. Critics were split on Step Up 3D, assessing it at 51% rotten on the Tomatometer.

Do you know what the numbers 32-36-32 mean? They’re the excellent weekend drops for Warner Bros.’ Inception which took second with $18.6 million.  With August largely lacking four-quadrant titles, it wouldn’t come as surprise to see Inception pop back up to No. 1 later this month.  Inception is currently counting a domestic take of $227.7 million.
Rounding out the top 10 was Focus Features’ indie aud pleaser The Kids Are All Right, which outpegged such summer holdovers as The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Grown Ups

Here's Weekend Top 10 Chart:

1. The Other Guys (Sony): $35.6 million in its first weekend at 3,651 theaters. $9,751 theater average.  Domestic total: $35.6 million
2. Inception (Warner Bros.): $18.6 million down 32% in its fourth weekend at 3,418 theaters. $5,442 theater average.  Domestic total: $227.7 million
3. Step Up 3D (Disney): $15.5 million in its first weekend at 2,435 theaters.  $6,379 theater average.  Domestic total: $15.5 million.
4. Salt (Sony): $11.1 million down 43% in its third weekend at 3,317 theaters.  $3,346 theater average.  Domestic total: $92.0 million.
5. Dinner for Schmucks (Paramount): $10.5 million down 55% in its second weekend at 3,004.  $3,495 theater average.  Domestic total: $46.7 million.
6. Despicable Me (Universal): $9.4 million down 39% in its fifth weekend at 3,413 theaters. $2,765 theater average.  Domestic total: $209.4 million
7. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (Warner Bros.): $6.9 million down 44% in its second weekend at 3,705.  $1,865 theater average.  Domestic total: $26.4 million.
8. Charlie St. Cloud: $4.7 million down 62% in its second weekend at 2,725 theaters.  $1,725 theater average. Domestic total: $23.5 million.
9. Toy Story 3 (Disney/Pixar): $3.05 million down 41% in its eighth weekend at 1,714 theaters. $1,778 theater average. Domestic total: $396.3 million.
10. The Kids Are All Rights (Focus): $2.6 million down 26% in its fifth weekend at 994 theaters.  $2,622 theater average.  Domestic total: $14 million.