Box Office Results for September 21, 2012

This weekend, two new releases were in a dead heat for the number one spot while a third was very close behind making the race for the box office crown too close to call based on Sunday estimates.  Overall, the North American box office remained dull once again posting double-digit declines from the same frame in recent years.

Claiming first place with an estimated $13M was the LAPD cop action thriller End of Watch, which averaged a respectable $4,762 from 2,730 theaters, beating expectations.  The R-rated pic starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña scored glowing reviews, which helped to attract an adult audience for Open Road and Exclusive.  End of Watch earned a good A- from CinemaScore and coupled with solid reviews could have a nice shelf life.

Also claiming first place was the horror film House at the End of the Street headlined by The Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, which made a play for the top spot with an estimated opening weekend of $13M driven by teenage girls and young women who have been underserved in recent weeks by Hollywood’s latest menu of action flicks, older-skewing dramas, and kidpics.  The Relativity release scared up a decent $4,217 average from 3,083 theaters, which may be good enough to lead a sluggish frame once final grosses are tabulated.  The suspense thriller was produced for just $10M with the distributor acquiring domestic rights for $2.5M and kicking in a targeted P&A campaign.

According to studio research, House at the End of the Street‘s audience was 61% female and 70% under 25.  Timing worked in the thriller’s favor as The Possession was the only scary movie to connect with moviegoers over the last few months and with Halloween right around the corner, the target audience was in the mood for a creepy flick.  The PG-13 rating also opened the door to business from younger teens.  Reviews were mostly negative and audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it a B.  But even steep declines in the weeks ahead would leave House at the End of the Street in a profitable state especially with a promising home entertainment audience to still tap into down the road.

Clint Eastwood‘s latest film, the baseball scout drama Trouble With the Curve reported an estimate of $12.7M from 3,212 theaters for a mild $3,960 average for Warner Bros.  Co-starring Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman, Trouble With the Curve played to an older adult audience like most of Eastwood’s films do.

Reviews were mixed for Trouble With the Curve, which was the actor’s first starring vehicle in 19 years, which he didn’t also direct.  His longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz made his directorial debut here.  The opening was nowhere close to the $29.5M that Clint’s last acting venture Gran Torino grossed in its first weekend of wide release in January 2009.  That film failed to score a single Oscar nomination, bu was helped by buzz that it as probably going to be the legendary star’s last acting gig.  Instead it bowed much closer to the $12.3M of Million Dollar Baby in its first frame of national expansion in January 2005.  Trouble With the Curve came into the marketplace with much lighter fanfare, zero awards chatter, no must-see buzz, and so it was never expected to draw huge numbers.  A lack of strong reviews probably had a significant impact on the mature target audience too.

Rounding out the top five were last weekend’s two new openers, which fell in different manners.  The Pixar 3D release of Finding Nemo slipped 43% to an estimated $9.4M putting the ten-day tally at $30M giving the fish flick a lifetime domestic cume of $369.7M.  The decline was not as good as The Lion King‘s 27% from this weekend a year ago, but was better than the 51% for Beauty and the Beast last January when it came off of a holiday weekend.

Falling sharply from first place, Screen Gems, Constantin, Davis, and Impact‘s fivequel Resident Evil: Retribution tumbled 68% to an estimated $6.7M making for the largest sophomore drop yet for the decade-old franchise.  It was just slightly worse than the last three films, which all fell by more than 60% in their second weekends.  Resident Evil: Retribution has shot up $33.5M in North America in its first ten days and looks headed for a domestic finish of just under $45M, the smallest amount in the series since the original Resident Evil in 2002.  But international business was still solid with the frame collecting an estimated $30.5M boosting the overseas cume to $103.4M and worldwide to $136.9M (76% from offshore territories led by Japan) with major markets Italy and the U.K. to still open next week.

Lionsgate and IM Global failed to draw in young men with its 3D action offering Dredd, which opened in sixth place with an estimated $6.3M from 2,506 locations for a slow $2,514 average.  Competition from other action films as well as football were factors as the memory of Stallone‘s poorly-received take on the comic book character in Judge Dredd from 1995.  Repelling the ladies, Dredd skewed 75% male and 69% to those 25 or older.  Although many film critics gave the R-rated sci-fi flick good reviews, audiences were not as thrilled as the CinemaScore grade was a mediocre B and its 8% Friday-to-Saturday bump was the smallest increase of any pic in the top ten.

The Weinstein Co. and Annapurna enjoyed a good national expansion for its arthouse hit The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman and claimed eighth place with an estimated $5M from 788 locations (up from five last weekend) for a respectable $6,345 average.  The critically-acclaimed cult leader pic fared slightly better than director Paul Thomas Anderson‘s last film There Will Be Blood, which didn’t expand to this level until its fifth weekend when it grossed $4.9M from 885 sites for a $5,502 average.  The Master hopes to follow There Will Be Blood and become a contender in the Oscar race for Picture and Actor.  It will have a long line of worthy and extremely competitive competition to deal with over the next three months though, with films like Flight, Lincoln, Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, Killing Them Softly, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Promised Land, and lastly Argo, which Roger Ebert has already predicted will take home the Best Picture Oscar this year!!!

The horror hit The Possession fell 54% to an estimated $2.6M giving Lionsgate and Ghost House $45.3M to date.  Dropping 47% to an estimated $2.3M was the crime drama Lawless, which has banked $34.5M so far for The Weinstein Co., Yucaipa, Revolt, and Benaroya.  The leggy kidpic ParaNorman rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.3M, off just 26%, for a $52.6M cume for Focus.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $73,4M, which was down 29% from last year when Walt Disney Animation StudiosThe Lion King 3D remained at number one with $21.9M; and down 17% from 2010 when 20th Century Fox‘s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opened on top with $19M.

September 21, 2012 to September 23, 2012 Top Ten



1.   End of Watch

2.   House at the End of the Street

  • $13,000,000
  • Relativity Media

3.   Trouble With the Curve

4.   Finding Nemo 3D

5.   Resident Evil: Retribution

6.   Dredd

7.   The Master

  • $5,000,000
  • a Weinstein Co. release
  • Annapurna Pictures

8.   The Possession

  • $2,630,000
  • a Lionsgate release (Lions Gate Entertainment)
  • Ghost House Pictures

9.   Lawless

  • $2,321,000
  • a Weinstein Co. release
  • Yucaipa Films, Revolt Films, and Benaroya Pictures

10. ParaNorman


September 23, 2011 to September 25, 2011 Top Ten



1.   The Lion King 3D

  • $22,130,000
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

2.   Moneyball

3.   Dolphin Tale

4.   Abduction

  • $11,200,000
  • Lionsgate (Lions Gate Entertainment)

5.   Killer Elite

  • $9,500,000
  • an Open Road release (Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment)
  • Omnilab Media

6.   Contagion

  • $8,565,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

7.   Drive

8.   The Help

9.   Straw Dogs

  • $2,100,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

10. I Don’t Know How She Does It

  • $2,053,000
  • The Weinstein Company


September 24, 2010 to September 26, 2010 Top Ten



1.   Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

2.   Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

  • $16,112,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

3.   The Town

  • $15,605,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

4.   Easy A

  • $10,600,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

5.   You Again

  • $8,408,000
  • Touchstone Pictures (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

6.   Devil

7.   Resident Evil: Afterlife

  • $4,955,000
  • a Screen Gems release (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • Constantin Film, Davis Films, and Impact Pictures

8.   Alpha and Omega

9.   Takers

  • $1,622,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

10. Inception

  • $1,247,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

~ by Matt Whitfield on September 28, 2012.

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