Box Office Results for October 12, 2012

This weekend, the booming North American box office was ruled by two stars who have successfully rebranded themselves in recent years with Liam Neeson’s action sequel Taken 2 remaining in first place for the second week in a row while Ben Affleck’ hostage crisis drama thriller Argo led a five-pack of new releases with a solid debut in the runner-up spot.  Also opening well was the new horror hit Sinister in third as the overall marketplace was once again sharply ahead of last year’s grosses for a third straight weekend.

Audiences powered Taken 2 into the top spot again as the kidnapping hit grossed an estimated $22.5M in its sophomore frame pushing the ten-day tally to a strong $86.8M.  The 20th Century Fox and EuropaCorp release played like a typical action sequel falling 55% from its $49.5M debut.  The decline was a far greater than the 17% dip that its predecessor enjoyed in February 2009, but that was a leggy sleeper hit that moviegoers found over time thanks to sensational word-of-mouth.  This is the first time Neeson has ever been the solo anchor of a number one hit over back-to-back weekends.

Audiences around the world continued to line up for the actor’s special set of skills as Taken 2 grossed an estimated $41M from international markets for a global weekend of $63.5M.  The sequel has amassed $132.8M overseas and a stellar $219.6M worldwide to date.

Ben Affleck’s hostage thriller Argo enjoyed a solid debut in second place with an estimated $20.1M from 3,232 theaters for a good $6,225 average.  The R-rated film based on the true story of a CIA agent’s covert operation into Iran to rescue Americans in hiding during the hostage crisis won top marks from both film critics and paying audiences alike.  Reviews were glowing across the board and audiences polled by CinemaScore gave a rare A+ grade, which bodes well for the film’s long-term playability.  Set in the aftermath of the 1979 attack on the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Argo, skewed extremely old and more female.  Studio research showed that a whopping 74% of the audience was over age 35 and 54% were women.  Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman acted along with Affleck who played the lead.

Argo did not reach the heights of Affleck’s last film The Town – another critically acclaimed drama with Oscar buzz released in the fall.  That one, also released by Warner Bros., opened to $23.8M and a $8,322 average in September 2010 on its way to a $92.2M final.  Despite being showered with awards buzz at the time of its release, it failed to earn a Best Picture Oscar nomination, which many industry experts predicted it would earn.  With its more contemporary story and younger cast, The Town played a bit younger.  Argo could find itself with better legs thanks to its older audience plus it seems likely to score more points with Academy voters.  Argo’s pro-American theme should continue to play well at the box office during this election season with all types of voters and the next two weekends will offer very little direct competition so solid holds are likely.

The new fright flick Sinister scared up the best opening for any horror film in ten months and placed third for the frame with an estimated $18.3M.  The Summit, Alliance, and IM Global title released by Summit’s new owner Lions Gate averaged a stellar $7,222 from 2,527 theaters and was even the number one movie in the country on opening day beating Taken 2 by $425,000 on Friday before taking a drop on Saturday while all other films saw gains.  The R-rated chiller stars Ethan Hawke but was sold more on its behind-the-scenes team with materials promoting that it was from the makers of the wildly successful Paranormal Activity films and the well-reviewed Insidious.

That helped the also well-reviewed Sinister post big numbers upfront but grosses fell 8% on Saturday and the C+ CinemaScore grade indicates the usual fast-burning horror road ahead – especially with Paranormal Activity 4 opening this Thursday night starting with 9:00pm shows on both conventional and IMAX screens.  Exit polls indicated a young adult audience as 67% of the crowd was in the 18-34 age range while 54% was male.  Sinister beat out recent openings for horror titles like August’s The Possession ($17.7M) and September’s House at the End of the Street ($12.3M).

Sony claimed the next two spots with a hit and a miss.  The animated comedy Hotel Transylvania collected an estimated $17.3M in its third weekend, down 36%, pushing the cume past the century mark to $102.2M for Sony Animation.  It’s now the 13th $100M+ domestic grosser for Adam Sandler over the past 14 years.  Though not sold as a Sandler vehicle, the spooky toon features the comedian voicing the main character Dracula, as well as his friends voicing the other characters.  With Halloween still more than two weeks away, Hotel Transylvania should continue to thrive at the box office and surpass $140M.

The funnyman’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry co-star Kevin James stumbled with his new broad comedy Here Comes the Boom, which opened in fifth with an estimated $12M for 3,014 locations for a lukewarm $3,981 average for Columbia.  The PG-rated pic about a teacher who enters Mixed Martial Arts to earn money for his school played to a mixed crowd of families and general audiences and with a male skew.  Reviews were mostly negative, though critical comments generally play a small role in the commercial playability of movies like these.  Here Comes the Boom was produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison production company and directed by Frank Coraci – director of The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy.  On the bright side, it earned a good A grade from CinemaScore though that does not guarantee legs in the weeks ahead.

In its second weekend of wide play, the college comedy Pitch Perfect dropped a reasonable 37% to an estimated $9.3M for a cume to date of $36.1M for Universal and Gold Circle.  The hold was certainly good, but not too impressive considering the very high exit polls it got from audiences.  Still, the $17M production should finish up as a nice moneymaker in the $60M range before overseas and other ancillaries are factored in.

Walt Disney’s stop-motion toon Frankenweenie fell by 39% in its sophomore round to an estimated $7M.  The Tim Burton creation has grossed $22M in ten days and may be headed for a disappointing $40M final.  The sci-fi actioner Looper got hit hard falling 48% to an estimated $6.3M giving TriStar, FilmDistrict, and Endgame $51.4M to date.

Competition for adult audiences proved to be too fierce this weekend for the well-reviewed crime saga Seven Psychopaths, which opened poorly in ninth place with just $4.3M, according to estimates.  The CBS, Film4, and BFI release averaged a weak $2,889 from 1,480 playdates.  Studio research showed that 62% of the audience was male and 71% was over 25.  The CinemaScore was a decent B+.  With Taken 2, Argo, and Looper to choose from, the target audience for Seven Psychopaths found more high profile options to go with.  Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, and Woody Harrelson led the ensemble cast for the R-rated film.

The indie drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower starring Harry Potter’s Emma Watson jumped into the top ten in its national expansion grossing an estimated $2.2M putting it in tenth place.  The Summit film widened from 221 to 726 locations and witnessed its per-theater average drop to a mild $2,983.  Total to date is $6.2M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $119.2M, which was up a hefty 64% from last year when Touchstone Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and Reliance Entertainment’s Real Steel remained at number one with $16.3M; and up a scant 2% from 2010 when MTV FilmsJackass 3D opened on top with a then-record $50.4M.


October 12, 2012 to October 14, 2012 Top Ten



1.   Taken 2

2.   Argo

  • $20,120,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

3.   Sinister

  • $18,250,000
  • a Summit release (Lions Gate Entertainment)
  • Alliance Films and IM Global (Reliance Entertainment)

4.   Hotel Transylvania

  • $17,300,000
  • Sony Pictures Animation (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

5.   Here Comes the Boom

  • $12,000,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and Happy Madison Productions

6.   Pitch Perfect

  • $9,336,000
  • a Universal release (NBCUniversal)
  • Gold Circle Films

7.   Frankenweenie

8.   Looper

  • $6,300,000
  • a TriStar release (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • FilmDistrict and Endgame Entertainment

9.   Seven Psychopaths

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  • $2,166,000
  • Summit Entertainment (Lions Gate Entertainment)


October 14, 2011 to October 16, 2011 Top Ten



1.   Real Steel

  • $16,304,000
  • a Touchstone release (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • DreamWorks Pictures (DreamWorks SKG) and Reliance Entertainment

2.   Footloose

3.   The Thing

  • $8,718,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBCUniversal)

4.   The Ides of March

5.   Dolphin Tale

6.   Moneyball

  • $5,500,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

7.   50/50

8.   Courageous

9.   The Big Year

10. The Lion King 3D


October 15, 2010 to October 17, 2010 Top Ten



1.   Jackass 3D

  • $50,354,000
  • MTV Films (Paramount Motion Pictures Group)

2.   RED

  • $21,761,000
  • Summit Entertainment and DC Entertainment (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

3.   The Social Network

  • $10,317,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and Relativity Media

4.   Secretariat

  • $9,319,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

5.   Life as We Know It

  • $8,955,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

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

  • $4,228,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

7.   The Town

  • $3,997,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

8.   My Soul to Take

  • $3,170,000
  • a Universal release (NBCUniversal)
  • Rogue (Relativity Media)

9.   Easy A

10. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

  • $2,363,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox Entertainment Group)

~ by Matt Whitfield on October 18, 2012.

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