Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Prisoners Breaks Through to Top Spot at the Box Office

 Another weekend has passed, and Scott has another dose of analysis of the results at the box office.

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Two movies entered theatres in wide release this past weekend, with one of them taking first place in the box office and the other barely making the top five by less than $50 thousand.  It was also the first week in the release of Lee Daniel’s The Butler that the movie did not finish in the top five, and has now domestically grossed $109 million.  Last week’s champion, Insidious Chapter 2, fell a hard 66% in weekend gross but still managed to come in second place with $13.8 million.

Landing in first place was Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, and Maria Bello.  On paper, the cast would indicate some strong acting as there are a number of awards nominations on each actor’s resume, including some Oscar nods for some.  The reality was exactly what paper would infer as it was a movie that was strong on the screen, resonating with critics and audiences alike.  It took home a very healthy $21 million, and it should be able to sustain in theatres a lot better than Insidious Chapter 2 due to the fact that it appeals to a more mature demographic that does not tend to always rush out opening weekend for movies of interest.  Sadly, this will most likely be its only weekend at number one due to the release of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 next weekend.

And then there’s Battle of the Year.  If you read my weekend preview, it may have been obvious that I held little interest in the movie and believed it would do poorly.  Call me a soothsayer, because poorly it did do.  The movie about a rag-tag group of dancing baddies brought together under the tutelage of a washed-up coach managed to bring in $4.6 million.  Dance movies have not done really well lately, with the Step Up franchise seeing worse and worse opening weekends with each release.  I believe audiences could be drawn to such movies but I think having a captivating story is the first concern, not 3D dance scenes.  I could easily see this film falling out of the top ten next weekend.

While I may have bragged a bit about a good prediction for Battle of the Year, I should quickly nullify that moment of brilliance by admitting a huge miscalculation for Ron Howard’s Rush, which came out in limited release.  I had estimated a gigantic $90,000 per theatre, and it was able to muster $37,400 per theatre.  There are a few reasons for this large gap.  The first is that I knew it was debuting in 5 theatres and assumed that meant it was in 5 markets.  The truth was, it only released in New York and Los Angeles.  The second reason is that those two markets are the exact same markets that the late James Gandolfini’s romantic comedy Enough Said debuted.  Both movies have strong buzz around them, and some definite cannibalizing took place this weekend as they fought for similar demographics.

In the land of 3D IMAX, The Wizard of Oz released in 318 locations and made $3 million dollars, an outing that was strong enough to land it in ninth place in the box office.  It was able to out-perform some other 3D re-releases, such as Finding Nemo and Jurassic Park and showed that it really is a timeless classic.  The power of such a movie is to be able to encourage all age ranges to pony up the money for a ticket, and that is exactly what this franchise is able to do.  Seeing the Yellow Brick Road in action on the big screen is on my personal wish list, and I am cursing the fact that I was not able to see it on the IMAX screen.

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