Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gravity Rises Again but One Movie Takes a Giant Plunge

Scott looks at a weekend at the box office that was great for some hold-over films, but a disaster for one major release.

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This past weekend an all-time record was set, though probably not the kind that studio executives will be bragging about on the golf course. As well, audiences continued to show interest in Gravity and Captain Phillips as both pictures were able to hold onto first and second place respectively. We also had a few Oscar contenders open up in limited release, all of which leaves us with a good deal to talk about today.

As mentioned above, first and second place were nabbed by two holdovers that are proving to be the recipients of good word of mouth. Gravity dropped 30% from last week and made $30 million this weekend, which is only a drop of 54% from its opening weekend (a lot of films face that type of drop after just one weekend). Gravity has also done well overseas, earning around $240 million so far.

The Tom Hanks starring movie, Captain Phillips, was able to hold off the attack of the newcomers by dropping a very respectable 36% from its opening weekend to make $16.4 million. It barely edged out Carrie, the remake of the 1976 version and based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The horror film starring young Chloe Grace Moretz lost a lot of steam when the reviews started rolling in late last week, and was never able to get traction in the one month of the year when horrors have their chance to be front and centre. What makes the opening weekend even more disappointing is the fact that it is the only major horror release of the month, after Paranormal Activity 5 was pulled from its October release only a few months ago. It is probably a good thing they bumped that film back, because they apparently did not even have writers for it yet, something that is kind of a crucial first step.

Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up in Escape Plan, but did so about 25 years too late. This movie had already gone under a bit of an identity crisis (I believe at times going by the names The Tomb and The Escape before finally landing on Escape Plan) and was almost doomed to fail before it opened, based on the soft earnings of both Stallone’s and Schwarzenegger’s winter action film attempts.  It took home $9.8 million this weekend, and will stand no chance of making back its budget of $50 million. I think both of these actors need to look to Bruce Willis and the types of roles he is choosing if they are going to re-establish themselves in cinema.

The Fifth Estate, a docudrama about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks set an all-time record for the least amount of money made by a movie opening in more than 1,500 theatres. The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl (both of whom did quality performances), made a very weak $1.7 million, and landed in eighth place. It was beaten by Enough Said, which was playing in 1,000 less theatres. This is a sad fall for a film that had some people thinking there could be Oscar discussions around it.

Speaking of Oscar talk, 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost both debuted in limited release this weekend and showed that they have some drawing power. The stronger showing was by 12 Years a Slave, who made an average of $48,000 over the 19 theatres that it opened in. Next weekend it will be expanding to 100 screens, so it will be interesting to see if this movie can continue its momentum. All is Lost, starring Robert Redford (literally, just Robert Redford) made a decent $15,000 per theatre over 6 theatres. This one may have a hard time getting audiences going forward, as people may be scared off by a film that has only one actor and next to no dialogue. It will be seeing a small expansion next weekend as well.

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