Weekend Box Office: One Horse Race Secretariat Can’t Win

This holiday weekend (What is it? Columbus Day? When you’re a writer every day is a work day) was an all-out battle. Disney’s feel-good true-life sports picture ‘Secretariat’ battled gooey romantic comedy ‘Life As We Know It’ and last week’s champion, the Facebook drama ‘The Social Network.’ It looked touch and go for a little while there, but in the end, ‘Secretariat’ barely placed third. So, who won for #1?

Well, it’s those borderline sociopaths over at ‘The Social Network.’ (I’m talking about the characters, not David Fincher.) The film took the top spot for the second weekend with another $15.9 million. Not too shabby, especially considering that it’s only a 23% drop, which is the best hold of any movie this year, even better than ‘Inception.’ I tut-tutted last weekend’s gross because I felt it was too low for a movie so good, but it seems that strong word of mouth should carry this above and beyond. I say good on ya’. (I saw it again this week, and the crowd of regular folks ate it up.)

Second place, then, went to ‘Life As We Know It,’ which looks like some cloying sentimental claptrap, and therefore handily took in $14.6 million. Of course. Because, as we know, books are for nerds.

Trailing in third place was ‘Secretariat,’ Disney’s fuzzy-warm sports flick about the unstoppable horse. Apparently, people love the story more than the movie, because it only took in $12.6 million. You could feel Disney’s desperation to position this thing – last week’s sneak preview, the constant comparisons in ads to ‘The Blind Side‘ – but nothing seemed to stick. I’m more curious about Layfayette from ‘True Blood‘ in a squeaky clean family movie, and how John Malkovich can appropriately weird stuff up. (So no, haven’t seen it yet.)

My Soul to Take,’ Wes Craven’s long-delayed and recently 3D-ized horror flick looked to recapture the magic of his ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street‘ – but fell flat in fifth place with $6.9 million. Apparently the Halloween spirit didn’t seize people enough to spend five extra dollars.

While we’re on the subject of horror movie disappointments, ‘Let Me In,’ the superb remake of the Swedish vampire movie ‘Let the Right One In,’ fell out of the Top 10 entirely. Stephen King called it “the best horror film of the last 20 years,” and still… nothing. The Renee Zellweger thriller ‘Case 39‘ is still hanging tough. But this? Gone. It’s positively scary.

The Top 10:

01 ‘The Social Network’ (Sony) – $15.5 million

02 ‘Life As We Know It’ (Warner Bros) – $14.6 million

03 ‘Secretariat’ (Disney) – $12.6 million

04 ‘Legend of the Guardians’ (Warner Bros) – $7.0 million

05 ‘My Soul to Take’ (Universal) – $6.9 million

06 ‘The Town’ (Warner Bros) – $6.3 million

07 ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ (Fox) – $4.6 million

08 ‘Easy A’ (Sony) – $4.2 million

09 ‘Case 39’ (Paramount) – $2.6 million

10 ‘You Again’ (Disney) – $2.5 million


  1. Shayne Blakeley

    Finally saw Let Me In last night, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed actually. The dialogue was identical and the only real changes I could note were kind of insulting. Making the kills jump scares and spelling out things like Romeo & Juliet quotes like they would go over our heads otherwise. The cast was stellar, and it was by no means a bad film, but I couldn’t find one thing that warranted a second film.

    • Are you sure you’d feel that way if you hadn’t watched the Swedish film first?

      Let Me In is *different* than Let the Right One In. It’s more overtly a horror film. But I certainly didn’t see anything in there that could be called “insulting,” nor do I think it spelled anything out significantly more than the Swedish movie did. You may have just felt that way because you were already familiar with the story and saw all the plot points coming.

  2. Shayne Blakeley

    Well, the Romeo & Juliet thing was what I found insulting, needing to not only include the book but also the film, conveniently at the scene to set up her quote really bugged me. And yeah, if I hadn’t seen the other one first I’m sure I would have liked it much more, but if it’s such a different film it shouldn’t seem so redundant anyway.

  3. Shayne Blakeley

    I just don’t really see what’s so very different about it. The kills are filmed more frantically, in keeping with The Ring/Grudge standard, some minor characters are merged into one character so the pacing is a bit faster, and it was in english… Beyond that it seemed like they were reciting the other film.

  4. Joe

    Sorry “Let Me In” didn’t work for you, Shayne. I fully expected to avoid it, then partial reviews and comments on here prompted me to go. I agree with Stephen King– and Josh. I can’t wait to add the blu-ray to my shelf- right next to the Swedish original, “Let the Right One In.”

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