Weekend Box Office: A Light Opening for the Newcomers

During this odd weekend, all three major openers either played softly or bombed miserably. Most moviegoers attended older releases, while two-, three- and four-week-old movies dropped no more than 30% from last weekend’s numbers. Perhaps audiences just don’t want to see remakes and fluffy films?

Week-old ‘Real Steel‘ retained the #1 spot with $16.3 million. Not far behind was the ‘Footloose‘ remake, trailing within $200,000. With numbers that close, it’s very possible that we could see the two flip positions when the final numbers are reported this afternoon. But even if ‘Footloose’ wins the top spot, it’s still an underwhelming opening. It was predicted to earn $18.3 million, and the original ‘Footloose‘ opened with better attendance (approximately $20 million after inflation). $16.3 million is especially weak for ‘Footloose’ when you realize that past dance flicks ‘Stomp the Yard‘ and the first two ‘Step Up‘ movies opened stronger.

The Thing‘, the new remake/prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic horror film, debuted with half of its predicted box office. While it was expected to open with $16.5 million, it landed at third with only $8.7 million – which is pretty bad for a prequel to one of the most popular horror movies of all time. Just as other recent dance flicks put the ‘Footloose’ opening to shame, the same goes for ‘The Thing’. Both the recent horror remakes for ‘The Fog’ and ‘The Stepfather‘ opened in the $11 million range.

But the worst opening of all was the Owen Wilson/Steve Martin/Jack Black ensemble bird-watching piece ‘The Big Year‘. Predicted to earn $6.3 million, the film wasn’t so big after all with only $3.3 million. Box Office Mojo points out that this makes three strikes in row for distributor 20th Century Fox – the others being ‘Glee: The 3D Concert Movie’ and ‘What’s Your Number?’.

The Ides of March‘ only dropped 28.4% in its second weekend by earning $7.5 million. Four-week-olds ‘Dolphin Tale‘ and ‘Moneyball‘ fell 30% and 20% with $6.3 and $5.5 million-dollar-weekends respectively. And three-week-olds ‘50/50‘ and ‘Courageous‘ fell 23% and 30% with $4.3 and $3.4 million-dollar-weekends, also respectively.

The only title in the Top 10 to fall more than 30% is the five-week-old 3D re-release of ‘The Lion King‘, which was originally only supposed to receive a two-week limited theatrical run. At #10, ‘The Lion King’ dropped 40% and earned another $2.7 million.

Top 10:

1. ‘Real Steel’ (Buena Vista) – $16,304,000

2. ‘Footloose’ (Paramount) – $16,100,000

3. ‘The Thing’ (Universal) – $8,700,000

4. ‘The Ides of March’ (Sony) – $7,500,000

5. ‘Dolphin Tale’ (Warner Bros.) – $6,345,000

6. ‘Moneyball’ (Sony) – $5,500,000

7. ’50/50′ (Summit) – $4,315,000

8. ‘Courageous’ (TriStar) – $3,400,000

9. ‘The Big Year’ (Fox) – $3,325,000

10. ‘The Lion King (in 3D)’ (Buena Vista) – $2,708,000


  1. I didn’t see “The Thing” (along with most of America, apparently), but two things:

    Did anyone else get the feeling that it showed WAAAAY too much of the movie in it’s preview, including the Monster itself and what I can only guess is the climax (girl, presumably the lone survivor, with flamethrower taking on said Monster)?

    Did the preview allude to this being a prequel? I figured this was a remake, and I tend to skip remakes and perhaps that’s why many movie goers did too.

    And don’t even get me started on Footloose…

    • It’s pretty typical of modern trailers to give too much of the movie away, unfortunately. However, I’m not sure that the flamethrower bit is really the climax. (I haven’t seen it yet.)

      I don’t think the trailer explicitly explains that this is a prequel. From the perspective of a modern teenage audience that hasn’t seen the original, the movie is for all intents and purposes a remake. The bit about it being a prequel is just something for fans of the original to pick up on.

  2. Jane Morgan

    75% of the audience for ‘Footloose’ was women. It played the best in the deep south. Maybe they were all fans of ‘Black Snake Moan.’

    ‘The Thing’ made twice as much box office as the opening weekend of ‘Let Me In.’ But they’re both in the failure genre. Maybe Hollywood should be remaking these IPs as action movies instead of horror flicks.

    ‘Real Steel’ is up to $108M worldwide. ‘Johnny English Reborn’ is up to $85M. ‘The Three Musketeers’ is up to $49M.

    But the real winner this weekend was a black-and-white silent film.

    ‘The Artist’ opened #1 in France with $3.3M. One of the most buzzed about movies from Cannes, its set to release in the U.S. on Nov. 23.

      • Jane Morgan

        At the premiere, ‘The Artist’ ended with a twenty minute standing ovation.

        The Weinstein Company has the U.S. rights. I bet we’re going to be seeing a huge Oscar campaign. Maybe even a Best Picture nomination.

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