Much to my surprise and completely against my predictions, two animal movies – one a 3D re-release and the other a painfully formulaic and blandly manipulative family drama – are dominating the box office. In its second weekend, ‘Dolphin Tale’ jumped from third place to first. Meanwhile, ‘The Lion King (in 3D)’, a 17-year-old film in the third weekend of its extended re-release, became the tenth highest grossing film of all time. The best of our new releases opened this weekend in fourth place. Ouch.
By only $58,000, a number so small that it could switch positions when the final box office totals come in this afternoon, ‘50/50‘ opened stronger than any of the other new movies this weekend. An odd fact about ’50/50’ is that Summit Entertainment sat on it for a while. (Watch the ‘Inception’ special features and you’ll notice Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a post-filming buzzed head.) With a 92% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the studio poorly underestimated how strong a film it had on its hands. Check out my five-star review now.
Coming in right behind ’50/50′ with $8.8 million was the faith-inspiring ‘Courageous‘. As the only new movie to out-perform expectations, the per-screen average for ‘Courageous’ is actually the best of the Top 10 films. At only 1,161 locations across the U.S., the movie averaged $7,580 per location. Not bad for a film that hardly featured any marketing at all. (I have yet to see a trailer, TV spot or online ad for it.)
The psychological horror flick ‘Dream House‘ opened in sixth place with $8.2 million. Not screened for press, I didn’t see ‘Dream House’ and don’t know anyone who has. Although I originally had a little hope for the film, the 8% Rotten Tomatoes consensus has stripped me of any hope and made me not want to ever see it: “Dream House is punishingly slow, stuffy, and way too obvious to be scary.”
Anna Faris’ R-rated romantic comedy ‘What’s Your Numer?‘ opened in eighth place with $5.6 million – barely more than one third of the opening weekend of the last comedy she lead, ‘The House Bunny’. Had the editor had a sense for Faris’ comedic timing, the film might have received better reviews and perhaps had a stronger opening.
While the limited-release horror comedy ‘Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil‘ didn’t make its way onto the early charts, ‘Take Shelter‘ did. The intimate psychological drama earned $56,200 despite opening in only three screens. That’s an average of $18,733 per screen, the second best per-screen average for the week. Starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, the film has received a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating and the official Luke Hickman Stamp of Approval. If you’re lucky enough to have ‘Take Shelter’ playing nearby, take advantage of the opportunity.
1. ‘Dolphin Tale’ (Warner Bros.) – $14,245,000
2. ‘Moneyball’ (Sony) – $12,500,000
3. ‘The Lion King (in 3D) – $11,057,000
4. ’50/50’ (Summit) – $8,858,000
5. ‘Courageous’ (TriStar) – $8,800,000
6. ‘Dream House’ (Universal) – $8,209,000
7. ‘Abduction’ (Lionsgate) – $5,650,000
8. ‘What’s Your Number?’ (Fox) – $5,600,000
9. ‘Contagion’ (Warner Bros.) – $5,040,000
10. ‘Killer Elite’ (Open Road) – $4,855,000