Weekend Box Office – GNOMEO AND JULIET Beats HALL PASS for First; DRIVE ANGRY Has Lowest 3D Opening Ever

     February 27, 2011

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Oh, the irony.  On the very day that Hollywood will fete its highest achievements of the past year, we are here to consider releases that reside in its creative basement.  After a Friday win, newcomer Hall Pass could not hold off holdover Gnomeo and Juliet. After two weeks at number three, the all-ages animated film won the weekend with an estimated $14.2 million. Sad for Hall Pass but it could have been worse: Drive Angry 3D now holds the record for the lowest opening ever for a 3D wide-release.

Title Weekend Total
1 Gnomeo and Juliet $14,200,000 $75.1
2 Hall Pass $13,400,000 $13.4
3 Unknown $12,400,000 $42.8
4 Just Go With It $11,100,000 $79.3
5 I Am Number Four $11,000,000 $37.7
6 Justin Bieber $9,200,000 $62.7
7 The King’s Speech $7,610,000 $114.5
8 Big Mommas 3 $7,550,000 $28.5
9 Drive Angry 3D $5,100,000 $5.1
10 The Roommate $2,000,000 $36.5

Just under one million dollars separates the top two films in this weekend’s box office.  That usually means that things could change by the time actual earnings are reported on Monday, but right now that doesn’t seem likely.  Besides, by tomorrow the big story will be Hollywood’s newest Oscar winners – deflecting attention from the low, low turnout at the box office.

After winning Friday with an estimated $4.6 million, the Warner Brothers/New Line pic Hall Pass was expected to relinquish the top spot to the more family-friendly Gnomeo and Juliet.  The R-rated comedy earned an estimated $13.4 million from its 2,950 locations. Had the film managed to place number one it would have been the lowest earning first place debut since Bangkok Dangerous back in September 2008. Luckily, the Farrelly Brothers avoided that awkward headline by skipping the number one spot altogether.

drive-angry-movie-posterBangkok Dangerous, as you may recall, marked the beginning of the long, painful box office decline of Nicolas Cage. The Academy Award winner has been in a string of flops in the past two years including 2011’s Season of the Witch which opened to $10.6 million this past January.  Incredibly, Witch ended up doubling the estimate for Cage’s latest disaster, Drive Angry 3D.  The R-rated action movie opened in ninth place this weekend, earning an estimated $5.1 million from its 2,290 locations.  Considering that the film was shot in 3D and that ticket prices were higher in 97% of its theatres, there is just no way to sugarcoat this performance.

Paramount thought up a clever way to keep Justin Bieber in the top ten this weekend.  After two weeks in theatres the studio put out a special “Director’s Fan Cut” to run one week only.  See, that way all the girls, ahem, people who already saw the film would have to go again or risk missing whatever wisdom bombs Bieber might drop during the extra 40 minutes of footage.  Sarcasm aside, it was a smart play. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never fell off by just 31% and brought its domestic cume up to $62.7 million.  That is just shy of the final tally for the Hannah Montana concert film, for those who are keeping track.

Last weekend’s new tiles benefitted from this weekend’s weak offerings: Unknown fell to number two, losing 43% of its first week estimates and bringing its total gross up to $42.8 million.  I Am Number Four also lost about 43% of its debut gross but considering the budget for the latter film is more than double what Unknown cost, that number is not nearly as encouraging.  Meanwhile, in anticipation of a big Oscar win, 300 theatres were added to the run of The King’s Speech, helping the film increase its take by 13% over last weekend.

Next weekend Rango, the animated film that reunites director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, sees release in over 3,700 locations.  The film has been getting constant promotion for the past week, much of it aimed at adults.  The sci-fi thriller The Adjustment Bureau also debuts along with the fantasy film Beastly, but they’ll both be in the shadow of Rango.

Rango-movie-image

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