Hollywood finally got some box office results worth celebrating as all three of this weekend’s major new releases performed at or above industry projections. The combined grosses of Megamind, Due Date and For Colored Girls made this the most lucrative early November frame since 2003 and promises studios glad tidings for the 2010 holiday season to come.
|3||For Colored Girls||$20,100,000||$20.1|
|6||Paranormal Activity 2||$7,290,000||$77.2|
|10||The Social Network||$3,600,000||$85|
Megamind, the third of Dreamworks 3D releases of 2010, was well out ahead in first place this weekend with $47.7 million from its 3,944 locations. That estimate puts the PG-rated superhero spoof ahead of the $43.7 million the studio saw from How to Train Your Dragon back in March (though well below the $70 plus million Shrek Forever After brought in two months later). The difference, of course, is that franchise-star Shrek had his debut weekend all to himself (because no one considered MacGruber competition for the ogre even before it tanked at the box office) where Megamind had to split its likely adult audiences with Due Date.
Director Todd Phillips’ follow-up to the crazy-successful The Hangover opened on Friday nearly neck and neck with Megamind. That gap became wider as Saturday audiences chose the family-friendly toon over the R-rated antics of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. Due Date placed second for the weekend with an estimated $33.5 million from its 3,355 runs – just above the $30 million Warner Brothers was looking for. Last June The Hangover opened to just under $50 million on its way to a domestic gross of $277 million. No one is expecting Due Date to pull off that kind of miracle delivery; though with the dearth of comedies opening in the coming weeks, the film should have no trouble passing $100 million.
Third place this weekend goes to Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. The drama, an adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play/poem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, is performing a bit below par when compared to recent Perry releases – both financially and critically. For Colored Girls opened with $20.1 million from its 2,127 and currently has a Rotten Tomato rating of 33% – admittedly higher than the 27% of his last film, Why Did I Get Married Too? The latter opened to over $29 million. His Madea movies have gone as high as the $41 million of Madea Goes to Jail. This is the first Tyler Perry film not based on an original Perry concept and, though it equaled the $20 million Lionsgate was looking for, I believe the take away message may be that folks like Tyler better in drag.
The movie in fourth place comes as a bit of a surprise. Even after showing amazing holds over the past two weeks, Summit’s R-rated Red just keeps hanging in there. This week Red fell just 17% to bring its domestic cume up to $71.8 million. No such luck for Halloween’s erstwhile leader, the Saw franchise. After debuting at number one last weekend Saw 3D fell off by 66%. Big drops are run of the mill for horror titles, but with the last few Saw films bleeding to the tune of 68% after week one, Saw 3D can be seen as about average.
Finally, a word about a movie that has already had many, many words devoted to it: Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. The drama with all that Oscar buzz opened in four theatres this weekend where, despite some scattered reports of vomiting and at least one seizure during the film’s now infamous “arm scene,” audiences reportedly waited on long lines to catch the carnage. 127 Hours debuted with an estimated $265,000, or roughly $66,481 per screen.
While this weekend reversed 2010’s trend of making 2009 grosses look huge by comparison, I do not have the same hopes for the weekend to come. Three major releases will debut but none looks like a blockbuster. Denzel Washington’s latest train-based thriller Unstoppable has the highest theatre count, but the days of Denzel domination are probably a thing of the past (see his last train thriller The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3). Instead, if word of mouth is on his side, we could see a strong second week showing for Megamind…