After two weeks of solid second-place finishes, Alcon Entertainment’s The Blind Side posted its first number one win this weekend, taking the lead with an estimated $20.4 million from its 3,326 locations. After two weeks of steroid-pumped box office dominance New Moon could not catch up – closing its third weekend with another $15.7 million domestically. All in all it was kind of a dull weekend, with new releases failing to drum up much interest. But that is all about to change with the official start of the holiday movie season next weekend. Let’s just call this week the calm before the storm.
|1||The Blind Side||$20,440,000||$129.2|
|4||A Christmas Carol||$7,520,000||$115|
I’m going to take the opportunity this weekend has presented me to be succinct and, well, brief, on the subject of the top box office performers. After all, is there anyone out there who needs to hear more on the subject of The Blind Side? Yes? OK then, it was put into turnaround by Fox, cost about $29 million to make and, to date, has made over $129 million in three weeks. It’s a Cinderella story – literally and figuratively.
I know there are always people who could hear more about New Moon, but I am pretty tapped out on that subject as well. Here’s what I can tell you: when we add the foreign grosses in, The Twilight Saga: New Moon is well ahead of $570 million worldwide. It makes you wonder how high Eclipse can climb with a summer release date to boost it.
And now for our new releases. First up, at number three, is the dark and serious Brothers from director Jim Sheridan. With all of the strikes this film had against it (infidelity and war are not your traditional holiday themes) I think it could have been much worse for Brothers. The film which stars Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal, opened in third. The bad news is, third only reps an estimated $9.7 million from 2,088 locations. That makes for a poor per-screen average of $4,646. And with a slew of big-marquee movie titles waiting in the wings, Brothers will have to hope that star power can sustain it long enough to hold the collective attention of those Academy voters.
One film that had less lofty aspirations than Brothers was the new lowbrow heist pic Armored. Though, surprisingly, the reviews for both new releases on Rotten Tomatoes were separated by only ten points – Armored came in at 47% to Brothers 57%. The Screen Gems/Sony thriller could only pull in $6.6 million for the weekend off of 1,915 screens, tying for the fifth week of Roland Emmerich’s 2012. I blame the trailers the studio has been running, which made Armored look about as exciting as an episode of Murder She Wrote.
If the weekend was less-than kind to Armored, it was down-right punishing to our third wide release, Everybody’s Fine. A remake of Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990film, Everybody’s Fine stars Drew Barrymore and Robert DeNiro. And therein lays its Achilles’ heel. When was the last time a movie headlined by DeNiro made money? 2004, that’s when.
Finally, I noticed just today that some mysterious movie called Transylmania was released on Friday in 1,055 locations where it brought in just $250,000 or $250 per screen. I pay attention to the box office but, I must admit, I had never heard of this movie. I guess somebody ran out of money to promote it, which is just as well because Transylmania is sporting a perfect 00% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And they said it couldn’t be done…
At the other end of the movie review continuum we find director Jason Reitman’s well-received Up in the Air, starring George Clooney. Paramount released its Oscar-hopeful in 15 markets this weekend, bringing in an impressive $77,300 per venue or an estimated $1.2 million total in three days.
I said at the beginning of this article that this weekend would be the calm before the storm. Here’s why: in the next two weeks two huge movies will be making their long-awaited debuts: Disney’s The Princess and the Frog goes wide on the eleventh and something called Avatar is due one week later. Although, I’m not sensing too much excitement around the latter…