Weekend Box Office – WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Grabs $32 Million. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY Breaks $20 Million

     October 18, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Movie image - slice.jpg

People wanted to know “Where the Wild Things Are,” and it looks like they found out. The PG-rated boy-meets-beasts adventure took the top spot this weekend with $32 million in its first three days. The big story is still “Paranormal Activity” though, as it rises yet higher, landing at number three and proving to be one of the most successful indie roll-outs in recent memory. “The Stepfather” also performed better than a terrible movie should. Here’s the chart. The first number is what it made this weekend and the second is it’s total. More after the jump:

  • 1 Where the Wild Things Are $32,470,000 – $32,470,000
  • 2 Law Abiding Citizen            $21,250,000 – $21,250,000
  • 3 Paranormal Activity            $20,163,000 – $33,717,000
  • 4 Couples Retreat                 $17,949,000 – $63,339,000
  • 5 The Stepfather (2009)        $12,300,000 – $12,300,000
  • 6 Cloudy Meatballs                $8,100,000 –  $108,284,000
  • 7 Zombieland                       $7,800,000 –   $60,823,000
  • 8 Toy Story/Toy Story2 (3D)   $3,011,000 –   $28,594,000
  • 9 Surrogates                        $1,922,000 –   $36,332,000
  • 10 The Invention of Lying      $1,905,000 –  $15,495,000

Where the Wild Things Are character movie poster Carol.jpgLast weekend “Couples Retreat” was the only major release. Luckily, we have more than a lame Vince Vaughn comedy to see this weekend. “Where the Wild Things Are” impressed many in its 3,735 theaters. Our own Matt Goldberg absolutely loved it, as did I, and it is sitting on a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m still not sure how Spike Jonze, the writer for MTV’s “Jackass” managed to take a 10 sentence children’s book and make it into a completely compelling and amazing 90 minute film, but somehow he did. He had the help of the Jim Hensen company as well. Even if you don’t like “Where The Wild Things Are,” it’s worth seeing as both a technical achievement and realization how much we need Hensen-esque puppetry and real objects as much as computer graphics in movies.

“Paranormal Activity” is the hot fall item though. Upping its count from just over 100 theaters last weekend to 750, the 2007 indie thriller made an estimated $20 million this weekend, up from $8 million last weekend. To get those numbers, it has a per-screen average of more than $26,000. It will be interesting to see how far this one will climb, but with Halloween only two weeks away, the film still has some room to grow.

“Law Abiding Citizen” landed at number two with $21 million in receipts, though it opened in only 2,890 theaters. It’s per-screen average was about $1,300 lower than “Wild Things.” Not surprising, given that it’s Tomatoes score is a poor 24%. Gerard Butler seems to be everywhere in 2009. I guess he accepted everything after “300” was a huge success. He’s been in “Gamer” and “The Ugly Truth” in just the last few months. Neither of them are anything to write home about. “The Stepfather,” a film with a trailer that is probably better than the movie, opened with $12 million in 2734 theaters. I’m surprised it did so well. “Nip/Tuck” must have a pretty good following because the film has only a 07% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is particularly abysmal.

Overall, this weekend is a marked improvement from a year ago when “Max Payne” topped the box office with $17.6 million. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” was number two, and in its third week of release.

Next weekend should be interesting. “Saw VI” will be opening. It’s becoming harder to remember a Halloween without a Saw movie. I predict this one will be about as good as any of them since the first. They’ve found a good formula for $$ here. Expect a “Saw VII” next year, but also expect “Paranormal Activity” to take a bite out of VI’s gross. “Amelia” is also opening, starring Hillary Swank and Ewan McGregor. This looks like one of the first movies of the fall hoping to win Oscars. Hopefully they’ll deal with the life of Amelia Earhart in a new way, though I predict her end will remain a mystery. John C. Reilly vehicle, “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” will also open in close to 3,000 theaters like “Saw” and “Amelia.” Finally, “Astro Boy” will release to a smaller crowd of 800 select theaters. I always loved “Astro Boy;” Hopefully the low number of theaters isn’t indicative of its quality.

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