Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Gravity Holds Strong at Top Spot

Also, Captain Phillips performs well, but Machete Kills doesn't.

by | October 13, 2013 | Comments

This weekend, Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller Gravity easily held on to the box office crown, Tom Hanks had his biggest opening in nearly five years, only one family film is playing in over 500 theaters, and those were the only films to make more than $4M this weekend.

Dropping a slim 21% from its record opening weekend, Warner Brothers Oscar shoo-in Gravity took in an estimated $44.3M this weekend bringing its total to a stunning $123M in 10 days. Buoyed by some of the best reviews of any film this year, the Sandra Bullock/George Clooner-starrer has become the must-see film of the season. And talks of the demise of 3D have been put on hold as 85% of all moviegoers have been willing to pay extra for the visual spectacle. Gravity‘s second weekend gross is the 3rd highest of the year, behind only Iron Man 3 and Monsters University, both of which were released during the lucrative summer season. Look for Gravity to end its run with at least $225M and possibly more as the awards start to roll in. Universal executives must be kicking themselves for selling the rights to Warner.

Tom Hanks had his biggest live-action opening since the summer of 2009 (Angels & Demons/$46.2M) with Captain Phillips which opened to $26M, according to estimates, for a per screen average of $8,609. The PG-13 drama was directed by Paul Greengrass and is based on the true story of Somali pirates that hijacked an American container ship. Last year’s eventual Best Picture winner Argo, another critical favorite based on a true story that involved Americans in peril internationally, opened this same weekend in second place to $19.5M and an average of $6,020. Could a similar run be in place for the Sony picture, which sees Hanks return to the critical and commercial success that audiences are used to seeing him in, after a series of misfires over the last few years?

Third place belonged to the sole family film in the top 10, Sony’s animated sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 which took in another $14.2M, according to estimates, bringing its cume to $78M. After 17 days, Cloudy 2 is running about 4% behind the original, which ended its run with $124.8M in 2009. With no family fare on the menu until November 1st (Free Birds), Cloudy 2 is still in position to match the final gross of the first film.

No other film managed to gross even $4M so the top 10 was very closely bunched together and final rankings could easily change when the final numbers come out on Monday. Currently in fourth place with a hugely disappointing $3.8M, according to estimates, is Robert Rodriguez’s violent revenge thriller Machete Kills, which collected a poor per screen average of $1,496. Even with three years of a cult following, tons of extra star power and higher ticket prices, the Open Road pic could barely muster one-third of the opening weekend of Machete, which opened to $11.4M in September of 2010. Rodriguez is great at making films on the cheap so the final chapter in the trilogy is still a possibility but this has to be a kick in the ego for the director as Machete Kills becomes his lowest grossing opening weekend ever for a film in wide release.

Dropping 51% from its tame opening was the Justin Timberlake/Ben Affleck gambling drama Runner Runner which took in an estimated $3.7M this weekend bringing its total to just $14M. Look for a final cume in the $20M range which is likely less than what Affleck will be making for playing Batman in the Superman vs. Batman flick due out in 2015. I don’t image he’s crying too much right now.

Warner Brothers’ other star-laden fall drama Prisoners fell 36% this weekend to sixth place with an estimated $3.6M, bringing its total to $53.6M. Horror breakout Insidious Chapter 2 continued its strong run falling 32% to $2.6M, according to estimates, bringing its total to $78M. Universal’s former Oscar hopeful Rush continued its disappointing run falling 47% to an estimated $2.4M bringing its cume to only $22M.

A couple of different romantic comedies rounded out the top 10. Ninth place belonged to triple threat Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon which brought in an additional $2.3M, according to estimates, bringing its total to $20M. And Fox Searchlight’s Baggage Claim followed close behind with an estimated $2.1M bringing its cume to $18.2M.

The top ten films grossed $106.7M which was down 9% from last year when Taken 2 remained at number one in its second weekend with $21.8M; but up 47% from 2011 when Real Steel also remained in the top spot in its second weekend with $16.3M.

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