Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Gnomeo and Juliet Holds on to Top Spot

Hall Pass takes #2, and Drive Angry debuts low.

by | February 27, 2011 | Comments

This weekend, distracted by Oscar hoopla, Hollywood studios tossed unimpressive new films into North American multiplexes which failed to excite moviegoers who instead drove the three-week old animated hit Gnomeo & Juliet into first place. The Owen Wilson comedy Hall Pass stumbled into second place during its opening weekend while Nicolas Cage’s latest action effort Drive Angry crashed and burned with an embarrassing ninth place debut for the actor who won an Oscar 15 years ago this spring.

Thanks to strong legs and weak results from new releases, Disney’s 3D hit Gnomeo & Juliet climbed into the top spot with an estimated $14.2M in its third weekend. Off just 26%, the G-rated tale has pulled in a stellar $75.1M and is headed for $110M or more. Solid word-of-mouth from kids and parents plus a lack of other family options has helped. This Friday, a new animated competitor arrives in the form of Johnny Depp’s Rango which is being backed by a massive marketing and distribution assault. However, that PG-rated pic may play a little older since its rating is due to “rude humor” and “smoking” so it may not hurt Gnomeo‘s hold on younger children.

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The Farrelly brothers, the ex-kings of raunchy comedies, hoped for their first number one hit in over a decade but were beaten down by a three-week old garden gnome. Their vacation-from-marriage pic Hall Pass debuted in second with an estimated $13.4M from 2,950 theaters for a mild $4,549 average. Falling below industry expectations, the R-rated film starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis failed to excite its target adult audience and its story about two husbands granted a no-questions-asked week away from their marriages turned off many women. Reviews were mostly bad and starpower wasn’t ample with Wilson just seen in two December comedies and Sudeikis never anchoring a feature film before.

Falling from first to third was Liam Neeson’s action thriller Unknown which dropped a moderate 43% to an estimated $12.4M for a ten-day total of $42.8M. Warner Bros. should end its domestic run with about $70M. Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It followed with an estimated $11.1M, down 40%, for a $79.4M cume for Sony.

Sophomore I Am Number Four grossed an estimated $11M thanks to a 43% decline, a good hold for a sci-fi flick with a built-in audience. With $37.7M in ten days, Disney should end up with around $60M. Paramount added more 3D footage to its tween sensation Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and fans responded with a weekend dip of only 31% to an estimated $9.2M. A film like this would normally fall by more than 50% at this point in its run. Total stands at an impressive $62.8M.

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Leading all films with 12 Oscar nominations, The King’s Speech added 300 more runs over Oscar weekend and rose 17% to an estimated $7.6M. That put The Weinstein Co. at a robust $114.5M with more to come in the weeks ahead. Close behind with an estimated $7.6M as well was a film likely to receive less Oscar attention next awards season, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. Fox’s Martin Lawrence threequel fell 54% in its second frame and has banked $28.6M in ten days. Look for a $40M final and possible Razzie nods.

In one of the worst showings ever for both Nicolas Cage and the 3D format, the action film Drive Angry bombed in its opening grossing a puny $5.1M, according to estimates. The Summit release averaged a lousy $2,241 from 2,290 theaters and failed to excite paying moviegoers. The marketing emphsized that the R-rated film was actually shot in 3D and wasn’t a conversion, but action fans still found no need in spending top dollar on Cage’s second film in as many months. His Season of the Witch also struck out with its $10.6M debut in January.

Rounding out the weak top ten was the college thriller The Roommate which fell 48% to an estimated $2.1M in its fourth frame raising Sony’s total to a solid $35.9M.

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Below the top ten, top Oscar contenders enjoyed good holds as the awards drew near. Among Best Picture nominees, True Grit dipped just 20% to an estimated $1.9M, The Fighter rose 2% to an estimated $1.6M, and Spirit Award champ Black Swan inched up 2% as well to an estimated $1.4M. Totals stand at $167.1M, $90.4M, and $103.6M respectively. Seven of the ten Best Picture nominees have now grossed over $90M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $93.8M which was down 10% from last year when Shutter Island stayed in the top spot with $22.7M; but up 17% from 2009 when Madea Goes to Jail remained at number one with $16.2M. The Academy Awards did not fall on either of those frames.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

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