Weekend Box Office (August 27 - 29, 2010)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND In a rare reversal of chart positions for two films opening at the top of the charts, Sony's heist thriller Takers emerged as the true box office champ on Monday after estimates reported on Sunday showed it in a close second place finish. The devilish thriller The Last Exorcism ended up in the number two spot with the pair separated by less than $150,000. Regardless of position, both films surprised industry observers as the new releases were not expected to soar so high. Characteristic of the final weekend of August, box office sales slumped to their worst level of the entire summer with the top ten failing to break the $100M mark - and even the $90M mark - for the first time all season.
The urban action thriller Takers enjoyed a surprisingly potent debut grossing $20.5M this weekend, according to final studio figures, from a not-so-extravagantly-wide 2,206 playdates for a sizzling $9,298 average leading all films in wide release. The PG-13 film about a cop investigating a criminal enterprise stars Matt Dillon who got top billing, but was mostly absent from the marketing materials like trailers and posters. The heist film, which also stars Idris Elba, Paul Walker, rapper T.I., and singer Chris Brown, was not expected to be much of a force, especially given its late August release slot, but excited action fans of all ethnicities with starpower and style. The two music stars also were executive producers. It caps off a sensational summer for Sony which has had no losers this season.
The mock documentary The Last Exorcism scared up big numbers in the runner-up spot grossing $20.4M from 2,874 theaters for a sturdy $7,087 average per location. Rated PG-13, the Lionsgate release downplayed the doc format in its marketing and used Hostel director Eli Roth's name in the ads as the presenter to help pull in fans of hardcore horror. Opening night audiences were turned off by what they got - probably differing greatly from what they expected - as sales fell sharply on Saturday by a troubling 25%. Reviews were particularly good for a film of this genre, however.
Sylvester Stallone's two-week run at the top ended but The Expendables still held up relatively well for an action title dropping 44% to $9.5M bumping the 17-day total to $82M for Lionsgate. Sony enjoyed a similar decline for its estrogen flick Eat Pray Love which grossed $6.8M, down 44%, for a $60.5M cume.
The hit comedy The Other Guys followed in fifth with a slim dip of only 38% to $6.3M thanks to a marketplace with few big comedy alternatives. Total is $99M. Tumbling 57% to $5.2M, the spoof pic Vampires Suck gave Fox a mediocre $27.8M sum to date.
The mind-bending smash Inception grossed $4.9M in its seventh weekend of release, off 38%, and lifted the total to $270.5M. That puts the Leonardo DiCaprio thriller at number 48 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just behind the $277.3M of last summer's The Hangover. The family sequel Nanny McPhee Returns followed its weak debut with another disappointing frame collecting $4.7M, dropping 44%. Universal has taken in a dismal $17M in ten days from North America.
Playing to an equally small audience was Jennifer Aniston's comedy The Switch which fell 46% in its second weekend to $4.6M giving Buena Vista just $16.4M in ten days. The horror entry Piranha 3D tumbled 57% in its sophomore outing to $4.3M. The Weinstein Co. has collected only $18.3M.
Landing just outside the top ten was the Special Edition release of Avatar which grossed $4M from 812 3D engagements for a solid $4,936 average. The lifetime total climbed up to $753.8M.
The top ten films grossed $87.2M which was down 17% from last year when The Final Destination opened in the top spot with $27.4M; but up 27% from 2008 when Tropic Thunder stayed at number one for the third week in a row with $11.5M.
Compared to projections, both The Last Exorcism and Takers opened much higher than my respective forecasts of $14M and $7M. Avatar was close to my $3M prediction.
Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter. For a DVD review of My Name is Khan visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Machete, Going the Distance, and The American close off the summer over the Labor Day holiday session.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||Aug 27 - 29||Aug 20 - 22||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Takers||$ 20,512,304||2,206||1||$ 9,298||$ 20,512,304||Sony|
|2||The Last Exorcism||20,366,613||2,874||1||7,087||20,366,613||Lionsgate|
|4||Eat Pray Love||6,815,555||12,111,162||-43.7||3,108||3||2,193||60,531,326||Sony|
|5||The Other Guys||6,285,712||10,163,337||-38.2||3,181||4||1,976||99,018,172||Sony|
|8||Nanny McPhee Returns||4,714,215||8,407,685||-43.9||2,798||2||1,685||16,991,285||Universal|
|9||The Switch||4,583,481||8,436,713||-45.7||2,017||2||2,272||16,410,009||Buena Vista/Maple|
|10||Piranha 3D||4,302,878||10,106,872||-57.4||2,491||2||1,727||18,266,889||Weinstein Co.|
|11||Avatar: Special Edition||4,007,750||812||2||4,936||753,773,889||Fox|
|12||Lottery Ticket||3,854,303||10,652,297||-63.8||1,974||2||1,953||17,284,641||Warner Bros.|
|14||Scott Pilgrim vs. The World||2,505,555||5,201,970||-51.8||1,566||3||1,600||26,166,945||Universal|
|16||Dinner for Schmucks||1,779,540||3,520,805||-49.5||1,501||5||1,186||69,204,372||Paramount|
|17||Get Low||1,640,176||713,794||129.8||570||5||2,878||3,633,451||Sony Classics|
|18||Step Up 3D||1,227,816||3,150,401||-61.0||901||4||1,363||39,715,304||Buena Vista|
|19||Toy Story 3||1,010,710||1,523,124||-33.6||600||11||1,685||405,659,221||Buena Vista|
|20||Cats & Dogs: The Revenge...||675,231||1,701,134||-60.3||823||5||820||41,279,244||Warner Bros.|
|Top 5||$ 63,508,121||$ 62,097,659||2.3|
|Top 20 vs. 2009||108,651,482||119,165,693||-8.8|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: August 30, 2010 at 4:15PM ET
Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 7:40pm ET.