Weekend Box Office (October 9 - 11, 2009)
by Sujit Chawla
THIS WEEKEND Couples ruled the box office as Universal's Couples Retreat took top honors this weekend. But the real story was the low-budget horror entry from Paramount, Paranormal Activity, which crashed the top five from only 160 theaters.
Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell and the rest of the ensemble cast of Couples Retreat landed, as expected, in the number one spot at the North American box office this weekend. The tale of four couples going through intense comical therapy grossed $34.3M this weekend from 3,000 theaters for a per screen average of $11,429. It stands as the sixth highest opening weekend for the month of October, just ahead of a quadrilogy of Saw films. Poor reviews didn't hurt the film as its well-known cast certainly provided enough star power to make it the top choice for audiences. That and being the only wide release this weekend as other studios opted to sit this weekend out.
Falling a very reasonable 40% to second were the hunters of the living dead in Zombieland. The Sony release brought in another $14.8M this weekend bringing its total to $47.6M. Look for a final total in the $90-100M range. Dropping a very slim 27% in its fourth lap was the animated 3D adventure Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The flying food flick ate up $11.5M this weekend bringing its cume to $95.8M. $150M is certainly within its reach.
Storming into the top five was the horror film Paranormal Activity which grossed $7.9M from only 160 for a per screen average of an astounding $49,379. The film, which cost a reported $11,000 to produce, has been gaining momentum with TV ads showing the audience reaction to what they're seeing on screen, making people believe they're in for a true scare. Do we have another Blair Witch Project on our hands? Almost exactly 10 years ago that low-budget horror film exploded onto screens grossing $1.5M from only 27 theaters in its opening weekend, giving it a per screen average of $56,002. Two weeks later it expanded nationwide and made $29.2M for a per screen average of $26,528 and became a cultural phenomenon. Already in its third weekend, Paranormal Activity is rolling out slower, but word-of-mouth is making this a must-see event.
In fifth place this weekend, families continued to enjoy Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (3D) as the double feature brought in $7.8M for a fall of only 38% from last weekend. Impressive considering the number of years the two titles have been available on DVD. But the lure of 3D and the chance to see a preview for Toy Story 3 has opened the film to a whole new generation of moviegoers. Its cume from the rerelease stands at $22.8M.
In sixth place was the Bruce Willis sci-fi pic Surrogates which fell 41% in its third weekend to $4.3M. The film has grossed a disappointing $32.7M and seems headed for the DVD rack soon. Falling into seventh place in its second weekend was the Ricky Gervais dramedy The Invention of Lying which took in $3.3M, a drop of 53% from last weekend. Cume now stands at $12.3M. Good reviews haven't been helping the British comedian cross over into North American success. Look for the film to end up with a final gross in the $20-25M range.
Eighth place belonged to Drew Barrymore and the women of Whip It which fell 39% in its second weekend to $2.8M. Its cume stands at only $8.8M and won't make too much more before hitting the DVD shelves. In ninth place was the latest from documentarian Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story, which made $2.6M after a 41% decline from last weekend. The total for the film now stands at $9M. Rounding out the top 10 was Fame which fell 45% in its third outing to $2.5M, bringing its cume to $20M.
The top ten films grossed $91.9M which was up 14% from last year when Beverly Hills Chihuahua remained in the top spot in its second weekend with $17.5M; and up 15% from 2007 when Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? debuted at number one with $21.3M.
Compared to projections, Couples Retreat came in ahead of Gitesh's $24M prediction.
Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.
For a review of Couples Retreat visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Where the Wild Things Are, The Stepfather and Law Abiding Citizen all open wide.
Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:
|#||Title||Oct 9 - 11||Oct 2 - 4||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Couples Retreat||$ 34,286,740||3,000||1||$ 11,429||$ 34,286,740||Universal|
|3||Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs||11,527,480||15,809,039||-27.1||2,992||4||3,853||95,778,436||Sony|
|5||Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (3D)||7,766,643||12,491,789||-37.8||1,752||2||4,433||22,768,991||Buena Vista|
|7||The Invention of Lying||3,339,263||7,027,472||-52.5||1,743||2||1,916||12,295,868||Warner Bros.|
|8||Whip It||2,827,512||4,650,812||-39.2||1,738||2||1,627||8,793,570||Fox Searchlight|
|9||Capitalism: A Love Story||2,630,292||4,447,378||-40.9||995||3||2,644||9,025,483||Overture|
|11||The Informant!||2,204,286||3,689,235||-40.3||2,202||4||1,001||29,847,434||Warner Bros.|
|12||I Can Do Bad All By Myself||1,511,904||2,599,720||-41.8||1,313||5||1,151||50,383,561||Lionsgate|
|14||Good Hair||1,043,732||186||1||5,611||1,043,732||Roadside Attr.|
|15||Inglourious Basterds||848,970||1,419,256||-40.2||968||8||877||118,297,669||Weinstein Co.|
|18||G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra||687,865||486,940||41.3||609||10||1,129||148,969,502||Paramount|
|19||All About Steve||659,472||1,145,890||-42.4||1,200||6||550||32,742,037||Fox|
|Top 5||$ 76,283,989||$ 67,302,509||13.3|
|Top 20 vs. 2008||102,592,595||95,608,502||7.3|
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: October 12, 2009 at 10:15PM ET