Weekend Box Office (October 14 - 16, 2011)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND The worldwide protests against remakes came out in full force this weekend as the robot boxers of Real Steel squeaked out a victory over the 80s remakes of Footloose and The Thing, while the weekend's other new release The Big Year crashed and burned. Overall the box office dropped nearly 34% from last year.

Holding on for a second straight weekend at the top of the charts was the Hugh Jackman robot boxing family drama Real Steel which fell a respectable 40% from last weekend to $16.3M, according to final studio figures, bringing its total to $51.7M. With two more weeks before Puss in Boots comes gunning for the family audience, a final in the $90-100M range is likely, with that century mark a definite possibility.

The heavily hyped remake Footloose landed in second place this weekend with $15.6M from 3,549 dance halls, for a per screen average of a so-so $4,383. The film opened at number one on Friday, but lost steam as the weekend went along and families came out to see Real Steel, which was on top on Saturday and Sunday. With a CinemaScore of an astounding A, it seems the people who actually went out to see Footloose really liked it, but getting past the stigma of remaking a beloved 80s classic was apparently a bit too much to overcome for Paramount.

Another 80s remake landed with a thud in third place as Universal's horror flick The Thing grossed $8.5M from 2,996 screens, for a per screen average of a very sad $2,835. Other horror remakes have done reasonably well with tremendously front-loaded opening weekends before falling apart (Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street to name a couple) but it seems the name recognition of The Thing didn't have quite the cachet of the others. With a CinemaScore of a B-, expect The Thing to see quick trip to DVD.

Holdovers took the next five spots on the charts, each falling less than 33% from last weekend. Fourth place belonged to George Clooney with his political thriller The Ides of March which dropped a slim 32% in its second weekend to $7.1M, bringing its cume to $21.8M. A final in the $50M range seems likely unless it manages to pick up a bunch of year-end awards, at which point the idea of a re-release (or re-expansion) seems likely to happen which could push its total higher. Fifth place went to the dolphin tale Dolphin Tale, which took in $6.2M bringing its total to $58.6M. And the film it's been running neck and neck with since their openings last month came in close behind in sixth as Moneyball took in $5.5M seeing its total rise to $57.7M

Two tales of courage took seventh and eighth this weekend. The cancer dramedy 50/50 had the lowest drop in the top ten, falling only 25% to $4.3M, bringing its cume to $24.3M. And the religious-themed Courageous held on well in its third weekend, falling 32% to $3.3M, bringing its total to $21.3M for distributor Sony.

We had to take out a pair of binoculars to see the Steve Martin/Owen Wilson/Jack Black comedy The Big Year on the charts, but there it is, tucked into ninth place this weekend with $3.3M from 2,150 screens, for a dismal per screen average of $1,513. With a CinemaScore of a B- this is another film that won't last very long in theaters. Apparently it's not just sequels and remakes that people are protesting against.

Rounding out the top ten was the animated mega-hit The Lion King which roared its way to $2.8M in the fifth weekend of its two-week limited release. Its total for the re-release is $90.5M with its overall total now at $419.1M, putting it at number nine on the all-time blockbuster list, just ahead of Disney stablemate Toy Story 3 ($415M in 2010) and just behind yet another Disney film, 2006's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($423.3M).

Outside of the top ten, Sony Picture Classics had a limited release for the Pedro Almodovar thriller The Skin I Live In starring Antonio Banderas. Released on only 6 screens, the film grossed $223,119 for a scorching per screen average of $37,187.

The top ten films grossed $72.7M which was down 38% from last year when Jackass 3D opened in the top spot with a new October record of $50.4M; and down 42% from 2009 when Where the Wild Things Are debuted at number one with $32.7M.

Compared to projections, Footloose, The Thing and The Big Year all debuted below Gitesh's respective predictions of $20M, $13M and $6M.

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Watch the NEW trailer for The Avengers.

For a NEW review of Footloose visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when two sequels and a remake open in the forms of Johnny English Reborn, Paranormal Activity 3 and The Three Musketeers.

Marketplace - Shop for DVDs, electronics, books, and posters at discounted prices:

# Title Oct 14 - 16 Oct 7 - 9 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Real Steel $ 16,291,655 $ 27,319,677 -40.4 3,440 2 $ 4,736 $ 51,731,456 Disney
2 Footloose 15,556,113 3,549 1 4,383 15,556,113 Paramount
3 The Thing 8,493,665 2,996 1 2,835 8,493,665 Universal
4 The Ides of March 7,108,846 10,470,143 -32.1 2,199 2 3,233 21,763,235 Sony
5 Dolphin Tale 6,233,185 9,131,091 -31.7 3,286 4 1,897 58,560,166 Warner Bros.
6 Moneyball 5,456,730 7,453,989 -26.8 2,840 4 1,921 57,668,988 Sony
7 50/50 4,260,087 5,652,149 -24.6 2,391 3 1,782 24,279,152 Summit
8 Courageous 3,305,238 4,867,876 -32.1 1,214 3 2,723 21,282,828 Sony
9 The Big Year 3,251,884 2,150 1 1,513 3,251,884 Fox
10 The Lion King 3D 2,792,403 4,598,606 -39.3 1,970 5 1,417 90,536,318 Disney
11 Dream House 2,465,220 4,475,525 -44.9 2,172 3 1,135 18,384,590 Universal
12 Contagion 1,811,190 2,942,322 -38.4 1,684 6 1,076 71,999,503 Warner Bros.
13 Abduction 1,427,194 2,893,684 -50.7 1,707 4 836 25,778,685 Lionsgate
14 The Help 1,187,684 1,945,048 -38.9 1,267 10 937 164,905,972 Disney
15 What's Your Number? 1,145,159 3,126,782 -63.4 1,282 3 893 12,950,926 Fox
16 Drive 1,116,149 1,842,563 -39.4 703 5 1,588 32,113,455 FilmDistrict
17 Killer Elite 1,031,220 2,201,362 -53.2 1,431 4 721 23,763,724 Open Road
18 The Smurfs 440,526 512,056 -14.0 370 12 1,191 140,037,807 Sony
19 Harry Potter / Deathly Hallows Part 2 284,548 405,861 -29.9 330 14 862 380,235,400 Warner Bros.
20 Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain 272,941 467,823 -41.7 188 6 1,452 7,362,836 Code Black
Top 5 $ 53,683,464 $ 60,027,049 -10.6
Top 10 72,749,806 80,038,160 -9.1
Top 20 83,931,637 91,198,814 -8.0
Top 20 vs. 2010 83,931,637 126,147,075 -33.5

Last Updated: October 17, 2011 at 5:00PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 7:40pm ET.