Weekend Box Office (November 15 - 17, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The mighty super hero sequel Thor: The Dark World ruled the box office for a second time while the comedy sequel The Best Man Holiday debuted to sensational results in second place while playing in about half as many theaters. With only one new wide release entering the marketplace, most holdovers enjoyed low declines during the calm before the Katniss storm. Sunday storms across the midwest cut into sales there prompting most films to come down a bit from original estimates.

Holding the top spot for a second weekend in a row, Thor dropped a reasonable 57% to $36.6M according to final studio figures pushing its cume to $145.1M after ten-plus days of release. It was a fairly good decline for this type of film considering the first Thor fell 47% in its sophomore session and that the sequel's first frame included extra grosses from its Thursday night shows before opening day. Dark World fared slightly better than fellow Marvel sequel Iron Man 2 which dropped 59% in May 2010 as well as Captain America: The First Avenger which tumbled 61% in July 2011.

Instead the hold came close to last November's Bond sequel Skyfall which declined by 54% this very same weekend. With good buzz and the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday coming up, the new Thor may find its way to a finish in the $250M range which would be an impressive 38% improvement on the $181M of its predecessor.

Overseas, the son of Odin continued to collect hefty numbers with $52.5M making for a global weekend gross of $89M. Led by China's $41.8M in just ten days, the international cume is now $332.8M which is already 24% better than the final overseas tally on the first Thor. Worldwide sits at $478M with the half-century mark set to be smashed in the coming days on its way to the vicinity of a wonderful $750M or so.

Opening to fantastic numbers in the runner-up spot was The Best Man Holiday with $30.1M from 2,024 locations for a scorching $14,875 per-theater average. The three-day tally almost reached the total gross of its 1999 predecessor The Best Man which took in $34.1M in the fall of that year after opening at number one with $9M.

Fans were still interested in Harper Stewart and his pals and the new installment brought back the whole cast from the first film including Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Nia Long, and Regina Hall who have all increased their starpower over the last 14 years. Reviews were mixed but generally upbeat - more than good enough for a comedy sequel with a built-in audience.

Holiday was the fifth R-rated comedy of the year to open over $30M and became that rare film to earn A+ CinemaScore grades across all four quadrants. Recent movies that have scored an A+ include all-time opening weekend champ The Avengers, Oscar king Argo, and last spring's uplifting baseball drama 42.

Filled with both laughs and cries, the new Best Man's success was powered by African-American women. Studio research showed that the crowd was 75% female, 87% black, and 63% 35 and older.

Though a spectacular opening, it wasn't groundbreaking as numerous films with predominantly African-American casts have scored muscular debuts with powerful averages. The recent all-star comedy Think Like a Man bowed to $33.6M on its way to a $91.5M final while ensemble sequel Barbershop 2 debuted to $24.2M leading to a $65.1M final. Plus Tyler Perry, who has utterly dominated the market for comedies aimed at black adults, has opened five films to over $25M a piece.

Produced for only $17M, The Best Man Holiday should be able to end its run with a minimum of $75M - more than four times its cost - and it would not be surprising if the cast is reassembled in the near future for another chapter.

With impressive staying power, the ensemble comedy Last Vegas finished in third place in its third weekend with $8.4M sliding a mere 24%. CBS Films has banked $46.5M to date and should continue to attract solid sales at least through Thanksgiving weekend.

More funny flicks with legs followed. The animated film Free Birds eased 27% to $8.1M putting Relativity's total at $42M. Paramount's spinoff hit Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa grossed $7.4M, off just 35%, for a $90M cume.

Fall smash Gravity eased by only 29% to $6.1M boosting the remarkable domestic sum to $240.4M. Ender's Game, a space flick not doing as well, followed with $6M falling 41% in the process. Cume to date is $53.6M for the pricey sci-fi film.

12 Years A Slave dropped 31% to $4.6M and upped its sum to $24.9M for Fox Searchlight. Sony's Captain Phillips slipped only 23% to $4.4M for $97.5M to date. Rounding out the top ten was the disappointing romance About Time with $3.3M, down 30%, and a weak $11.4M total.

In platform release, Alexander Payne's new film Nebraska enjoyed a nice start with $140,401 from only four sites for a potent $35,100 average. The well-reviewed film from Paramount expands to the top ten markets next weekend.

Among films that expanded, Matthew McConaughey's Dallas Buyers Club went from 35 to 184 locations and grossed $1.8M for a promising $9,518 average. Fox's The Book Thief widened from 4 to 29 sites and collected $420,532 for a solid $14,501 average. It goes nationwide over the long turkey frame.

The top ten films grossed $115.1M which was down 52% from last year when tentpole The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened at number one with $141.1M; and down 46% from 2011 when Breaking Dawn Part 1 debuted in the top spot with $138.1M.

Compared to projections, The Best Man Holiday opened well above my $19M forecast while Thor: The Dark World came in very close to my $38M prediction.

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Watch the NEW trailer for Maleficent.

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Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Delivery Man both open nationwide.

# Title Nov 15 - 17 Nov 8 - 10 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Thor: The Dark World $ 36,586,016 $ 85,737,841 -57.3 3,841 2 $ 9,525 $ 145,097,130 Disney
2 The Best Man Holiday 30,107,555 2,024 1 14,875 30,107,555 Universal
3 Last Vegas 8,439,544 11,036,270 -23.5 3,237 3 2,607 46,532,527 CBS
4 Free Birds 8,106,151 11,112,063 -27.1 3,510 3 2,309 42,024,356 Relativity
5 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 7,421,536 11,326,977 -34.5 3,190 4 2,327 89,953,174 Paramount
6 Gravity 6,104,096 8,535,339 -28.5 2,560 7 2,384 240,379,710 Warner Bros.
7 Ender's Game 6,017,337 10,259,188 -41.3 3,236 3 1,859 53,593,921 Lionsgate
8 12 Years A Slave 4,604,706 6,675,731 -31.0 1,411 5 3,263 24,853,491 Fox Searchlight
9 Captain Phillips 4,385,218 5,712,028 -23.2 2,626 6 1,670 97,502,676 Sony
10 About Time 3,340,625 4,758,070 -29.8 1,280 3 2,610 11,446,273 Universal
11 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 1,975,559 2,776,914 -28.9 1,645 8 1,201 113,042,057 Sony
12 Dallas Buyers Club 1,751,359 638,704 174.2 184 3 9,518 3,012,295 Focus
13 Ram Leela 1,449,174 204 1 7,104 1,449,174 Eros
14 All is Lost 916,145 1,130,287 -18.9 483 5 1,897 4,218,749 Roadside Attr.
15 Carrie 560,206 1,285,158 -56.4 933 5 600 35,031,117 Sony
16 Escape Plan 549,752 845,029 -34.9 687 5 800 24,123,305 Lionsgate
17 Enough Said 502,536 633,686 -20.7 393 9 1,279 16,585,250 Fox Searchlight
18 The Book Thief 420,532 105,005 300.5 29 2 14,501 564,050 Fox
19 Despicable Me 2 417,850 474,315 -11.9 305 20 1,370 365,943,520 Universal
20 The Counselor 352,433 815,757 -56.8 481 4 733 16,584,684 Fox
Top 5 $ 90,660,802 $ 129,472,339 -30.0
Top 10 115,112,784 157,930,421 -27.1
Top 20 124,008,330 164,802,539 -24.8
Top 20 vs. 2012 124,008,330 246,536,218 -49.7

Last Updated: November 19, 2013 at 12:30PM ET

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