Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Gravity" has record hold, "Captain Phillips" is extremely strong, "Machete Kills" flops at weekend box office

The Fall movie season is off to a heck of a start from a critic's perspective. We had Rush (a fantastic film and the most severely underrated of the year), Gravity, and now Captain Phillips, three weeks consecutively and that made me very happy. All three are great or very good and I certainly intend on catching Gravity again in theaters. While critic's have been awarded finally after sitting through some truly terrible movies earlier this year, general audiences are also being awarded. Besides Rush (which has flopped stateside), audiences have embraced the adult fare that is finally being released. Nothing displays that better than Gravity. The spectacular sci-fi thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney grossed $44.2 million this weekend. That's a 20.7% drop from last weekend, a record for a film that opened above $55 million. Audiences are clearly embracing the well-constructed, visually stunning thrills of Gravity and I'm very happy about it. I'm disappointed that I didn't get to see it again this weekend, but I'll be sure to see it again before the film ends its theatrical run. Gravity has grossed $123.4 million so far, and if it keeps holding this well, there's no reason that it can't go as high as $250 million.

However, despite the big story of the weekend being Gravity's hold, another film shined in its first weekend. That film was Captain Phillips. The true story of a 2009 Somali pirate hijacking, starring Tom Hanks, grossed $26 million in its debut frame, which is higher than the comparable Argo from last year, which opened at around $19 million. That's a strong debut for the $55 million Columbia Pictures drama. The film also received an "A" Cinemascore from audiences. That strong support from audiences, along with critical support and Oscar talk could certainly carry Captain Phillips to $100 million. Despite the sure to be strong word of mouth, don't expect a Gravity-like hold. This is a much tougher watch.

Third place this weekend belonged to Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, the animated comedy from Columbia Pictures. The film grossed a strong $14.2 million this weekend, which was enough to raise its total to $78 million. That's a good total for the film and with no animated competition for the next two weekends, Cloudy 2 should have no trouble crossing $100 million.

Besides those three films, there's a reason that the box office was down 10% from last year. Machete Kills, the other wide release this weekend, flopped with $3.797 million in fourth place. That's an absolutely terrible opening for the grindhouse picture. To show a comparison, the original Machete opened in 2010 to $11.4 million. The film also received a "B-" Cinemascore, which hints at audience rejection. Looks like we won't be seeing Machete Kills Again.....In Space anytime soon. In fifth place was Runner Runner, which did not see a second week improvement. The film grossed a lackluster $3.725 million, which raises its total to a pathetic $14.1 million.

Prisoners placed in sixth place this weekend with $3.6 million. While Prisoners had solid word of mouth and has grossed $53.6 million so far, it's clear that Gravity, Captain Phillips and dark subject matter kept this film from being the word of mouth machine that Warner Bros. thought it would be. Insidious Chapter 2 placed in seventh this weekend with $2.65 million, which was enough to raise its total to $78.4 million. Rush placed in eighth with $2.36 million, which was enough to raise its total to $22.2 million. Such a disappointment. This film deserves much better.

And rounding out the top ten was Don Jon with $2.34 million in ninth place, enough to raise its total to $20.1 million and Baggage Claim, which grossed $2 million in tenth to raise its total to $20.1 million.

Next week sees the limited release of All is Lost and 12 Years A Slave and the wide release of Carrie, Escape Plan, and The Fifth Estate. Here are my predictions:

1. Gravity- $35.1 million
2. Carrie- $21.3 million
3. Captain Phillips- $17.3 million
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2- $8.1 million
5. Escape Plan- $7 million
6. The Fifth Estate- $4.5 million
7. Runner Runner- $2.2 million
8. Prisoners- $2.1 million
9. Machete Kills- $1.7 million
10. Rush- $1.1 million

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