The Coens’ Burn Perry, De Niro & Pacino


The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

After the worst weekend at the box office in years, five new movies opened in wide release, four of them taking the top four spots at the box office with three of them grossing more than $15 million over the weekend.

Joel and Ethan Coen had their biggest opening movie ever and their first weekend #1 with Burn After Reading (Focus Features), a dark ensemble comedy featuring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, which grossed an estimated $19.4 million in 2,641 theatres, averaging over $7 thousand per site. Opening wider than any previous Focus Features release, the duo’s comedy follow-up to the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men was helped by solid reviews giving the studio its biggest opening, its highest grossing weekend for a movie, as well as their first #1 movie for a weekend. The Coens’ latest shouldn’t have a problem making back its production budget of $37 million in its theatrical release.

Coming in second place, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys (Lionsgate), the latest drama from the Atlanta media mogul, had the best per-site average of the weekend, grossing $18 million in 2,070 theaters, an average of $8700 per venue. It opened lower than Perry’s last two movies, Meet the Browns and Why Did I Get Married?, but higher than Daddy’s Little Girls, Perry’s previous movie not based on one of his hit stageplays.

Screen legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino teamed for the crime thriller Righteous Kill (Overture) which took third place with an estimated $16.5 million in 3,152 theaters, the weekend’s widest release. It grossed almost as much its first weekend as 88 Minutes, Pacino’s last teaming with director Jon Avnet, grossed in total, as Pacino’s fifth-biggest opening movie and De Niro’s sixth-biggest live action opening. It’s also Overture Films’ biggest opening film to date, having paid $10 million to distribute it in the United States, but it still has a long way to go if it wants to make back its reported $60 million budget.

Diane English’s modern update of George Cuckor’s The Women (Picturehouse), starring Meg Ryan, Annete Bening and an all-female all-star cast, opened with just over $10 million in nearly 3,000 theaters, continuing the weekend trend by being the biggest opening movie for Picturehouse as well. (It’s also the final official release from the distributor created three years ago in a union between New Line and HBO.)

The Anna Faris comedy vehicle The House Bunny (Sony) held up well despite the release of four new movies, dropping just 22% in its third weekend to take fifth place with $4.3 million with a total gross of $42.1 million.

It surpassed Ben Stiller’s war comedy Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks) and the record-setting Warner Bros. superhero flick The Dark Knight, which took sixth and seventh place with just over $4 million each. Tropic Thunder becomes the 17th movie to cross the $100 million mark this year, while The Dark Knight is sitting pretty with an astounding $518 million after 9 weekends in the Top 10.

The Nicolas Cage action-thriller Bangkok Dangerous (Lionsgate) experienced one of the biggest position drops in some time, dropping from its #1 spot last weekend to #8 this weekend with a weekend gross of $2.4 million and a total of $12.5 million

The top 10 was rounded out by the political thriller Traitor (Overture) starring Don Cheadle, and Universal’s remake of Death Race both with just over $2 million. The Top 10 grossed $83 million up nearly 39% from the same weekend last year.

The last wide release, the documentary Proud American (Slowhand Releasing), grossed $135 thousand in 750 theaters, setting a new record for the worst per-theater average for a wide release ever by averaging just $180 per site.

In limited release, Alan Ball’s coming of age film Towelhead (Warner Bros.) grossed $53 thousand in just four theaters in New York and L.A.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.