The conversation for a lot of the summer has revolved around how bad so many of this year’s movies have been and yet, Exhibitor Relations reports it was a record summer at the domestic box office with this year’s crop of films estimated to have brought in $4.75 billion (10.5% over 2012) with 582 million tickets sold, the highest number of tickets since 2007.
Leading the charge on this final weekend was Morgan Spurlock‘s One Direction: This is Us concert documentary, which opened with an estimated $17 million and received an “A” CinemaScore from the groupies in attendance. Expectations are for the film to cross $20.5 million by the end of the four day weekend.
The biggest news of this weekend, however, is the staying power of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which only dropped 11% in its second weekend for $14.7 million, bringing its domestic cume to $74 million. Oscar talk may be ramping up with screenings out of Telluride and Venice, but The Butler is putting money where its mouth is and has assured us it will be part of the conversation over the coming award season.
Okay, maybe The Butler isn’t the biggest news… maybe the $7.5 million brought in by Lionsgate’s (released through Pantelion Films) Spanish language comedy Instructions Not Included is the biggest news. Directed by Eugenio Derbez, the film played in 347 theaters bringing in $21,614 per location. I’d never even heard of the movie until a few minutes ago, but it just goes to show there are undersevered audiences all over this country that will pay to see certain kinds of movies if studios put them in theaters. The film received an “A+” CinemaScore.
Moving on to the Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez thriller Getaway I have to wonder, what kept fans away? Was it the 2% RottenTomatoes rating or were the trailers enough? Maybe it was simply word of mouth as opening night audiences gave it a “C+” CinemaScore, which pretty much translates to an “F” and for good reason, the movie is terrible and it reflects in its $4.5 million opening.
Below that we have Focus’ new thriller Closed Circuit, which the studio opened on Wednesday and played in only 862 theaters this weekend and it wasn’t playing to full houses. The film brought in an estimated $2.5 million and it’s likely the last time we’ll even hear of it.
Just below Closed Circuit is Wong Kar Wai‘s Grandmaster, which expanded into 749 theaters this weekend and brought home $2.4 million.
Next weekend the Fall movie season gets underway and will kick off with Riddick featuring Vin Diesel and it’s the only new wide release of the weekend. Looking at the TV spots I’ve seen this is a movie I’m actually interested in seeing (even though I’m missing the screening) but the murky, feces-colored cinematography makes me wonder if it’s a movie that will attract a very wide audience. How many Pitch Black fans stuck around after Chronicles of Riddick to the point they’re excited to see the final leg in the trilogy?
I remember back in 2009 I asked readers “Would You Rather Universal Make a Third Riddick Film or ‘Serenity 2’?” and the result of the poll was 11,550 in favor of another Riddick, almost double the 6,064 that voted for Serenity 2. So, Universal can probably at least count on those 11,550 to buy a ticket, but how many more beyond that will be interesting as it has the weekend all to itself.
On one final note, I am very curious to see how the reader predictions turn out for this weekend. Just scroll down and look at how many of you were exactly right. Goes to show, this was a weekend to get your predictions in early. I’ll update the results with actuals on Monday afternoon and see how many remain exactly right.