Zombieland Overruns the Country!

The ComingSoon.net 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.

For a second year in a row, October kicked-off with a lot of new choices for moviegoers, but the clear winner for the weekend was Zombieland (Sony Pictures), a buddy comedy set in a world overrun by zombies starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. The R-rated debut feature from Ruben Fleischer was able to capture enough interest among younger audiences to debut at #1 with an estimated $25 million in over 3,000 theaters, which isn’t bad considering the movie cost roughly $24 million to produce. When Paramount a few months ago decided to move Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island to next year, the zombie comedy was the first to jump into the weekend to take advantage of buzz created from its presentation at Comic-Con, and it came into the weekend with overwhelmingly positive reviews. The strong CinemaScores (generally A or A-) proves it to be one of those all-too-rare cases where moviegoers agree with the critics, which should prove strong for the movie’s continued shelf-life against a number of comedies and horror movies opening over the rest of the month.

Sony’s other fall comedy hit, the animated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Sony), held up just as well in its third weekend despite losing many of its 3D theaters to Disney’s rerelease of Pixar’s venerable classics in the form of the Toy Story 3D Double Feature. It was off just 32% from last week, dropping to second place with $16.7 million and a three week total of $82.3 million. It’s clearly well on its way to joining the $100 million club later this month.

Meanwhile, the Disney/Pixar 3D double feature brought in approximately $12.5 million in its rerelease into 1,745 3D theaters, unhindered by the long running time or the fact that both movies had been available on DVD for years. Disney announced that this would be a limited two-week run, but we’ll have to see whether that’s extended or if “Cloudy” gets some of those 3D screens back.

Ricky Gervais’ new movie The Invention of Lying (Warner Bros.), his directorial debut with collaborator Matthew Robinson, teamed him with Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and others to the tune of $7.3 million in 1,707 theaters, opening in fourth place.

It narrowly defeated Bruce Willis’ action movie Surrogates (Disney/Touchstone), which dropped 51% to fifth place after a less than spectacular debut last week. It added $7.3 million to its current total of $26.4 million.

Continuing this week’s theme, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It, starring Juno‘s Ellen Page vied for sixth place against Michael Moore’s new doc Capitalism: A Love Story (Overture Films), which expanded nationwide this weekend, both bringing in an estimated $4.85 million over the weekend.

The Fame (MGM) remake also took a plunge in its second weekend, dropping to eighth place with $4.7 million, down 53% from its opening weekend with a ten-day total of $16.6 million.

Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (Warner Bros.) starring Matt Damon, and the Jennifer Aniston-Aaron Eckhart romantic drama Love Happens rounded out the Top 10 with $3.8 million and $2.8 million, respectively.

The Top 10 grossed roughly $90 million, down just slightly from last year where seven (!) new movies opened in wide release but Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua reigned supreme with $29 million.

In limited release, the new dark comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen A Serious Man (Focus Features) opened in 6 theaters in New York and L.A., bringing in roughly $252 thousand or $42 thousand per venue. The LeBron James doc More Than a Game (Lionsgate) opened in twice as many theaters but ended up with less than $200 thousand in its opening weekend.

Oren Peli’s low budget horror movie Paranormal Activity (Paramount), which expanded into 20 more theaters at midnights this weekend, grossing roughly $535 thousand over the weekend from sold out midnight shows, will be receiving a normal limited release starting on Friday, October 9.

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

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