After a couple of strong weekends at the box office, September took somewhat of a downturn with a weekend when the Top 10 barely cracked $70 million, although there was still a strong breakout movie in the dark dramatic thriller Prisoners (Warner Bros.), starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo. Directed by Oscar-nominated French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, the well-reviewed film about the search for two kidnapped girls brought in an estimated $21.4 million its opening weekend to take first place.
After winning last weekend and becoming the second-biggest September opener, James Wan’s hit horror sequel Insidious Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) took a nasty 64% plunge in its second weekend, dropping to second place with $14.5 million, although its 10-day $60.9 million gross has already surpassed the gross of its predecessor.
Luc Besson’s crime-action flick The Family (Relativity), starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, took in $7 million this weekend to take third place–down roughly 50% from its opening–with a total gross of $25.6 million so far.
Based on Friday’s estimated returns, the next four places looked to be a fairly tight race between three strong returning movies and one new one, but the hit Mexican comedy Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate/Pantelion) pulled well ahead of the pack, adding another $5.7 million in just 978 theaters to bring its total domestic gross to $34.4 million. That weekend take is up 17% from last weekend, which is quite an anomaly, considering that it only added 45 extra theaters this weekend.
The dance movie craze is officially over and apparently, so is Chris Brown’s career, as Battle of the Year 3D (Screen Gems/Sony), the latest attempt to revive both, failed to find much of an audience, opening with just $5 million in 2,008 theaters, averaging less than $2,500 per venue.
The hit road comedy We’re the Millers (New Line/WB) dropped one place to sixth with $4.7 million, down just 14%, bringing its total to $138.2 million.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (The Weinstein Company) took a slightly bigger drop down to 7th place with $4.3 million with a total gross of $106.5 million so far.
Vin Diesel’s Riddick (Universal) dropped 46% in its third weekend to drop five notches to eighth place with $3.7 million and $37.2 million grossed domestically. The third installment of Riddick’s outer space adventures has brought in that same amount overseas to bring its global total to $73.8 million.
In advance of its 3D re-release on DVD and Blu-ray, The Wizard of Oz IMAX 3D opened exclusively in 318 IMAX 3D theaters where it brought in $3 million, enough for it to crack the Top 10 for ninth place. This is the first Top 10 showing for an IMAX-only release.
Tenth place went to Disney’s Planes with $2.8 million as it brought its domestic total to $86.5 million. When you add in the $69 million the movie has made overseas, that brings the animated family film, which already has a sequel scheduled for next summer, to over $155 million.
This week’s Top 10 grossed roughly $71 million, which was right on par with this weekend last year when four new movies opened in wide release with the police thriller End of Watch winning the weekend with just $13 million, ahead of Jennifer Lawrence’s House at the End of the Street and Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve. Lionsgate’s Dredd 3D bombed with just $6.3 million to take sixth place.
As far as limited releases, Stuart Blumberg’s sex addiction comedy Thanks for Sharing (Roadside Attractions), starring Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad and pop singer P!nk, grossed $600 thousand in its opening weekend in 269 theaters, an unimpressive average of $2,260 per site.
Opening in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles, Ron Howard’s Formula 1 racing movie Rush (Universal), starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde, brought in just under $200,000 or $40,000 per site in advance of its nationwide expansion on Friday, September 27.
Nicole Holofcener’s romantic comedy Enough Said (Fox Searchlight), starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, opened in just four theaters on Wednesday in the same cities but averaged $60,000 per site–the best per-theater average of the weekend–to score $293 thousand in its first five days. Searchlight will expand the movie into more theaters this coming Friday and likely will go wide sometime in October.
Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.