Box Office Results: Ender’s Game Tops Slow November Kick-Off


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.

The month of November and the start of the holiday movie season got off to a somewhat slow start with three new movies in wide release and the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (Summit), starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Sir Ben Kingsley and Oscar nominees Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld, taking the top spot with an estimated $28 million for the weekend. Directed by Oscar winner Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), Ender’s Game brought in $1.4 million in Thursday previews, helping to bring its Friday opening gross to just under $10 million. The movie then had a rare Saturday bump which helped keep it from the front loading we’ve seen throughout the year. Ender’s Game also opened on 326 North American IMAX screens, which accounted for $4.8 million of its opening weekend.

Internationally, the big news was the early release of Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World one week before its North American debut. Once again starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins et al, it brought in an astounding $109.4 million in 36 territories. It screened on 136 IMAX screens in 27 of those countries, which was responsible for $5.2 million of that amount, twice as much as the IMAX opening for the original Thor. The sequel’s international opening helped push Walt Disney Pictures’ overseas gross to over $2.3 billion, making it the fourth year where it’s passed the $2 billion mark internationally as well as setting a record for the company.

Back in the States (and Canada), Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount) held up better in its second weekend than most of the other “Jackass” movies, dropping to second place with $20.5 million, a drop of just 36%. Although the fourth theatrical release in the series opened softer than Jackass 3D, word-of-mouth seems to be strong enough that those who missed it opening weekend opted to check it out over some of the new movies. It has grossed $62 million so far, which puts it on track to surpass the grosses of the first two “Jackass” movies.

Opening in third place, CBS Films’ oldies comedy Last Vegas, starring Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Kevin Kline, brought in roughly $16.5 million in its opening weekend in 3,065 theaters or $5,400 per theater.

It came out just slightly ahead of the animated Free Birds (Relativity Media), which brought in $16.2 million in 3,736 theaters, the widest release by the fairly young distributor, to take fourth place.

The big star of the fall movie season, Alfonso Cuarón’s outer space thriller Gravity, having already crossed the $200 million mark, added another $13.3 million this weekend to take fifth place, its first drop from the Top 2 since opening. It has grossed $219.2 million in less than a month and is already among the Top 10 highest grossing movies of the year.

Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass’ more down-to-earth (or sea) thriller Captain Phillips (Sony), starring Tom Hanks, dropped to sixth place with $8.5 million, down a respectable 27% from last weekend as it brought its total gross to $82.5 million.

As it slowly opens across the country, Steve McQueen’s acclaimed drama 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight), starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt, expanded into 410 theaters on Friday, allowing it to more than double its last weekend gross with $4.6 million, roughly $11,000 per venue. The small drop in the per-theater average despite the expansion is a good sign that word of mouth is spreading about what many feel is currently a frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar.

Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 brought in another $4.2 million in its sixth weekend to take eighth place with $106.2 million grossed to date domestically.

The remake of Carrie (MGM/Screen Gems), starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, took ninth place with $3.4 million, down just 43% despite losing 900 theaters on Friday, as it reached a total gross of $32 million. With a production budget of $30 million, there’s a good chance that the horror remake will prove profitable with DVD, Blu-ray and international box office.

Ridley Scott’s star-studded crime-thriller The Counselor (20th Century Fox), starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz, had a huge 59% drop in its second weekend, grossing $3.2 million as it fell to tenth place with just $13.6 million total after ten days.

The Top 10 grossed an estimated $118 million which is right on track with last year’s November opening weekend when Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph led the box office with its $49 million opening while Denzel Washington’s Flight took second place with $25 million.

On Friday, Universal Pictures opened Richard (Love Actually) Curtis’ latest romantic drama About Time, starring Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy, in 175 theaters, in preparation for its nationwide release this coming Friday. It brought in just over a million dollars or about $6,300 per location but enough to get it into the Top 12.

Opening in nine locations in New York and Los Angeles, the real life story of Ron Woodroof, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features), starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner, earned $264 thousand over the weekend or $29 thousand per location. It’s a fairly modest start to a movie that’s going to expand over the next few weeks before inevitable awards nods for McConaughey and Leto.

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