New Movies Fail at the Box Office Again


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.

Who knows what is going on at the box office when only three movies over the past two months have opened at #1 with only one of them (Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion) being a brand-new property? Once again, four new movies opened in wide release and once again, moviegoers were having none of it as they all opened with less than $9 million and most of the business went to the same Top 3 movies from last weekend, only this time their order was reversed.

Last week’s #3 movie, the Warner Bros. family adventure Dolphin Tale took advantage of its A+ CinemaScores to jump to #1 with $14.2 million, down just 26% from its opening weekend. It has grossed $37.5 million in its first ten days

Brad Pitt’s baseball movie Moneyball (Sony) remained in second place with $12.5 million, down roughly 36% from its own opening weekend with $38.5 million

The two-week limited run party was over for The Lion King 3D (Disney), which dropped to third place with $11.1 million, down 50% despite keeping all of its 3D theaters. Considering that the rerelease has added nearly $80 million to Lion King‘s coffers before its release on Blu-ray next week, no one at Disney will be complaining about such a sharp third week drop-off.

As far as the new movies, they all were close and jockeying for position on Friday, but the dark comedy 50/50 (Summit Entertainment), starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick, came out on top with $8.9 million in 2,458 theaters to take fourth place.

The fourth movie from Sherwood Pictures and Alex Kendrick, the police drama Courageous (TriStar Pictures) opened in just 1,161 theaters but brought in $8.8 million its first weekend to take fifth place with an impressive per-theater average of $7.5k per venue, the best showing in the Top 10. It’s also the fourth movie of 2011 to score an A+ CinemaScore, which so far has signified strong word-of-mouth and legs.

The Jim Sheridan thriller Dream House (Universal), starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, opened in sixth place with $8.2 million in 2,660 theaters, a weak per-theater average of roughly $3k per site.

Taylor Lautner’s action-thriller Abduction (Lionsgate), dropped to seventh place with $5.6 million and $19.1 million total, just narrowly besting the new R-rated Anna Farris comedy What’s Your Number? (20th Century Fox), which failed to find its intended audience with a disappointing opening of $5.6 million in eighth place, despite being the widest release of the weekend in over 3,000 theaters.

It was followed in ninth place by Steven Soderbergh’s epidemic thriller Contagion (Warner Bros.), adding another $5 million to end up with $65 million total in its first month.

The Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro action-thriller Killer Elite dropped 48% to take tenth place with $4.9 million and $17.4 million total.

This week’s Top 10 grossed an estimated $84.8 million, which is right on the mark with the same weekend last year when David Fincher’s The Social Network (Sony) topped the box office with $22.5 million.

Opening in New York and L.A., Jeff Nichols’ festival favorite thriller Take Shelter (Sony Pictures Classics), starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, took in $56 thousand in its opening weekend from three theaters. By comparison, the long-delayed drama Margaret (Fox Searchlight), starring Anna Paquin and Matt Damon, brought in just $7.5 thousand in two theaters in New York and L.A.

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