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'Brave One' Leads Slow Weekend

by Brandon Gray
Jodie Foster in The Brave One
September 17, 2007

It was a subdued weekend at the box office by mid-September standards as new releases generated little excitement. Topping the chart, The Brave One mustered $13.5 million on approximately 3,300 screens at 2,755 theaters, while Mr. Woodcock and Dragon Wars landed with $8.8 million at 2,231 locations and $5 million at 2,275 sites, respectively.

The Brave One's start was below par for a Jodie Foster thriller. Her last star vehicle, Flightplan, debuted to $24.6 million in September 2005, while Panic Room began with $30.1 million in 2002. Unlike those pictures, though, The Brave One focused on a descent into darkness rather than thrills or mystery, making it more akin to past pictures like 187 and Falling Down and a more challenging sell.

Mr. Woodcock fared about as tepidly as School for Scoundrels, another bully-themed comedy featuring Billy Bob Thornton that opened last September. Monster movie Dragon Wars, which has grossed over $52 million in its native South Korea, sold fewer tickets out of the gate than Godzilla 2000.

Last weekend's top gun, 3:10 to Yuma, retreated 36 percent to $8.9 million for $28.3 million in ten days. The Western remake's drop was steeper than Open Range at the same point but displayed more gumption than fellow second-weekend holdover, Shoot 'Em Up, which tumbled 54 percent to a paltry $2.6 million.

Summer holdovers generally had modest declines, including Superbad, The Bourne Ultimatum and Rush Hour 3, benefiting from the paucity of compelling new releases.

The weekend also saw a spate of relatively high profile pictures open in limited release, two of which showed promise. Musical Across the Universe garnered $667,784 at 23 venues, while crime thriller Eastern Promises racked up $547,092 at 15 locations. Following A History of Violence's pattern from September 2005, Eastern Promises expands nationwide next weekend, to around 1,325 theaters, while Across the Universe rolls out to around 400. Meanwhile, war drama In the Valley of Elah waged a mediocre $133,557 at nine sites, and Silk, King of California and December Boys made nary a peep.

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RELATED CHART
Weekend Box Office Results

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Sept. 16 and was revised on Monday, Sept. 17 with actual grosses.



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