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Weekend Report (cont.): 'Silent House,' 'A Thousand Words' Open Poorly

by Ray Subers
Silent House

March 11, 2012

<< continued from "Weekend Report: 'Lorax' Defeats Disappointing 'John Carter'"

Project X
added $11.1 million for a 10-day total of $39.7 million. Its 47 percent decline is actually decent considering it was billed as an "event" movie on its opening weekend, and the found footage comedy could wind up as high as $60 million before the end of its run.

With actuals reporting, Act of Valor moved up to fourth place with just shy of $7 million (a 48.5 percent decline). The movie has so far earned a very respectable $56.1 million.

Silent House opened in fifth place with $6.7 million from 2,124 theaters. That's less than half the opening of The Last House on the Left ($14.1 million), and also notably off from the co-director's Open Water ($11.4 million). Exit polls indicated that 80 percent of the audience was under 35, and there is not currently a CinemaScore available from Open Road (though it's been widely reported that it received the dreaded "F" score).

Sometimes it seems like all horror movies are instant hits, but a disappointment like Silent House reinforces the fact that the genre isn't an automatic slam dunk. Supernatural thrillers have a clear antagonist, and it's tough to come up with a more menacing baddie than the devil himself (which is the case in most possession movies, of course). Silent House, on the other hand, had a faceless, undefined threat, and the single-shot gimmick can only do so much to make up for that deficiency.

The long-delayed Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words finally landed in theaters this weekend. Unfortunately for Murphy, its $6.2 million debut puts it firmly in his growing flop category along with Meet Dave ($5.25 million) and Imagine That ($5.5 million). In all fairness, A Thousand Words did outperform those movies despite being in over 1,000 fewer locations, but it's still a terrible opening for a former comedy superstar (when is he going to realize people would like to occasionally get some Raw Eddie Murphy mixed in with their Doctor Dolittle Eddie Murphy?). The audience skewed older (61 percent were 25 years and up) and female (55 percent), and they awarded the movie a "B-" Cinemascore.

Safe House eased 35 percent to $4.8 million. The movie's total is $115.6 through Sunday, which puts it just a day away from passing Remember the Titans ($115.7 million) to become Denzel Washington's second highest-grossing movie behind American Gangster ($130.2 million).

In limited release, Friends with Kids opened in 13th place with $2.02 million from 369 locations. The Bridesmaids cast reunion (Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd all co-starred) delivered Roadside Attractions second-highest opening ever behind last year's The Conspirator, which earned $3.51 million from twice as many venues.

The weekend's other major limited release was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which netted a decent $225,894 from 18 locations for a per-theater average of $12,550. Obviously, CBS Films is planning to expand the Ewan McGregor-Emily Blunt romance over the next few weeks, though it's unclear right now if it will receive a nationwide release.

Last Weekend
Little 'Lorax' Is Box Office Giant

This Weekend in Past Years:
2011 - 'Battle' Erupts, 'Red,' 'Mars' Stumble
2010 - 'Alice' Stays Green, 'Green Zone' Opens in Red

2009 - 'Witch' Blasts Off, 'Watchmen' Burns Out
2008 - 'Horton' Hits It Big
2007 - Hordes Drive '300' to Record
2006 - 'Failure to Launch' Rockets Past Remakes
2005 - 'Robots' Rivets, 'Passion' Fails to Rise Again

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