Weekend Report: 'Gravity' Holds, 'Captain' Floats, 'Machete' Bombs
by Ray Subers
October 13, 2013
Captain Phillips did strong business in its maiden voyage this weekend, though it didn't come anywhere close to topping Gravity.
After setting an October opening weekend record, Gravity eased just 23 percent to $43.2 million. That's the best non-holiday hold ever for a movie that opened over $50 million. Also of note: Gravity added $9.05 million in IMAX, which is the highest second weekend ever for the format ahead of The Dark Knight Rises ($8.99 million). Through 10 days, Gravity has earned a fantastic $122.3 million.
Gravity's unprecedented hold can be attributed to strong word-of-mouth that's focused on the experience of seeing the movie on the big screen in 3D. This is a very powerful sentiment that's getting people out to the theater who may otherwise have waited to watch at home. Additionally, it's ensuring that people are buying the premium-priced tickets—Gravity's 3D share was 82 percent this weekend, which is up from 80 percent in its opening.
This is only the beginning for Gravity. The movie is likely to maintain its momentum at least through early November, when it begins to lose IMAX and 3D screens to Ender's Game and Thor: The Dark World. A total north of $250 million is a guarantee at this point, and $300 million could be within reach.
Playing at 3,020 theaters, Captain Phillips opened to a very good $25.7 million. Among recent comparable titles, it's a bit better than Zero Dark Thirty ($24.4 million) and way up on Argo ($19.5 million), which opened on the same weekend last year. It's also one of the better starts for star Tom Hanks, who is coming off disappointing box office performers Cloud Atlas, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Larry Crowne.
The Captain Phillips opening is a great success for Sony Pictures, which just had a very rough Summer at the box office. Sony's marketing team ran a strong campaign that clearly outlined the movie's high stakes true story while also promising plenty of thrills. It helped, of course, that the movie they were selling was of a high quality, and the fantastic reviews (95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) surely helped push Captain Phillips a bit higher.
The audience for Captain Phillips was 52 percent male and 62 percent over the age of 35, which is nearly identical to Gravity's demographics from last weekend. There was some fear that, because of the similar audience breakdown, the two movies would cannibalize each other this weekend. Considering both movies over-performed against historical comparisons, it's unlikely that this turned out to be the case. Instead, it's likely that both movies played so well because there wasn't really anything else of interest in the marketplace; the Top 12 earned $106.6 million this weekend, which is off 12 percent from the same frame last year.
Audiences awarded Captain Phillips a strong "A" CinemaScore. Combined with the excellent reviews, this movie is going to play for a long time; it probably won't hold up as well as Argo, but it still ought to eventually cruise past $100 million.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 fell 34 percent to $13.8 million. To date, the animated sequel has earned $77.6 million, which is a bit below the original Cloudy through the same point.
In fourth place, Machete Kills bombed with just $3.84 million. That's one of the worst openings ever for a movie in over 2,500 locations, and it's also one of the worst openings of 2013 along with August's Paranoia. Despite adding Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga and "Carlos Estevez," Machete Kills still only opened to one-third of the first Machete's $11.4 million, which is an incredibly steep decline for a sequel.
Machete Kills tanked because, quite simply, the joke is played out. Audiences got their fill of tongue-in-cheek grindhouse thrills with Grindhouse and the first Machete, neither of which did particularly good business anyway. It didn't help that Machete Kills didn't look ironically cheap—it just looked cheap. As a result, even the most die-hard fans likely decided to wait for home video (where this movie will do disproportionately well).
Machete Kills received a poor "B-" CinemaScore, which suggests it won't hold up well—ultimately, it would be surprising if the movie closed above $10 million.
Coming off a terrible opening last weekend, Runner Runner plummeted 51 percent to $3.77 million. The Justin Timberlake/Ben Affleck gambling thriller has now grossed a meager $14.2 million.
After a few weekends in moderate release, Enough Said crossed the nationwide threshold (600+ theaters) and added $1.9 million this weekend. To date, the indie hit has earned a solid $8.2 million.
Playing at 461 theaters, the umpteenth adaptation of Romeo and Juliet opened to a disastrous $520,116. Relativity Media distributed the movie, though it's reportedly part of a new "rent-a-system" program in which producers pay Relativity a fee to use their distribution network. Regardless of who put up the cash for what, though, the movie is a major flop.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete was also a big disappointment with just $254,279 from 147 theaters.
Finally, Escape from Tomorrow earned just $63,297 from 30 theaters. The movie received a lot of buzz out of Sundance because of the fact that it was shot on location in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland without Walt Disney's permission. Despite being notoriously litigious, Disney didn't bother suing; based on how little the movie made, this is looking like a good call on Disney's part.
In its second weekend overseas, Gravity added $28 million from 38 territories. Its holdover markets dropped an average of 27 percent, which suggests it's also going to have a leggy run across the international marketplace.
Its top market was Russia, where it fell 42 percent to $4.3 million. It also played well in Germany ($3.1 million, down 15 percent), Australia ($3 million, down 11 percent), Spain ($2 million, down 10 percent) and Italy ($2 million, down 30 percent). Its only major new territory was Brazil, where it opened to a decent $1.5 million.
To date, Gravity has earned $68 million overseas. It's set to expand in to South Korea and Mexico next weekend, and it also has France, the U.K., Japan and China on the way.
World War II drama Stalingrad opened to $14.4 million in native Russia, which is one of the biggest debut ever for a local production there. According to IMAX, it tallied $2.3 million on 39 screens for an excellent per-screen average of $60,000.
Despicable Me 2 expanded in to its final markets this weekend and added $10.1 million to bring its total to $522.1 million. The movie got off to a fantastic $6.8 million start in Italy, and also did well in Greece ($535,000). Including its domestic gross, the movie has now earned $885.2 million worldwide. That ranks sixth all-time for an animated movie ahead of last Summer's Ice Age: Continental Drift.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 earned $9.1 million this weekend, which included a strong $3.3 million second weekend haul in Brazil. To date, the animated sequel has grossed $21.4 million.
Now You See Me opened to $8 million in China this weekend. The surprise hit has banked $215.3 million overseas so far, and it still has an opening in Japan to look forward to at the end of the month.
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• 'Captain' Sets Sail, Will Trail 'Gravity' This Weekend
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2012 - 'Taken' Repeats, 'Argo,' 'Sinister' Tops Among Newcomers
• 2011 - Remakes Can't Retire 'Real Steel'
• 2010 - 'Social Network' Saves Face in Second Weekend
• 2009 - 'Couples Retreat' Advances, 'Paranormal Activity' Spikes
• 2007 - 'Why Did I Get Married' Brightens Drab Weekend
• 2006 - 'Grudge' Budges in Popularity
• 2005 - 'Fog' Tops Soggy Weekend
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic