Chernobyl Diaries debuted in sixth place with $9.4 million four-day haul. As expected, that's a fraction of producer Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity sequels, but the $7.96 million three-day opening is also off from mediocre Summer horror offerings like Orphan ($12.9 million), 28 Weeks Later ($9.8 million) and Apollo 18 ($8.7 million). At least it opened a bit higher than Splice ($7.4 million), though that's really not saying much.
Chernobyl Diaries never really clicked from a marketing perspective. Commercials made clear that a group of (not altogether intelligent) young adults were going to be terrorized at Chernobyl, but it was never clear who's doing the terrorizing. Are they mutants? Some kind of supernatural beings? Or maybe just angry Ukranians? It didn't help that the scares presented weren't particularly scary, and it also didn't help that the movie's low-budget look wasn't covered up with the found footage concept the way it has been in other recent horror movies.
What to Expect When You're Expecting eased a light 17 percent for a four-day haul of $8.8 million. Unfortunately, it's only made $23.8 million so far.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel expanded in to 1,233 locations this weekend and earned $8.36 million. The Fox Searchlight comedy has now grossed $18.56 million, and shouldn't have any trouble making its way past $30 million.
In limited release, Richard Linklater's Bernie cracked the Top 12 with $1.13 million this weekend. The dark comedy, which stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey has so far earned $2.48 million.
For the three-day weekend, Moonrise Kingdom opened to an estimated $522,996 from just four theaters for an incredible per-theater average of $130,749 (for the four-day weekend, it earned $686,179). That's a new opening weekend per-theater record for a live-action movie ahead of Dreamgirls ($126,316). It's also writer-director Wes Anderson's best opening ever ahead of The Royal Tenenbaums ($276,981 at five venues). With outstanding reviews and strong word-of-mouth, Focus Features should have an easy time working this one up to nationwide release over the next month.
International sensation The Intouchables also opened in four theaters this weekend, though it only earned $137,004 for the four-day period. That's probably the strongest foreign-language opening since Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In scored $223,119 at six locations in October. Still, at $343.7 million and counting the movie is the highest-grossing foreign language title ever overseas (with the exception of The Passion of the Christ), so it probably could have done better. Considering it's a crowd-pleaser ("A" CinemaScore) that's been holding very well in nearly all of its territories, The Weinstein Company should be able to successfully roll it out in to other theaters, though it's unclear at this point if it can become a hit in the U.S. as well.
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• 'Battleship' Drowns Under Weight of 'Avengers'
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2011 - 'Hangover' Gets Higher with Sequel, 'Panda' Loses Weight• 2010 - 'Sex,' 'Prince' Deserted as 'Shrek' Leads Weak Memorial Weekend
• 2009 - 'Night at the Museum,' 'Terminator' Dominate
• 2008 - 'Indy' Whips Up Massive Start
• 2007 - Third 'Pirates' Sacks Memorial Record
• 2006 - 'X-Men' Marvels with Memorial Record
• 2005 - 'Star Wars' Edges Out Computerized Critters and Secondhand Convicts
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