'Insidious' Sequel Leads Average September
by Ray Subers
October 2, 2013
September is almost always the slowest month of the year, and this year was no exception. Let by a handful of modest performers, the domestic box office haul came in at a decent $575 millionabout even with last year's $573 million. It is off around five percent from the all-time record (2011's $604 million), though in the grand scheme of things that's a fairly marginal difference.
Through the end of September, year-to-date domestic box office was at $8.17 billion. That's very slightly up on last year's record pace, and the prospects of setting a new high will come down entirely to the remaining three months of releases.
The biggest movie of the month was Insidious Chapter 2, which scored the second-best September opening weekend ever with $40.3 million. The front-loaded horror sequel fell off quickly from there, though, and ended the month with just $69.7 million. Still, it's the fifth horror movie this year to earn over $54 million, which is a remarkable improvement over a very slow 2012.
August holdover Lee Daniels' The Butler took second place with $42 million. With over $110 million in the bank, this is one of The Weinstein Company's highest-grossing movies ever, and reinforces the notion that adult-skewing dramas are in demand at the end of Summer.
Riddick opened on the first weekend of September and ended the month with a solid $40.2 million. That's between 2000 original Pitch Black ($39.2 million) and 2004 sequel The Chronicles of Riddick ($57.8 million). This isn't a bad haul, though with middling foreign grosses it's also hard to call this a win.
Kidnapping drama Prisoners tallied a solid $39.4 million through its first 11 days. It's not going to be on par with Warner Bros. past September hits The Town and Contagion, though considering its extremely dark subject matter this has to be considered a modest success.
August comedy hit We're the Millers continued to play well in September. The movie added $37.9 million to bring its total haul to an excellent $142.6 million.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opened to a solid $34 million on the final weekend of the month. That's a bit above its predecessor, but still off from last September's Hotel Transylvania; in the long run, it's likely that Cloudy 2 winds up about even with the first Cloudy's $124.9 million total.
Through the end of September, surprise hit Instructions Not Included had earned $38.9 million. That makes it the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie ever in the U.S., and one of the highest-grossing foreign language movies ever as well.
There were also a few notable misses in the month of September. After opening in late August, One Direction: This is Us tanked in September and is now on pace to close below $30 million. Late September openers Rush, Baggage Claim and Don Jon all got off to middling starts, though their fortunes could change if they hold well in October. Finally, 3D dance movie Battle of the Year was the biggest bomb of the month with just $7.6 million through its first 11 days.
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September Calendar Grosses
2013 Grosses (2013-only releases)