Weekend Report: 'Gravity' Wins Again, 'Carrie' Leads Weak Newcomers
by Ray Subers
October 20, 2013
Facing three unimpressive newcomers, Gravity easily hung on to the top spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row. With Carrie and Escape Plan underperforming and The Fifth Estate bombing, the Top 12 earned a weak $93.2 million (off a whopping 23 percent from the same weekend last year).
In its third outing, Gravity eased 31 percent to $30.03 million. While that isn't quite as good as last weekend's 23 percent drop, it's still a phenomenal hold for a movie that's receiving some of the strongest word-of-mouth in years. Through 17 days in theaters, Gravity has earned $169.6 million, which ranks tenth in 2013. It's now on pace for at least $270 million by the end of its run.
Captain Phillips repeated in second place with $16.4 million, which is off 36 percent from last weekend. That drop is much steeper than Argo's 16 percent and also a bit worse than The Social Network's 31 percent, though it is better than many other comparable titles. Through 10 days, the acclaimed thriller has grossed $52.4 million, and it remains on target to close north of $100 million.
Horror remake Carrie opened in third place with $16.1 million. That's on the low end for horror movies this year, and is noticeably below the $25.8 million that Sony's Evil Dead remake debuted to earlier this year. This is particularly surprising considering it's the only horror movie opening during October, which is traditionally a fertile ground for spooky fare.
When it comes to the relationship between scheduling and box office openings, the month of October has consistently defied expectations. First, Gravity obliterated what was thought of as the ceiling for live-action non-sequels in October. The following weekend, Captain Phillips managed to open strong even though it was targeting the same older audience that was turning out to Gravity in droves. Finally, Carrie only reached $16 million this weekend despite its pre-Halloween release date and complete lack of horror competition. These three occurrences suggest that scheduling is an overrated factor when it comes to forecasting a movie's box office.
Carrie's audience was 54 percent female and 56 percent under the age of 25. They awarded the movie a "B-" CinemaScore, which is a fine grade for this genre. The movie should play fine through Halloween, though it's still unlikely to wind up with much more than $40 million or so.
Escape Plan opened to $9.9 million this weekend. That's more than this year's solo outings for Sylvester Stallone (Bullet to the Head) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Last Stand), though that's not saying much. Escape Plan would have been one of the biggest movies of the year if it had been released in the 1980s, but unfortunately it's 2013. The 80s nostalgia card has already been played in the two Expendables movies, as has the Stallone/Schwarzenegger pairing.
Escape Plan's audience was 55 percent male and 61 percent over the age of 30. It received a decent "B+" CinemaScore, and may hold well over the next few weeks. Still, it's unlikely it makes it past $30 million, which will make this the latest disappointment for the former action movie icons.
In fifth place, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 eased 30 percent to $9.7 million. To date, the animated sequel has earned a solid $92.7 million.
While Escape Plan was a disappointment, the weekend's real loser was The Fifth Estate. Playing at 1,769 locations, the WikiLeaks drama opened to a pathetic $1.67 million. That's the worst start for a movie opening at over 1,500 theaters this year (in comparison, now-legendary bomb Paranoia took in $3.5 million in its first frame).
While this movie is fashioned as a more political version of The Social Network, it goes without saying that WikiLeaks doesn't hold a candle to Facebook. Those who do know of WikiLeaks are generally skeptical of founder Julian Assange, which runs contradictory to the movie's more heroic marketing. Still, both of these issues would be surmountable if the movie was actually any good; unfortunately, it's received poor reviews (39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), which kept away the discerning adults that it needed to succeed.
The Fifth Estate received a "B" CinemaScore, which suggests word-of-mouth won't really change this movie's fate. A total less than $10 million is a guarantee at this point.
At 457 locations, I'm In Love With a Church Girl opened to $971,826. That's a mediocre start for a movie targeting urban Christian audiences, though it's also not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Steve McQueen's critically-acclaimed drama 12 Years a Slave scored $923,715 at just 19 locations this weekend. That translates to a great $48,617 per-theater average. Before assuming that the movie is going to be a major hit, though, it's worth remembering that well-reviewed awards contenders are a slam-dunk in these premiere arthouse theaters, and it remains to be seen how 12 Years a Slave can play in wider release. Fox Searchlight is planning to expand the movie to over 100 theaters next weekend, before making a big push on Nov. 1.
At six locations, All Is Lost earned a disappointing $93,583. The acclaimed Robert Redford lost-at-sea drama is set to expand in to many more markets next weekend
Gravity once again took first place at the overseas box office with its best weekend so far. Playing in 51 markets, the 3D thriller took in $33.5 million for an early total of $114.2 million.
It opened in first place in South Korea ($7.1 million) and in director Alfonso Cuaron's native Mexico ($5.7 million). On average, the holdover markets dipped a light 36 percent.
Gravity expands in to France next weekend, and then reaches the U.K. and China in November and Japan in December.
Turbo reached a handful of major territories and added $16.1 million this weekend. The movie raced in to first place in the U.K. ($6.5 million including previews), France ($3.3 million) and Spain ($1.8 million). Turbo has now earned $142.1 million overseas, and still has a long way to go before it matches recent DreamWorks Animation disappointment Rise of the Guardians ($203.5 million).
The Wolverine finally opened in China, where it scratched up a solid $13.6 million. To date, the movie has earned over $257 million overseas, which makes it the biggest X-Men movie yet.
Coinciding with its domestic debut, Escape Plan expanded in to its first major overseas markets and earned $9.4 million. It had a solid $3 million start in Russia, but was less impressive in the U.K. ($1.5 million) and Italy ($600,000).
Captain Phillips set sail in 11 territories this weekend and grossed $9.1 million. Over half of that came in the U.K., where the movie took in $5.6 million including previews. According to Sony, it opened significantly higher than Argo across all of these markets.
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• 'Carrie' Unlikely to Scare Off 'Gravity'
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2012 - Disappointing Debuts for 'Paranormal 4,' 'Alex Cross'
• 2011 - 'Paranormal' Possesses Fall Record
• 2010 - 'Jackass' Crashes Into Fall Record
• 2009 - 'Wild Things' Roars, 'Citizen,' 'Activity' Thrill
• 2007 - '30 Days of Night' Leads Lifeless Crowd
• 2006 - 'Prestige' Rises to the Top,' 'Flags' Lags
• 2005 - 'Doom' and Gloom
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic