It finally happened: Gravity has been dethroned. The reigning victor, Bad Grandpa, debuted to a successful $32 million this past weekend. While the film’s opening haul is a good $20 million less than 2010’s Jackass:3D, the last movie released by the popular Jackass franchise, it’s still more than double Grandpa’s $15 million production budget. In other words, the old man’s antics didn’t disappoint. Certainly, fans of the series, its spate of films and Johnny Knoxville himself have remained loyal: 63% of viewers were over the age of 25, meaning they were most likely those same teenagers, now all grown up, who first watched the "Jackass" TV show in their parents’ basement when it aired in the early 2000s. Never underestimate the pull of nostalgia. Pundits believe Grandpa’s older crowd and relatively even gender breakdown (56% male) bodes well for its continued box-office success.
Though Gravity has finally slipped from the top slot, its fall hasn’t been from grace. These past three days have seen the thriller rake in another $20 million, experiencing a dip of 32%. The weekend’s sales have helped the film inch ever closer to the $200 million domestic mark. Unfortunately, Gravity’s earning power will likely wane come Friday, when Ender’s Game opens and overtakes the country’s IMAX theatres. By the time Gravity does fade, many speculate the film will have earned $250 million overall.
Chugging along at No. 3 is the ever-solid Captain Phillips. Tom Hanks’ pirate drama and something of a career comeback vehicle dropped just 28% to earn a little under $12 million. Its respectable total domestic earnings have been tallied at $70 million.
And then there’s The Counselor. With everything going for it – acclaimed director, acclaimed writer, acclaimed x 5 cast of actors – how could it have gone so wrong? The much-maligned chatty drama earned a disappointing $8 million, although, to be fair, its earnings are on par with Fox’s predictions. Critics didn’t like it, and either audiences listened, or determined for themselves from viewing the film’s trailer there just wasn’t enough there there to be of interest. Another week or two and The Counselor will most likely pack up and bow out.
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 completes this weekend’s top 5. The kid favorite has tenaciously and consistently ranked among the box office’s top performers, even if it is tracking a little behind the first Cloudy. This weekend may have seen the last of its glory days, however – Free Birds is looking to take a sizable peck out of the family market when it opens this Friday.
Wrapping up with two films heavily weighted beneath their considerable buzz – and efficiently moving tickets for all that – 12 Years a Slave and Blue Is the Warmest Color made the specialty box office a great success over the weekend. After expanding to 123 theaters, Steve McQueen’s Slave earned a little over $2 million, bumping its total to $3.4 million. The film’s wide release is slated for this coming weekend, when audiences across the country will have their pick of 400 theatres from which to view the harrowing artistic achievement.
Despite (because of?) the public controversy surrounding French flick Blue Is the Warmest Color, the Cannes Palme d’Or winner did very fine business. Its weekend earnings amount to $101,000, with, hopefully, more $$ on the way.