Monday, October 14, 2013

'Gravity' proves its staying power, plucky 'Phillips' is No. 2

Continuing to monopolize film industry headlines and ticket receipts, Gravity soared through a banner sophomore weekend. The film experienced only a minor drop-off in sales these last several days, slipping just 21% to gross $44.3 million. That’s the strongest box-office hold any non-holiday movie that debuted over $50 million has ever experienced.  To further contextualize: Gravity had the second best weekend ever in IMAX sales, grossing $9 million – ahead of previous IMAX juggernaut The Dark Knight Rises.

All in all, Alfonso Cuaron’s trendy thriller – and we’d imagine one of this year’s most popular Halloween costumes – has managed the difficult task of impressing both critics and audiences alike,  earning itself the title of bona fide success story. The early Oscar favorite currently boasts a $123 million haul – and counting.

Itself no financial slouch, Captain Phillips grossed a respectable $26 million its opening weekend. While this stable debut may not elicit the awe of, say, a $50 million premiere weekend, it’s a much-needed hit for Tom Hanks: His last few movies, including Cloud Atlas, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Larry Crowne, were financial disappointments.

As many pundits speculated last weekend, Phillips drew an older crowd. The film’s demographic breakdown is unequivocal: 62% of audience members were over the age of 35. Fifty-two percent were also male, so we think Sandra Bullock’s Oscar campaign should begin in full force… yesterday.

If the adults were all out gripping their armrests in a wonderfully fun state of suspense at Captain Phillips and Gravity, where had the kids got to this weekend? The littlest ones were watching, and perhaps re-watching, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, which took a bit of a tumble, down 32% with a $14.2 million draw. The movie has earned $78 million so far, which is just a little less than what the first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs had taken in at the same point in its theatrical run.

Older kids/teens were most certainly not out mooning over Romeo & Juliet. The poorly received reimagining of the Bard’s story of doomed love and overactive hormones earned a meager $509,000 at the box office. While R&J’s decided flop may come as no surprise to those who read our David Noh's review of the adaptation, more disappointing is the poor showing of the generally well-received The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, which grossed just $260,000 after playing in 147 theatres.

The box-office doom and gloom for those films that are not either Gravity or Captain Phillips continues with the intake (or lack thereof) reaped by Machete Kills. The sequel to the more successful Machete can now claim one of the poorest openings of the year. It did just a third of the business its predecessor managed, bombing with $3.8 million. Not even a wacked turn by Charlie Sheen/Carlos Estevez as the leader of the free world could drum up much interest in the lackluster effort.

Escape From Tomorrow amounts to another debut unable to spin novelty into profits. Though the film had generated early buzz for its unique/stunt shooting – all on location at Disney World, without the consent or approval of Walt’s camp – the end product doesn’t appear to be nearly as interesting as the story of its creation. It earned just $66,100.

Ending this Monday’s weekend wrapup on a lighter, promising note, the little rom-com that could, Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, earned another $1+ million this weekend after expanding to 606 theatres. That boost has brought the film’s total up to over $8 million, and, with strong word-of-mouth continuing its laudatory chatter, it’s looking as if next weekend will only see more gains.

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