When Princeton grad student Richie Furst believes he’s been swindled by an online poker site, he heads to Costa Rica to confront gambling tycoon Ivan Block, the man he thinks is responsible. But Richie will soon face the ultimate power play as he finds himself caught between Block’s promises of unlimited wealth and the zealous FBI agent trying to bring him down.
||October 4th, 2013 (Wide) by 20th Century Fox|
||January 7th, 2014 by Fox Home Entertainment|
||R for language and some sexual content.|
(Rating bulletin 2276, 6/12/2013)
||Internet, Gambling, Revenge, FBI, Blackmail|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Contemporary Fiction|
||Regency Entertainment, New Regency, Appian Way, Double Feature Films|
It is a relatively slow week this week. That's not to say there are no releases worth picking up, in fact, there's a close race for Pick of the Week. It's just none of the releases were monster hits at the theaters. This includes a couple of documentaries, The Act of Killing and Inequality for All, as well as a couple of TV on DVD releases, Archer: Season Four and Being Human: Complete Third Season. However, in the end, I went with We Are What We Are on DVD or Blu-ray for Pick of the Week. Meanwhile, Being Human: Complete Third Season on DVD or Blu-ray earns Puck of the Week, for the best Canadian release.
Both Gravity and Captain Phillips topped expectations, which is a reason to celebrate. However, it's practically the only reason to celebrate. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 did well, but from that point on, the box office was a disaster. Overall, the total box office was $116 million, which was down 8% from last week. Compared to last year, the box office was down by 10%. How can this year's top film earn more than twice as much as last year's number one film, but still lose out overall? Last year, the fourth place film was Hotel Transylvania, which earned $17.24 million. This year the fourth place film was Machete Kills, which earned just $3.84 million. The depth this year is simply terrible. Year-to-date, 2013 is still ahead of 2012, but by less than 1% at $8.21 billion to $8.15 billion.
Gravity opened in first place on the international chart with $28.4 million on 4,830 screens in 27 markets. This includes a number of first place openings, led by Russia, where it made $7.57 million on 1,219 screens. It also earned first place in Germany with $3.65 million on 569 screens over the weekend for a total opening of $3.87 million. Australia was right behind with $3.35 million on 469. Italy contributed $2.75 million on 399, while in Spain it earned $2.26 million on 325.
There are two wide releases this week: Captain Phillips and Machete Kills. The former is a potential Awards Season player, while the latter is definitely not. Unfortunately, neither seems likely to challenge Gravity for top spot at the box office this weekend. Captain Phillips should come in a solid second place, while Machete Kills will try not to under-perform when compared to Runner Runner's opening from last weekend. Gravity could help 2013 top last year's box office, which was led by Taken 2 in its second weekend of release. The best new release was Argo, but it opened with less than $20 million and Captain Phillips should top that. However, last year had much better depth and might prove to be too much for 2013 to overcome.
Gravity crushed expectations, and records, over the weekend with more than $55 million. This topped the previous biggest October weekend by more than $3 million. On the other hand, Runner Runner went nowhere opening well below the lower end of predictions. Overall, the box office rose 16% from last year reaching $127 million. Unfortunately, last year had much better depth and 2013 was 11% lower in the year-over-year comparison. 2013 is still ahead of 2012, but the lead has been cut to just 0.9% at $8.05 billion to $7.98 billion.
Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon opened in China with $17.0 million earning first place in that market and on the overall international chart. The original earned a limited release here and was a great movie, so I'm hoping this film will also get a release here. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing it.
There are two films opening wide this week: Gravity and Runner Runner. However, while the two films share a release date, they are at the opposite ends when it comes to box office potential and critical acclaim. Gravity should have an easy time winning the race for the top of the box office chart, and if its reviews can translate into Awards Season buzz, then it should have very strong legs. On the other hand, many analysts expect Runner Runner to stumble out of the gate and disappear before the end of the month. This weekend last year, Taken 2 opened with just under $50 million, which is too much for Gravity to match. Frankenweenie earned $11 million during its opening weekend, which is a figure Runner Runner should match, but might not. Overall, 2013 looks a lot weaker than 2012 was.
October is an awkward month. It sits between the dumping ground that is September and November, the unofficial start of Awards Season / holiday blockbuster season. For the most part, September was stronger than average for the month and there's reason to be optimistic going forward. After all, box office success tends to feed on itself, as does box office struggles. That said, there are not a lot of sure hits over the coming four weeks. Of the nine or ten films opening wide this month, only Gravity has a better than 50/50 chance at $100 million. Captain Phillips could have a shot at the century mark, but only if it becomes a serious Awards Season player. Its early reviews suggest that could be a possibility. Last October, there were two films to reach the $100 million mark, Taken 2 and Argo. On the other hand, pretty much everything else that opened that month crashed and burned. While this October doesn't have as strong a top end, it will hopefully have much better depth.
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