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Weekend Estimates: Contagion Has a Healthy Start

September 11th, 2011

Having four wide releases on what is traditionally the slowest weekend of the year never seemed like a good idea. And so it proved for three of the films. The fourth, however, can lay claim to decent numbers this weekend. Contagion posted a very respectable estimated opening of $23.1 million, according to Warner Bros.' on Sunday, with a per theater average of over $7,000. That put it well ahead of The Help, which scored $8.7 million in second place. Warrior will be third with $5.6 million from 1,869 theaters -- not a bad opening, but a $3,000 per theater average won't encourage significant expansion, no matter how good word of mouth is for the film. The other two wide openers would have loved to come even close to that number though.

In fact, a movie playing in less than 100 theaters was the next best debutant this weekend. Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain earned an estimated $2 million from just 98 venues for an average over $20,000. That's a fantastic result for a stand-up comedy show.

Meanwhile, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star could manage only $1.45 million from 1,507 theaters and will finish around 15th for the weekend. Indie creature feature, Creature could manage only $331,000 from its 1,500 theaters, highlighting once more how hard it is for an independent distributor to reach wide audiences.

Overall business for the week is looking soft, with most films down 50% or more from last weekend and the new releases not doing much to fill in the gap. We will almost certainly end up with the worst weekend of 2011.

Bruce Nash

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Contagion, The Help, Creature, Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain