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Weekend Estimates: Top Three Shuffle, Three Poor Openings and a Surprise

October 2nd, 2011

The industry's slow period in September and October is traditionally a dumping ground for films that the studios would rather forget, but it also presents an opportunity for movies that would otherwise be swamped by the competition at busier times of year. This weekend provides a perfect example of this phenomenon, with two pictures aimed at church-going families coming out the big winners. Dolphin Tale dropped just 25% in its second weekend to jump from third to first on the chart, overtaking Moneyball, which had a good second weekend (down 35% to $12.5 million) and The Lion King, which ran out of steam a bit, but still crossed $400 million at the box office. But the bigger surprise was the $8.8 million opening for Courageous from what must have been 1,161 carefully-chosen theaters. Its $7,580 per theater average comfortably tops the list among wide releases.

The other openers ranged in performance from OK to awful. 50/50 finished 4th with a fairly respectable $8.84 million from 2,458 theaters -- a shade ahead of Courageous, although playing in more than twice as many theaters. Dream House was a disappointing 6th with $8.2 million in 2,661 venues, undoubtedly hurt by very poor reviews. What's Your Number? was a flop at $5.6 million, in spite of some excellent work by Anna Faris, who deserves a hit.

In limited release, Munger Road will bring in a hefty $38,000 or so from a single theater and will add another six venues next weekend. Take Shelter was another success with $56,171 from three locations and is worth watching over the next few weeks as some excellent reviews suggest it could stick around for a while.

- Weekend Estimates

Bruce Nash

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Dolphin Tale, Dream House, What's Your Number?, Moneyball, Courageous, 50/50, Take Shelter, Munger Road