Weekend Estimates: Riddick Tops Chart Packed with Indie Releases
The weekend after Labor Day is traditionally the slowest of the year in terms of ticket sales, but it is also potentially one of the more interesting in terms of movies because it can be the busiest weekend of the year for art house releases. This year, we have no less than 24 of them on our release schedule, and there's a good chance that we'll break the record for the most limited releases to report box office results (currently held by the weekend of September 10, 2010 with 16 -- there's an obscure movie stat for you). In fact, this weekend's chart looks very similar to that weekend three years ago.
For a start, the top movie is the continuation of a solidly-performing second-tier franchise: Resident Evil Afterlife was the movie in question in 2010, and Riddick is the film this time around. It will open with a decent $18.7 million, which is about in line with Universal's guidance ahead of the weekend, but doesn't bode well for a big run given its niche appeal.
Instructions Not Included is the other noteworthy film at the top of the chart. It will move up to 3rd place, thanks to gaining additional screens, and will average over $10,000 per theater with $8.1 million in 717 venues.
The rest of the upper echelons of the chart are filled with holdover films from the tail end of Summer, with 17 films set to top $1 million this time compared to 15 then. Even some of the films seem eerily familiar: Despicable Me grossed $1.67 million that weekend in 2010, and Despicable Me 2 will earn around $1.44 million this weekend.
Sadly, there's not much exciting to report about the many limited releases that have reported so far, with the exception of an impressive $91,000 debut for Salinger in 4 theaters. Given the buzz around the film, even that isn't as much as one might have expected, and its variable reviews suggest it won't have a top tier run. Even so, it's already one of the top 40 documentaries of the year -- a sign, as much as anything, that 2013 has been a soft year for the genre so far.
Bruce Nash firstname.lastname@example.org
Date posted: 2013-09-08