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Weekend Wrap-Up: Ender Has Game, but Box Office Sinks

November 6th, 2013

As anticipated, Ender's Game won the weekend race with ease and no individual film truly bombed. That said, the overall effort was still lacking. Compared to last weekend, the overall box office was up 23% to $127 million, which is nice to see. However, and more importantly, this was 8% lower than the same weekend last year, thus ending 2013's winning streak at one weekend. 2013 is still ahead of 2012's pace, but by a shrinking margin. Currently, this year is ahead of last year by less than 0.5% at $8.66 billion to $8.62 billion. It wouldn't take much to 2013 to lose the lead at this point, and this might happen sometime during this month. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire should end any losing streak when it is released, but perhaps not before 2013 falls behind 2012's pace.

We predicted Ender's Game would make $27 million and over the weekend it pulled in $27.02 million. This is great news for us, not so much for the studio. The film cost $110 million to make, so it will need strong legs after this start if it is to break even any time soon. Its reviews are a rounding error away from slipping below the overall positive level, which is not particularly helpful. Additionally, it will have to deal with Thor: The Dark World this Friday, so it could see its box office numbers decimated. It will need a strong run internationally and on the home market to justify a sequel.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa held on a lot better than expected dropping just 38% to $20.01 million over the weekend for a total of $61.57 million after two. This puts the film on pace to reach $100 million, which is a real shock given the short legs most of the rest of the franchise have had. The studio should be really happy with this result.

Last Vegas opened in third place with $16.33 million. This is on the high end of expectations and given its older target demographic, it should have better than average legs. On the other hand, its reviews won't help. That said, its production budget is under $30 million, so it won't need super long legs to break even. If it can get close to $50 million domestically and do relatively well internationally, it will break even early in its home market run.

Free Birds was the biggest disappointment of the weekend earning fourth place with $15.81 million. The film cost $55 million to make and only earned 20% positive reviews, so it is really hard to spin this opening in a positive way. It will need long legs to break even any time soon, and the word-of-mouth likely won't help it get there. On the other hand, it's a Thanksgiving movie and there are not many of them out there, so it could become a early tradition on TV, or sell a significant number of copies on DVD and Blu-ray every single Thanksgiving, like many Christmas releases do. However, this is searching for a silver lining on a rather cloudy opening weekend.

Gravity remained in the top five for one last weekend with $12.83 million over the weekend for a total of $218.89 million after a month of release. At this pace, reaching $250 million is still likely, unless Thor: The Dark World destroys it this weekend. This is possible, because Thor could open big enough to destroy all of the competition, but perhaps Gravity's more mature target audience could protect it.

12 Years a Slave has not yet expanded wide, but it did perform better than expected this past weekend. It reached seventh place with $4.79 million in 410 theaters for an early total of $8.95 million. Its per theater average suggests it still has the potential to expand further, if not fully wide.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Ender's Game, Gravity, Free Birds, Last Vegas, 12 Years a Slave, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Jackass