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Weekend Wrap-Up: End Starts on Top

September 24th, 2012

It was another terrible week at the box office with only one of the four wide releases matching pre-weekend predictions. End of Watch was able to come out on top and it was only the second time an Open Road release was able to do that. The rest of the films ranged from a little disappointing to, 'Please don't make me talk about this; it's depressing.' The overall box office rose by 5.1% from last week to $90, but that's a staggering 23% lower than the same weekend last year. Yes, year-to-date, 2012 is still ahead of 2011, but its lead continues to shrink reaching just 2.5% at $7.92 billion to $7.73 billion. Ticket sales are just 1.3% higher than last year's pace and the upcoming releases don't seem particularly strong, so by the end of October, we could officially be in trouble.

End of Watch became only the second Open Road film to top the chart earning $13.15 million. This is a little better than expected before the weekend, but had the other films performed up to expectations, it would have only been enough for third place, so it got lucky as well. The film's reviews are excellent and that suggests better than average legs. However, it does have to deal with more or less direct competition next week, and the competition currently has even better reviews.

House at the End of the Street placed second with $12.29 million. This is hardly a monster hit, but it is more than the $10 million it reportedly cost to make, so the studio has to be somewhat happy with the result. (It likely cost at least twice that for prints and advertising.) With awful reviews and a genre that usually doesn't have strong legs, it will disappear quite quickly, but thanks to its low cost, it should break even early in the home market run, if not sooner.

Trouble with the Curve is an even bigger disappointment, as it was generally expected to finish in first place and some thought it would earn well over $20 million. Third place and $12.16 million won't impress a lot of people, while its reviews were merely mixed and won't help its legs. Additionally, it's a baseball movie, so it likely won't do as well internationally. Finally, it probably cost more than the two films above it at the box office, further making profitability an issue. Call it disappointing and move on.

Finding Nemo fell to fourth place with $9.64 million over the weekend for a re-release total of $30.18 million and a total total of $369.89 million. Its 3-D re-release will make a profit, but it might not happen till it hits the home market. (It is still too early to tell how well it will do internationally.)

Resident Evil: Retribution managed the final spot in the top five with $6.70 million, but its sophomore drop-off of 68% is actually worse than expected. Its two-week total is $33.47 million, putting it on pace to be the weakest Resident Evil film since the first one. It should still make a profit thanks to internationally numbers, so in 2014 expect to see yet another installment of the movie.

Dredd failed to live up to the low end of expectation with just $6.28 million over the weekend. Very strong reviews were not able to overcome the original's reputation. The studio is going to lose a lot on this one, unless it is a surprise hit internationally.

The Master's expansion didn't go as well as hoped landing in seventh place with $4.39 million. Its per theater average was $5,572, which was still the best in the top 30, but doesn't suggest it has room to expand significantly after this. On the other hand, its reviews and Awards Season buzz could help it stick around for quite some time.

The only sophomore film to fail to reach the top five was Last Ounce of Courage, which failed to reach the top 20 earning just $563,000. That represents a 65% drop-off while its total is a measly $2.76 million. Hopefully this is the last time we will have a Christmas film released in September. One final note, does anyone else think "ounce" looks wrong? I think we should work on an alternative spelling. "Onze"?


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Finding Nemo, House at the End of the Street, Looper, Dredd, Resident Evil: Retribution, Trouble with the Curve, End of Watch, The Master, Last Ounce of Courage