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Weekend Wrap-Up: Steel is Golden

October 10th, 2011

October started out with mixed results and it seems for every bit of good news there was equal and opposite bad news. Real Steel topped expectations, but Ides of March did not. The overall box office slipped by 4% from last weekend to $95 million, but it was higher than the same weekend last year. Growth was under 2%, meaning ticket sales were weaker. Year-to-date, 2011 is still behind 2010, but the gap was narrowed to 3% at $8.11 billion to $8.39 billion. There's still a chance we can catch up, but we are running out of time and can't afford any missteps.

Real Steel proved to be yet another hit for Shawn Levy, earning an easy first place with $27.32 million. Given the film's surprisingly strong internal multiplier of 3.20, you have to conclude this film connected with kids a lot more than with adults. That's not to say the film doesn't have some adult fans and its reviews were just shy of the overall positive score. On the downside, the film cost a boatload to make and even with the longer legs kids films usually have, topping $110 million domestically will be virtually impossible. Depending on how well it connects with international audiences, it likely have to wait for that market to break even.

As expected, Ides of March placed second; however, it only managed $10.47 million, which was on the low end of expectations. The reviews are excellent at 82% positive and that should have a positive effect on the film's legs. But with a per theater average of $4,761, I don't think significant expansion will be in the cards. It did cost just $12.5 million to make and if it can get some Oscar buzz, it should perform better on the home market.

Dolphin Tale came within a rounding error of the weekend prediction with $9.13 million over the weekend for a total of $49.04 million after three. This is more than enough to be considered a hit and it should stick around in theaters for several more weeks. With its first real test on the international stage coming this weekend, it could be a whole lot closer to profitability just one week from now.

Moneyball fell to fourth place with $7.45 million over the weekend and $49.21 million after three. The film has just about matched its production budget, but with weak international prospects (baseball just isn't as popular internationally) it will have to wait longer to break even.

50/50 was the only sophomore film to reach the top five, as it remained in fifth place with $5.65 million over the weekend for a two-week total of $17.48 million. It was a very inexpensive movie to make, costing just $8 million to produce, so as long as the P&A budget wasn't too much, it is well on its way to profitability.

Speaking of the sophomore class, Courageous hung in there relatively well down 46% to $4.87 million over the weekend and $16.16 million after two. This is a sharper decline than Fireproof had, but still better than most wide releases. However, it was the worst drop-off of the sophomore class this weekend. Dream House wasn't a lot better, down 45% to $4.48 million over the weekend for a total of $14.47 million after two. What's Your Number? did well with a 42% decline earning $3.13 million over the weekend for a running tally of $10.38 million. However, the latter two films have per theater averages weak enough to suggest a significant reduction in theaters counts on Friday.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Dolphin Tale, Dream House, What's Your Number?, Real Steel, Moneyball, Courageous, 50/50, The Ides of March