Newcomers Fizzle as 'Argo' Tops Weak Frame
'Cloud Atlas' Falters as 'Skyfall' Opens Big Overseas
Published: 10/28/2012, Last Updated: 10/29/2012 05:12am
After failing to reach the top spot for two weekends, Ben Affleck's Argo dropped just 25% and earned $12.3 million, which was good enough for the top spot during a weak frame that was 12.4% below the same weekend last year when Dreamworks' Puss n' Boots opened with $34 million. A quartet of newcomers led by the Wachowski's $100 million literary time-traveling epic Cloud Atlas fizzled as Hollywood's fall winning streak came to a crashing end. But there were some positive signs at the box office this weekend, at least for the future. American audiences still have two weeks to wait until the latest James Bond thriller Skyfall opens here, but the 23rd Bond film is already setting franchise records overseas.
Argo, a thriller based on a true story of the rescue of Americans from Iran in the 1970s, has now earned $60.7 million, and with some serious Oscar buzz surrounding the film, which managed a stellar "A+" CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences, it appears likely that Affleck's film will eventually pass the $100 million mark domestically. Argo's unlikely ascent to the #1 spot during its third weekend marks the first time this has happened since the Coen Brothers' True Grit managed the feat in early 2011.
Sony's Hotel Transylvania, which will finally receive some direct competition for the family audience next weekend when Disney's Wreck-It Ralph debuts, took advantage of the weak frame to move up from 4th place last week to second as it dropped just 27% and brought its total to $130.4 million.
The $9.4 million debut of the Wachowski's star-studded Cloud Atlas was certainly disappointing, but it was also by far the best of any of this weekend's newcomers. While Cloud Atlas did manage to please some of the critics (it earned a 63% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes), opening weekend audiences, which skewed older with 77% over 25, gave the film a relatively poor "C+" CinemaScore, which could doom the pricey $100 million film at least in the domestic market. Warner Bros. didn't produce the film. The studio just paid $15 million for North American distribution rights (though Warners will also have to pay domestic marketing costs), so the studio is not going to lose a bundle. Cloud Atlas did have the highest per-theater average in the top ten, though $4,681 is nothing to write home about. The film's complex convoluted narrative structure may hurt it with audiences in theaters, but this high-concept complexity could also help it become something of a cult hit on video.
The only other new film to make an impression on this weekend's top ten was the horror film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, which tied for fifth with an estimated $8 million. The latest Silent Hill movie could only muster a weak $2,728 per theater average from nearly 3,000 locations. The video game-based film failed to capitalize on the proximity of Halloween that helped Paranormal Activity 4 top the box office last week, in fact Silent Hill: Revelation 3D debuted behind that latest entry from the "found footage" franchise, which has owned the Halloween horror movie audience for the past four years. The fact that opening weekend audiences gave Silent Hill: Revelation 3D a lousy "C" CinemaScore pretty much seals the film's fate in the domestic market, though with a cost of just $20 million, a solid performance overseas, where 3D is more popular than it is here, could still lead to profitability.
Speaking of big performance overseas, Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, is off to a superb start. The new Bond movie, which doesn't open here until November 9th, earned $77.7 million as it debuted in 25 territories, where it was up 76% from the launch of Casino Royale (the first film to feature Daniel Craig as 007), and 30% from Quantum of Solace (the most recent Bond movie).
Paramount's Victoria Justice movie Fun Size bowed at number 10 with just $4 million from 3000 theaters. As might be expected the audience for the film featuring the Nickelodeon star of Zoey 101 and Victorious was heavily female (67%) and younger (61% under 18). They gave the film a mediocre "B" CinemaScore, so it is likely that the $14 million movie will have to make its cost back on video.
The Gerard Butler surfing drama Chasing Mavericks fared even worse as it debuted at #13 with just $2.2 million from over 2,000 locations. At least audiences liked the film, which earned a solid "B+" CinemaScore, and which has a solid chance of eventually making its cost back on video.
Check back next week to discover the fate of another quartet of newcomers that includes the Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph, the Denzel Washington drama Flight, the Quentin Tarantino-based martial arts movie The Man With the Iron Fist, and the romantic vampire comedy, Vamps.
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