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Box office update: 'Ender's Game' lifts off with $9.9 million Friday, 'Last Vegas' cooks 'Free Birds'

Summit and OddLot Entertainment’s $110 million adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi classic Ender’s Game blasted off in first place with $9.9 million on Friday. The film, which stars Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford, will likely gross about $26 million over its first three days, which is more than YA fare like The Mortal Instruments or The Host, but nowhere close to Twilight or The Hunger Games.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa held up very nicely in second place with $6.1 million, marking a 52 percent drop from last Friday. (That’s pretty great for a spinoff sequel targeting teen moviegoers, who tend to rush to the theater on opening weekend.) The film will level off for the rest of the weekend and may end up dropping only about 40 percent to $19 million, which would give it $60 million total against a $15 million budget. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Ender's Game' ready for battle

Just one week after Gravity bequeathed its box office throne to Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, another space tale will likely soar into the top spot at the U.S. marketplace. The long-awaited adaptation of sci-fi classic Ender’s Game hits theaters this weekend, and though it should be able to score a solid win, its tracking leaves a lot to be desired. Two other films are also opening: the elder statesmen comedy Last Vegas and the animated Thanksgiving tale Free Birds. Neither are expected to bring too much cha-ching.

Here’s how the box office might shake out:

1. Ender’s Game – $26 million
Summit and OddLot Entertainment co-financed this $110 million adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved sci-fi novel about a young boy who is recruited to a military school in space and manipulated by every adult around him. The film stars Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield in the title role, as well as Harrison Ford as Colonel Hyrum Graff. Curiously, Summit has all but hidden Butterfield in Ender’s Game‘s marketing campaign, instead focusing almost exclusively on Ford. Granted, he’s an iconic superstar with multi-generational appeal, but you’d think that Lionsgate, Summit’s parent company, would have learned the importance of establishing a protagonist from its remarkably successful Hunger Games campaign.

Tracking for Ender’s Game has been relatively mild, and the controversy surrounding Card’s views on gay marriage have garnered negative publicity for the film. But the reality is that young adult fantasy franchises are notoriously difficult to launch. For every Hunger Games or Harry Potter, there are many more bombs like Beautiful Creatures or The Mortal Instruments, and there’s rarely a clear reason why giant literary hits don’t connect on screen. YA fans are a rather fickle bunch — though Ender’s Game has been a hit since 1985, and it has a legion of older fans as well. Thus, Ender’s Game won’t stoop as low as Mortal Instruments, but it might perform similarly to Eragon ($23 million opening, $75 million total) or The Spiderwick Chronicles ($19 million, $71 million). Opening in 3,407 theaters, expect the film to earn about $26 million this weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Bad Grandpa' spoofs its way to $32 million debut

This weekend, a Ridley Scott-directed drama starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Brad Pitt got trounced at the box office by Johnny Knoxville in an old-man costume. Yep, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa topped the chart with an excellent $32 million in its first three days, giving Knoxville his sixth No. 1 movie after his three Jackass films, Men in Black II, and The Dukes of Hazzard. Not a bad run for a guy who built his career on getting pushed into street curbs while sitting inside shopping carts!

Bad Grandpa, which Paramount made on a $15 million budget, didn’t feature the entire Jackass crew, but it still posted numbers in line with the rest of the irreverent prank franchise. While the film opened below 2010′s Jackass 3-D, which debuted with $50 million (boosted, in part, by 3-D ticket prices), it beat the openings of both Jackass: The Movie ($22.8 million) and Jackass: Number Two ($29 million). Audiences gave it a middling “B” CinemaScore grade, but if it performs similarly to its Jackass predecessors, Bad Grandpa should finish with about $70-80 million total.
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Box office update: 'Bad Grandpa' wins Friday with $12.6 million as 'The Counselor' flops with 'D' CinemaScore

Even without the rest of the Jackass crew, Johnny Knoxville scored with his latest irreverent prank movie, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, which topped the chart on Friday with an excellent $12.6 million. The film, which cost Paramount about $15 million to make, is expected to gross $30 million this weekend. Not a bad return on investment! Audiences issued the film a lukewarm “B” CinemaScore grade.

Bad Grandpa‘s success meant that Gravity finally had to give up its spot atop the chart. Warner Bros’ $100 million space drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney grossed $6.2 million yesterday, a drop of just 32 percent from the previous Friday, which sets it up for a $21.5 million weekend and just over $200 million total after four frames.
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Box office preview: 'Bad Grandpa' ready to take down 'Gravity'

Gravity hasn’t given up the top box office spot since its October 4 debut, but the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney outer space adventure will likely come back down to earth this weekend. And it has nothing to do with the release of Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, another adult-targeted drama. No, the big threat to Gravity is the ultra-cheap comedy Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, which appears poised to ride its shopping cart all the way into first place.

Here’s how the chart may look this weekend:

1. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – $29 million
Paramount’s $15 million Jackass-spinoff, which features Johnny Knoxville in an old man costume (but not the rest of the Jackass crew), has advertised itself as an irreverent, bawdy hidden-camera production — a tactic that has worked very well for previous installments of the Jackass franchise. That series’ last iteration, Jackass 3-D, opened to $50 million in 2010, and while Bad Grandpa won’t reach those heights (especially without the 3-D ticket price boost), according to Fandango it’s selling more tickets ahead of release than We’re the Millers, which opened with over $26 million earlier this year. Bad Grandpa may walk away with about $29 or $30 million this weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Gravity' scores third weekend win with $31 million; 'Carrie' and 'Escape Plan' both underwhelm

Gravity.jpg

There’s no force strong enough to pull Warner Bros.’ $100 million smash Gravity back down to Earth. The film, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, easily maintained its perch atop the box office in its third weekend, dropping just 28 percent to $31 million — good for a $170.6 million total after just 17 days.

Gravity is already the tenth highest-grossing film of 2013 in the U.S. (it surpassed Bullock’s other vehicle, The Heat, this weekend), and appears to be headed for a finish of at least $250 million, which would put it ahead of director Alfonso Cuaron’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which grossed $249.5 million in 2004. Worldwide, Gravity has already earned $284.8 million.

Sony’s $55 million Tom Hanks drama Captain Phillips spent a second week in second place, dipping 33 percent to $17.3 million for a $53.3 million total after ten days. The well-reviewed film is playing well ahead of Argo, which had earned $43 million at the same point in its run last year en route to a $136 million finish. Captain Phillips will need some major awards attention in the following months to reach those heights, but thanks to great word-of-mouth, it should reach (or get close to) $100 million domestically. READ FULL STORY

Box office disaster: Benedict Cumberbatch's 'The Fifth Estate' has worst debut of 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch knows he has a rabid base of Tumblr-obsessed fans. When asked whether he was worried that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange might attack his new drama The Fifth Estate, in which he plays the infamous hacker, Cumberbatch kept his cool: “The Cumberitches have got my back,” he told EW.

But, as it turns out, the Cumberbitches didn’t have his back this weekend — at least not at the box office. The Fifth Estate bombed in its opening weekend with a truly awful $1.7 million from 1,769 theaters, making it the worst debut for a film opening in at least 1,500 theaters this year. (Sorry, Paranoia!) The film, which cost DreamWorks a reported $26 million to produce, earned tepid reviews from critics and could only manage an anemic $969 location average.

Just how bad is that? Well, let’s put this in perspective. Notorious stinker Movie 43 grossed $4.8 million in its opening weekend in January, almost three times as much as The Fifth Estate. Getaway, the ludicrously awful Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez thriller drove away with $4.5 million in August. Heck, this weekend’s Arnold Schwarznegger/Sylvester Stallone action flick Escape Plan bombed with $9.8 million — and that’s still almost six times more money than The Fifth Estate made!

Luckily, there is a silver lining for Cumberbatch. His other vehicle, 12 Years a Slave, proved powerful in limited release this weekend, drawing $960,000 from just 19 theaters, which yielded a terrific $50,526 per theater average — not to mention boatloads of early Oscar buzz.

For the full weekend box office report: ‘Gravity’ scores third weekend win with $31 million.

Check out a trailer for The Fifth Estate below.  READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Gravity' stays on top with $9.1 million, 'Carrie' off to disappointing start

Gravity-Trailer.jpg

Gravity can not be stopped — not by a telekinetic teenager, not by a WikiLeaks hacker, not even by the hulking threat of Arnold Schwarznegger and Sylvester Stallone.

Warner Bros.’ $100 million drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney drew another $9.1 million on Friday, marking a scant 28 percent drop from last Friday. Gravity may pull in about $32 million over the weekend, which would bring its total to an incredible $171 million after just 17 days.

In second place, Screen Gems and MGM’s $30 million horror remake Carrie stumbled out of the gate with $6.6 million. Since horror movies are typically quite frontloaded, the film will likely finish the frame with about $16 million — well below predictions that had the film earning at least $20 million.

Captain Phillips finished in third place with $5.2 million, but it may surpass Carrie by Sunday night and finish the weekend in second place with about $17 million. Sony’s $55 million Tom Hanks drama will have accrued about $53 million after ten days.

Summit’s Stallone/Schwarznegger action entry, Escape Plan, which cost a reported $70 million to produce, only locked up $3.6 million on its opening day. The prison-escape movie could earn only $9.5 million in its opening weekend — joining the ranks of the stars’ recent flops Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand.

At least Escape Plan fared better than Benedict Cumberbatch’s WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate, which earned an anemic $587,000 from 1,769 theaters, yielding an awful $332 daily per theater average. The film may earn about $1.5 million total over the weekend. Ouch.

1. Gravity – $9.1 million
2. Carrie – $6.6 million
3. Captain Phillips – $5.2 million
4. Escape Plan – $3.6 million
5. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $2.6 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

Box office preview: Will 'Carrie' bring 'Gravity' back down to earth?

It’s prom night in October, and although horror remake Carrie is eying a solid debut, the film will have to work some major box office magic to prevent Gravity from being crowned queen for a third weekend. Carrie isn’t the only new wide release hitting theaters — there’s also Escape Plan and The Fifth Estate, whose prospects are decidedly dimmer.

Here’s how the box office might shake out this weekend:

1. Gravity – $34 million
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are headed to another massive weekend at the box office. Gravity only fell by 23 percent last weekend — and that was against the opening of Captain Phillips. This time around, there aren’t any well-reviewed adult dramas attracting attention, and Gravity may fall by an even slimmer 20 percent to about $34 million for a remarkable $173 million total.
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Box Office report: 'Gravity' brings in astronomical $44.2 million; 'Captain Phillips' a strong No. 2

Alfonso Cuarón’s heady outer-space thriller is proving a phenomenon in its second week, dropping just 21 percent from its opening weekend and rocketing past the $100 million mark on Saturday to a stellar $123.4 cume in just 10 days. It’s the smallest second-week decline for a film that debuted to more than $55 million. Gravity is already the fourth and third highest-grossing film for stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, respectively. A whopping 84 percent of the yield comes from 3-D showings and 20 percent from I-MAX, proving moviegoers are still willing to pay the surcharges, at least when promised panoramic zero-gravity shots and inner-helmet closeups of Bullock’s face. Expect small drop-offs in the future as word of mouth continues to spread and awards season draws nearer.

Captain Phillips, another awards hopeful, earned a strong $26 million opening weekend and scored the No. 2 spot. The biggest hit for Tom Hanks since 2009′s Angels & Demons, the PG-13 true story of a U.S. cargo ship captain who protected his crew from Somali pirates in 2009 will play well to families and older audiences through the holidays.

With little family-movie competition, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 has matched its budget of $78 million after its 17th day. Lagging far behind is Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, which earned a brutal $3.79 million. The sequel to 2010′s Machete  is the director’s lowest-grossing wide opening. Runner Runner, the online poker drama starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, seems to be folding early — after a $7.7 million opening weekend, Fox’s $30 million bad bet dropped to $3.73 million.

1. Gravity – $44.2 million
2. Captain Phillips – $26 million
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $14.2 million
4. Machete Kills – $3.79 million
5. Runner Runner – $3.73 million

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