Box Office Guru Wrapup: Argo Leads a Lackluster Weekend

Plus, none of the new releases performs very well.

This weekend, with moviegoers yawning at the four new releases that Hollywood served up, the hit hostage crisis thriller Argo climbed up into the number one spot in its third frame leading an overall lackluster session. Ticket sales took an extra hit on the east coast as people prepared for the arrival of a monster storm set to impact highly populated areas putting an extra dent into an already weak marketplace.

Declining by just 25% in its third weekend, the Warner Bros. hit Argo won the box office crown with an estimated $12.4M which boosted the 17-day cume to a solid $60.8M. A final gross at or above the $100M mark still seems possible during its initial run. A re-release in January around the time when Oscar nominations are announced is a possibility which would all but guarantee an invitation to the century club. Argo became the first movie since 2010's True Grit to rise up to the top spot in its third weekend.

Terrific word-of-mouth is helping the Ben Affleck film reach new audiences and its pro-America ending is attracting business from red, blue, and swing states alike. Timing the release to the peak part of the presidential election season was no accident and the strategy is paying off. Upcoming films like Denzel Washington's Flight, Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, and the latest James Bond actioner Skyfall will provide stiff competition during the November weeks ahead but Argo hopes to hold its own and capitalize on strong reviews and glowing buzz.

It was a tight two-way race for second place but according to Sunday estimates, Sony inched ahead with its blockbuster toon Hotel Transylvania which slipped only 27% to an estimated $9.5M in its fifth weekend. The Sony hit has grossed a stellar $130.4M to date. Over the last 13 years, no September release has grossed more.

Opening close behind in third, if estimates hold, was the big-budget sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas which disappointed with an estimated $9.4M launch. The R-rated saga from the Wachowski siblings did manage to score the best per-theater average of any wide release with $4,681 from 2,008 locations including higher-priced IMAX screens. Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, and others, the nearly-three-hour extravaganza turned out to be too experimental for mainstream audiences who could hardly tell from the advertising what the movie was even about.

Atlas mixes together multiple stories from various times spanning 500 years with actors playing different roles jumping across race and gender barriers in the various eras. Reviews were mixed but generally more on the positive side. Warner Bros. was hoping that fans of the directors of the Matrix trilogy would come out for their newest adventure. However, these filmmakers have not had a film that truly excited all sci-fi fans since the first Neo pic in 1999 which put them on the map in the first place. The Matrix sequels from 2003 left a bad taste in the mouths of many while their 2008 take on Speed Racer was a commercial and critical bomb.

Cloud Atlas will have a difficult road ahead as indicated by its troubling C+ CinemaScore grade. Studio research showed that the audience was mostly split evenly with males making up 51% of the crowd. The age breakdown was different as the film skewed much older with 77% being over 25. With a budget of over $100M, the sci-fi pic will be hoping for a sizably better response from international audiences which just may happen. Last year's period action epic The Three Musketeers, also co-financed by German money, opened in North America to a similarly weak $8.7M but fared well overseas with the rest of the world accounting for a whopping 85% of its global gross.

Suffering the worst second weekend drop yet for the franchise, Paranormal Activity 4 crumbled by 70% to an estimated $8.7M and raised its total to $42.6M since opening at 9pm two Thursdays ago. Last October's third installment in the hit Paramount series tumbled by 65%. Look for the new chapter to end its run quickly in the area of $55M, or about half of the $104M of the last film, putting the domestic total for the four-pack of thrillers at about $350M with combined production costs of only $13M. Paranormal Activity 4 grossed $14.1M overseas this weekend from holdover markets and a dozen new territories. The international total sits at $48.3M while the global tally is now $90.9M with Japan, France and other markets set to open this next week..

Two more sequels followed and were tied for fifth place with an estimated $8M each. Liam Neeson's Taken 2 declined by a reasonable 40% pushing the cume to $117.4M for Fox. Open Road debuted its offering for Halloween with the 3D horror pic Silent Hill: Revelation but was met with a dismal $2,728 average from 2,933 theaters. The sequel came out a long time after its predecessor which debuted to a strong number one showing with $20.2M in April 2006. With a weak brand and ample competition from other fright films like Paranormal and Sinister, Revelation failed to generate any excitement. Poor reviews did not help any.

Dropping only 35% was the Kevin James comedy Here Comes the Boom with an estimated $5.5M and a cume of just $30.6M for Sony. Word-of-mouth has been helping the horror hit Sinister which dipped only 43% in its third weekend to an estimated $5.1M for a solid $39.5M to date for Summit and Lionsgate. The companies also saw an estimated $5.1M for their detective thriller Alex Cross which fell a sharp 56% in its sophomore frame. With $19.4M in ten days, look for a $30M final.

The Halloween teen comedy Fun Size crashed and burned with a poor tenth place bow collecting an estimated $4.1M from a very wide 3,014 locations for a pathetic $1,347 average. Paramount earned a B CinemaScore from audiences and the crowd was heavily young female. Studio research showed that 67% was female and 73% was under 25 for the PG-13 party pic. Fun Size cost $14M to produce.

Following in the footsteps of the other new titles on the menu this weekend, Gerard Butler's surfing film Chasing Mavericks flopped and was rejected by moviegoers. The Fox release opened to an estimated $2.2M, failed to make the top ten, and generated a dismal $1,099 average from 2,002 theaters. Reviews were bad and the audience was split evenly between men and women. The PG-rated film skewed older with 59% being over 25 while the CinemaScore grade was a respectable B+.

Skyfall launched to impressive results in Europe and other territories this weekend with a stellar opening of $77.7M from 25 markets hitting the top spot everywhere. The United Kingdom led the way with $32.4M which was the second biggest Friday-to-Sunday opening in history trailing the final Harry Potter pic which was in 3D. The British debut was 30% higher than Quantum of Solace, the last film in the franchise. Other top openings included $9.1M in France, $8.6M in Russia, $6.5M in Brazil, and $6.1M in Korea. Additional countries get Skyfall next weekend while North America is among the final markets for the Sony smash with its November 9 debut. Bond films typically open stateside in mid-November close to the Thanksgiving holiday when overall moviegoing is robust. Domestically, Quantum opened one week before the first Twilight film while the latest 007 debuts a week prior to the vampire franchise's closing installment.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $75.6M which was down 16% from last year when Puss in Boots debuted at number one with $34.1M; and off 10% from 2010 when Saw 3D opened on top with $24.2M.

Follow Gitesh on Twitter.

Comments

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Seven of those big ones that went to Argo this weekend were mine; definitely good, I chuckled along with the audience at the funny moments and was tensed by the last third. (and that retro 70s \\' logo at the start of the film? Brilliant!) Glad it's holding up well.

A little surprised at the numbers for "Cloud Atlas", I thought the anticipation for the film was a lot higher. I'll give it a try on video.

Man, "Fun Size" totally burned. I wonder if the PG-13 rating and the alleged "humping joke" in the trailer turned a lot of people off.

Next week has some stuff I want to see: "Wreck-It Ralph" of course, "Flight", and "Skyfall" might be pretty good entertainment. And I still need to see "Frankenweenie".



Oct 28 - 06:17 PM

Clark Allen

Clark Allen

that retro opening logo was damn sweet, i agree. it sets up the attention to detail right out of the gate.

Oct 28 - 07:44 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Yeah, I think Fun Size would've benefitted from a lighter PG rating. It looked like something that would appeal to kids and tweens. I mean, the name Fun Size alone just screams "kid and tween movie." What were they thinking?

Oct 29 - 06:10 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Brad, you are spot on.

Oct 29 - 10:35 AM

Doris M.

Doris Miller

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Nov 5 - 06:21 AM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

I hate this turnout
I chose to SKIP Argo
my older sister and I saw Fun Size, we laughed and liked it a lot
Im very sad that it tanked box office-wise
I suppose there aren't that many Victoria Justice fans
but my theater was crowded
it deserves to be #1 or better treatment

Oct 28 - 07:02 PM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

I diagree. The #1 spot is virtually always occupied by teen-targeted fare. It's nice to see an adult movie in there for a change.

Oct 29 - 06:06 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Brad is correct.

Oct 31 - 08:17 AM

Saetre

Saetre Saetre

I agree.

Nov 2 - 01:03 AM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I strongly suspected that this would be a poor weekend. None of the new wide release films seems really compelling. The good news is that November is looking good with Skyfall and Breaking Dawn Part 2 being major releases. Next weekend looks good with Wreck it Ralph and Flight likely doing some good business.

Oct 28 - 07:14 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

You are considering Breaking Dawn a good release? For who? the Studio? Who cares about that?

Oct 31 - 08:18 AM

Teddy K.

Ryan Gavetti

In my circle, everyone is talking about seeing Argo in the next week or so. There has been no enthusiasm regarding Paranormal Activity 4, Cloud Atlas or the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph (and most of my friends are gamers). I suspect those who had intentions of getting their scare on with Paranormal Activity 4 have already done so.

However, my friends and I are definitely planning to see Skyfall on the opening weekend (opens November 9th here). I'm the Bond fan in the group, but we were all heavily disappointed with Quantum of Solace after being blown away by Casino Royale.

Oct 28 - 07:22 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Yeah I like video game's alot myself though I don't game much to more but something about Wreck it Ralph doesn't seem like it's for gamers at all other than "Look! A Cameo!" Zangief telling Ralph He is Bad guy as well is just...really? When I played Street Fighter I never thought Zangief was Bad guy. I know, thats really petty of me but again the film seems like "LOOK CAMEOS!" and not "LOOK WE UNDERSTAND GAMERS AND THE CHARACTERS IN THESE GAMES!"

I'm sure my kids will love it though so that's always a plus.

Oct 29 - 08:20 AM

Clark Allen

Clark Allen

that retro opening logo was damn sweet, i agree. it sets up the attention to detail right out of the gate.

Oct 28 - 07:44 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I haven't seen Argo yet, I already saw Taken 2 last week.

I'm glad that Argo's #1.

Fun Size is just another example of Nickelodeon's big failures like 2002's Hey Arnold: The Movie and 2010's bomb "The Last Airbender." Out with the new, in with the old.

Silent Hill just couldn't keep its mouth shut, too bad the sequel is a total mess.

Oct 28 - 07:46 PM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

Cough, cough, Rango,cough, cough.

Oct 29 - 09:08 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Last Airbender wasn't a bomb. It may have been critically reviled and hated by audiences, but it still made nearly 300 mil worldwide. In fact, it bears the honarable distinction of being the only film in history to both make more than 100 mil domestically AND have a RT score of less than 10%.

Oct 29 - 03:35 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

Looks like Argo...
(Sunglasses)
...is just as good as Fargo.

Oct 28 - 08:00 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm not going to sit here and debate you, Jerry. I'm not going to debate.

Oct 28 - 10:19 PM

ballermat982

ballermat 982

you forgot the YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Oct 28 - 10:31 PM

Kriftonucci

Jim Ylonen

And I haven't even seen CSI, just Fargo.

Oct 29 - 07:46 PM

Esteban Martinez

Esteban Martinez

Argo deserves this. It really is a good movie.

Hmmm... *Looks at Cloud Atlas' opening* does this mean the Wachoski duo will be doing direct to video movies soon? I think they're losing studios' a lot more money that they are making them.

Oct 28 - 09:10 PM

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


Most of the finding for Cloud Atlas didn't come from major studios. It was independently produced.

Oct 29 - 12:32 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Matrix movies made about $1.2 billion. That doesn't include a successful (but lame) video game, comics, toys, and The Animatrix. So they probably haven't lost more than they've made but still, they need to make a good, profitable movie soon or they're going to lose a lot of clout among studios but more importantly the movie geeks that praise them. V for Vendetta restored some faith (for some reason) but they're definitely slipping.

Oct 29 - 12:43 AM

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


Most people don't even know who the Wachoksi are anyway.

Besides why should Warner Brothers worry about Cloud Atlas. It's not their movie, they only bought the distribution rights.

Oct 29 - 01:37 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Did you take an informal poll of "most people" to come to this conclusion?

Oct 29 - 07:17 AM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

Am I in the minority when I say the Wachowski's best film will always be 1996's BOUND with Jennifer Tilly, Joe P, and Gina Gershon? Even after I saw the first MATRIX movie I didn't think it quite made it up to BOUND'S pedestal in terms style, vision and execution.

Oct 29 - 09:58 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Plus a massive deficit in lip-stick lesbianism. Am I right?

Oct 29 - 03:42 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm not going to sit here and debate you, Jerry. I'm not going to debate.

Oct 28 - 10:19 PM

ballermat982

ballermat 982

you forgot the YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Oct 28 - 10:31 PM

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


Most of the finding for Cloud Atlas didn't come from major studios. It was independently produced.

Oct 29 - 12:32 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Matrix movies made about $1.2 billion. That doesn't include a successful (but lame) video game, comics, toys, and The Animatrix. So they probably haven't lost more than they've made but still, they need to make a good, profitable movie soon or they're going to lose a lot of clout among studios but more importantly the movie geeks that praise them. V for Vendetta restored some faith (for some reason) but they're definitely slipping.

Oct 29 - 12:43 AM

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


Most people don't even know who the Wachoksi are anyway.

Besides why should Warner Brothers worry about Cloud Atlas. It's not their movie, they only bought the distribution rights.

Oct 29 - 01:37 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Did you take an informal poll of "most people" to come to this conclusion?

Oct 29 - 07:17 AM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

Am I in the minority when I say the Wachowski's best film will always be 1996's BOUND with Jennifer Tilly, Joe P, and Gina Gershon? Even after I saw the first MATRIX movie I didn't think it quite made it up to BOUND'S pedestal in terms style, vision and execution.

Oct 29 - 09:58 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Plus a massive deficit in lip-stick lesbianism. Am I right?

Oct 29 - 03:42 PM

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


Most people don't even know who the Wachoksi are anyway.

Besides why should Warner Brothers worry about Cloud Atlas. It's not their movie, they only bought the distribution rights.

Oct 29 - 01:37 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Did you take an informal poll of "most people" to come to this conclusion?

Oct 29 - 07:17 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

I diagree. The #1 spot is virtually always occupied by teen-targeted fare. It's nice to see an adult movie in there for a change.

Oct 29 - 06:06 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Brad is correct.

Oct 31 - 08:17 AM

Saetre

Saetre Saetre

I agree.

Nov 2 - 01:03 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Yeah, I think Fun Size would've benefitted from a lighter PG rating. It looked like something that would appeal to kids and tweens. I mean, the name Fun Size alone just screams "kid and tween movie." What were they thinking?

Oct 29 - 06:10 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Brad, you are spot on.

Oct 29 - 10:35 AM

Brad H.

Brad Hadfield

Did you take an informal poll of "most people" to come to this conclusion?

Oct 29 - 07:17 AM

Nelson Verdejo

Nelson Verdejo

the wachowskis continue to disappoint ... what is the point of creating a massive sci-fi spectacle like The Matrix that was (when it came out) unlike anything you've ever seen before and was insanely cool.... if they never follow up with equally exciting movies to keep their names on the board??? i was so impressed with The Matrix (as a trilogy) even though the sequels were flawed that i was expecting so much more from The Wachowskis and i almost hailed them as some of the greatest sci-fi filmmakers .... but then after, all we get is Speed Racer and their production on Ninja Assassin ... two terrible movies .... if they dont do something along the lines of their original matrix, they are going to be completely forgotten and labeled as one hit wonders if they have not been done so already ... they are kind of like M. Night Shyamalan in that everyone thought he was the next big thing because of a stellar debut film (even though i didnt even like six sense and always thought shyamalans work was trash, every last bit of his work) .... unlike shyamalan, the wachowskis actually had a great film with the matrix and then never did anything great again ... shyamalan started with a crappy film and just got worse .... now the wachowskis have Cloud Atlas which is hard to get a read on because many of the segments look incredibly boring, but then you have that one futuristic sci fi segment in the trailer that looks totally epic ... i went to see it and trust me .. this is a snooze fest.... they keep jumping back and forth between time periods and the slave times are just as boring as the 1970s and the present time ... and the story makes no sense .... then when they start to get into the future, it looks like it is going to be epic with an action sequence but then keeps going back and forth between different time periods that seem to have nothing to do with each other .. maybe im missing the point but it seems like this movie doesnt know what it wants to be ... a sci fi epic, or a history drama? it would have been great if this movie was only in the future in that sci fi world you see in the trailer .... then maybe the wachowskis would come back ... what are fans of the matrix supposed to think and react when they are bored to death until the film gets to 100 years in the future but then keeps jumping back and forth between 100 years in a sci fi future and 500 years in the past?

Oct 29 - 07:58 AM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

You really need to check out BOUND. To me, those sex scenes with Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly have more replay value than Neo doing...things.

Oct 29 - 10:11 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

If you thought that the original Matrix was truly unlike anything you had ever seen, then you obviously weren't much of an anime fan when it came out.

Oct 29 - 12:56 PM

DBrock

David E-Brock

Speed Racer was awesome. Very underrated.

Oct 29 - 04:53 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I actually agree. I thought it was a lot of fun.

Oct 30 - 12:05 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Ditto.

Oct 31 - 08:19 AM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

Cloud Atlas was beautiful, exhilarating, ambitious film making. Since it's not part of a super hero franchise, a reboot, or a sequel (and it requires that the audience actually engage with it rather than turn off their brains) it failed to connect. No worries though. Films like Cloud Atlas are meant to push the conversation about the art of film forward, regardless of their success.

Oct 30 - 07:36 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Yeah I like video game's alot myself though I don't game much to more but something about Wreck it Ralph doesn't seem like it's for gamers at all other than "Look! A Cameo!" Zangief telling Ralph He is Bad guy as well is just...really? When I played Street Fighter I never thought Zangief was Bad guy. I know, thats really petty of me but again the film seems like "LOOK CAMEOS!" and not "LOOK WE UNDERSTAND GAMERS AND THE CHARACTERS IN THESE GAMES!"

I'm sure my kids will love it though so that's always a plus.

Oct 29 - 08:20 AM

I fight for the users

Ian Fastert

Cough, cough, Rango,cough, cough.

Oct 29 - 09:08 AM

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