Box Office Guru Wrapup: Bad Grandpa Tops Gravity

Captain Phillips rounds out the top three.

Continuing a banner year for R-rated comedies, Paramount's prank flick Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa debuted at number one putting an end to the three-week reign of Gravity which neared the $200M mark in the process. Overall ticket sales saw a healthy gain compared to a year ago.

Johnny Knoxville's Grandpa, which opened eleven years to the day after the first Jackass film, debuted to an estimated $32M from 3,336 theaters this weekend generating a strong $9,592 average. All four films in the franchise have opened at number one with this new chapter being more a spinoff than a sequel. The first three low-cost pics have combined for a sensational $254M in domestic box office sales and Grandpa again kept it cheap with a $15M production cost.

Reviews were surprisingly good for a low brow prank comedy like this and audiences were somewhat satisfied as the latest Jackass earned a B grade from CinemaScore, down slightly from the B+ of the last installment Jackass 3D. Studio research showed that the crowd was 56% male and 63% over 25 this weekend.

Raunchy comedies have been scoring big cash at the box office this year as five of the six top-grossing comedies of 2013 have had R ratings led by The Heat with $159.4M. Born on MTV as a reality series in 2000, the Jackass brand is still thriving thanks to the makers putting something new on the table and keeping fans in stitches.

After three weeks on top, the space blockbuster Gravity dropped to second place but was still strong enough to post the best fourth weekend gross of any film released since The Avengers. The Sandra Bullock smash declined by 32% to an estimated $20.3M and got within striking distance of the double century mark with a new total of $199.8M. It was a stronger fourth weekend take than such recent juggernauts as Iron Man 3, The Hobbit, and The Dark Knight Rises. Now ranking as the highest grossing film of George Clooney's career, Gravity is on track to finish with $250-275M domestically.

Gravity did, however, hold onto the number one spots this weekend for both the international and global marketplaces. 53 overseas markets delivered $36.6M for a worldwide weekend take of $56.9M. France opened well with $11.8M, 95% of that from 3D screens. Holdover markets are still led by Russia with $19.2M in four weeks and Korea with $15.3M in just two weeks. The international haul rose to $164.4M pushing the global gross to an impressive $364.2M. With top markets China, Japan, and the U.K. still to open across November and December, a final worldwide tally of over $700M should result for Gravity.

In third place was another star-driven thriller with glowing reviews and Oscar buzz - Captain Phillips. The Tom Hanks hit enjoyed a terrific hold once again in its third round and eased by only 28% to an estimated $11.8M. With an impressive $70.1M in 17 days, the Somali pirate flick is now the actor's highest-grossing non-franchise movie in nine years. Phillips should be able to break $100M from North America.

Moviegoers rejected Ridley Scott's newest film The Counselor which ended up in fourth place with an opening weekend of an estimated $8M. The R-rated drug trafficking drama averaged a weak $2,628 from 3,044 theaters and failed to excite its target audience of adults who have much better films to choose from right now. The Fox release features Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, and Javier Bardem but the starpower was trumped by bad reviews which kept audiences away. Studio research showed that Counselor's audience was 51% female and a whopping 85% over 25. Paying customers hated the pic as the CinemaScore grade was a dismal D.

Toon hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 followed with an estimated $6.1M, off 37%, for a cume to date of $100.6M for Sony joining the century club. The studio's horror flick Carrie stumbled 63% in its second weekend to an estimated $5.9M giving the remake $26M in ten days. Sly and Arnold saw their action collaboration Escape Plan also fall sharply in the sophomore round. The Lionsgate title fell 56% to an estimated $4.3M and $17.4M to date.

The much-talked-about Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave expanded in its second weekend of limited play and powered its way into the national top ten finishing in eighth place. Fox Searchlight's critically-acclaimed awards contender collected an estimated $2.2M from 123 theaters across a dozen markets for a potent average of $17,480. Cume is $3.4M. Slave is in a promising position and has proven it can pull in audiences across all parts of the country setting itself up nicely for next weekend's nationwide expansion into over 400 locations. It may just stick around the top ten for a while.

Searchlight had a rare two-film contribution to the top ten as the specialty distributor's middle-aged relationship comedy Enough Said dipped just 11% in its sixth weekend to an estimated $1.6M for a solid total of $13M. Rounding out the list was Hugh Jackman's studio pic Prisoners with an estimated $1.1M, down 49%, and $59.1M overall.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $93.2M which was up 25% from last year when Argo climbed into the number one spot in its third weekend with $12.1M; and up 3% from 2011 when Puss in Boots opened in the top spot with $34.1M. This was the first October in twelve years that saw no horror film reach the number one spot.

Follow Gitesh on Twitter.

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