Box Office Guru Wrapup: No Strings Attached Wins Weekend

Plus, The Way Back fails to crack the top ten.

This weekend, Hollywood's current princess Natalie Portman reigned supreme over the North American box office as her new comedy No Strings Attached debuted at number one giving the Black Swan actress two films in the top ten a week after her big Golden Globe win. With no other films opening in wide release, most holdovers fared well with awards contenders enjoying the best legs thanks to strong word-of-mouth and buzz. But overall, the marketplace remained in poor shape falling below last year's levels for the eleventh consecutive weekend.

Audiences came out in healthy numbers for the sex comedy No Strings Attached spending an estimated $20.3M on its opening weekend. The R-rated film starring Portman and Ashton Kutcher about a couple that tries to have a sex-only relationship played heavily to young adult women. The debut was slightly better than the openings for R-rated non-summer comedies like I Love You, Man ($17.8M) and Forgetting Sarah Marshall ($17.7M) and matched the $20.2M bow of Kutcher's PG-13 summer comedy What Happens in Vegas co-starring Cameron Diaz. That film went on to reach $80.3M. Portman has only opened one other film at number one while in the lead role - V For Vendetta which bowed to $25.6M in March 2006.

According to studio research, women made up a whopping 70% of the audience while 60% were over 25. Critics gave mixed reviews and audiences felt the same as Strings scored a not-so-impressive B CinemaScore grade. Starpower and a lack of exciting films aimed at young women right now helped the top spot performance. Produced for just $25M, the Paramount release may come close to tripling that amount in its final domestic tally. Female-skewing comedies are often programmed into January as an alternative option for older teen girls and young women during a time when the football playoffs are taking lots of men out of the picture. Sunday's games are expected to have a big impact on the multiplexes, especially in the Northeast and Midwest where the four Super Bowl-hopeful teams are from.

Last week's top film The Green Hornet fell to second and experienced a decent hold for the superhero genre falling 46% to an estimated $18.1M. Sony has collected $63.4M in ten days for its Seth Rogen action comedy and may find its way to just over the $100M mark domestically. Overseas, the 3D pic grossed an estimated $18.7M thanks to some new countries opening upping the international take to $37.4M and the global gross to $100.8M.

Universal suffered a larger-than-hoped-for drop for its Vince Vaughn-Kevin James buddy comedy The Dilemma which fell 45% to an estimated $9.7M for a ten-day total of $33.4M. Upon opening last weekend to a soft $17.8M, the studio was comparing the Ron Howard-directed film to adult comedies like Something's Gotta Give and As Good As It Gets which had sophomore declines of 29% and 3% respectively. Budgeted at $70M, The Dilemma may end its run with about $60M.

Awards contenders all hoping for Best Picture nominations on Tuesday from the Academy followed with each showing sturdy legs. The King's Speech, which surprised the industry Saturday by upsetting The Social Network for the prestigious PGA prize, grossed an estimated $9.2M matching its performance from last weekend. With no decline and another frame in the number four slot, the Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush period drama pushed its cume up to $58.6M and is now on track to jump the $100M mark if it can land the wide range of Oscar nods it's expected to get.

The Weinstein Co. projected an aggressive estimate projecting a slim 20% Saturday-to-Sunday drop when other adult dramas were forecasting 40-50%. Speech is hoping to be a strong upscale alternative to football on Sunday but even a final take of under $9M would keep it in fourth place. The royal drama is following a strategy similar to Million Dollar Baby by waiting until later in the race to expand nationally and become a bigger part of the Oscar conversation thus making it a fresher film to vote for over an overexposed front-runner. The King's Speech wants to do to The Social Network what the Clint Eastwood pic did to The Aviator six years ago.

Western powerhouse True Grit placed fifth with an estimated $8M, off only 27%, upping Paramount's take to $138.6M. Natalie Portman popped up again with her second film in the top ten with the red hot Black Swan which took in an estimated $6.2M in its eighth round. Off just 26%, the Fox Searchlight film has banked $83.6M thus far. Paramount's brother tale The Fighter, which won both supporting acting Golden Globes last weekend, dipped a mere 12% to an estimated $4.5M and has punched up a solid $73M.

The King's Speech and Black Swan are both on course to join True Grit in the $100M+ club and Fighter could break in too proving that quality adult dramas can sell tons of tickets, especially during awards season. The quartet of acclaimed films has already grossed a combined $354M and will probably reach $475M or more. The combined production costs for the four hits is under $100M. Best Picture nominations will open the doors to more moviegoers curious to see the year's best films so expect these titles to stick around for a while. And with very few exciting new releases scheduled between now and Oscar night, there is plenty of mileage left.

Christmas leftovers rounded out the top ten. Universal's comedy Little Fockers fell 39% to an estimated $4.4M raising the cume to $141.2M. Despite today's higher ticket prices, the third pic in the series will end as the lowest-grossing installment finishing below the $166.2M of 2000's Meet the Parents and well below the $279.2M of 2004's Meet the Fockers.

Warner Bros. enjoyed another good hold from Yogi Bear which grossed an estimated $4.1M, off 24%, for a $88.9M total. A lack of competing kidpics is helping the 3D pic head towards $100M. TRON: Legacy did well too slipping 35% to an estimated $3.7M for an impressive $163.3M to date.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $88.2M which was down a troubling 27% from last year when Avatar stayed in the top spot with $34.9M; and down 26% from 2009 when Paul Blart: Mall Cop remained at number one with $21.6M.

Comments

King Crunk

King Crunk

Good for the dramas! Glad to see quality cinema get its due.

Jan 23 - 04:15 PM

Draic K.

Draic Kin

Truly a sad day when crap like 'No Strings Attached', 'Green Hornet' and 'The Dilemma' are considered to be 'quality cinema'

Jan 23 - 06:40 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Uh..... I was talking about True Grit, Black Swan, King's Speech, and The Fighter all making a lot of money.....

Jan 23 - 07:07 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

We know what you meant....in fact, the only way you'd get confused was if you didn't bother to read the article.

Jan 23 - 08:08 PM

DKUK

Derrick Wong

That's just funny....

Jan 24 - 04:41 AM

JC Martel

JC Martel

Sneeked into Tron for free this week. Man I hate 3D ! Is it ever an annoying gimmick.

Jan 23 - 04:39 PM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

Yogi Bear is headed for $100M!?!

sweet jesus.

Jan 23 - 04:39 PM

Isaac

Isaac H

Disappointed for The Green Hornet. It deserved better last weekend, as well as this weekend. The reviews may not have been glowing, but it sure is great fun, and Seth Rogen proved that he can do anything. No Strings Attached looked decent, but I won't be seeing it thanks to the poor reviews. It seems strange that Portman's two top 10 films are an Oscar hopeful disturbing ballet thriller and a badly-reviewed romantic comedy...
I'm hoping The Social Network can get some more audience into the theater before Oscar night. That's my Best Picture hopeful, alongside Inception, but I don't see that happening. Anyone else have hopes for the Oscars?

Jan 23 - 04:46 PM

Hunter V.

Hunter Vallot

I with you, I want to see The Social Network take best picture.

Jan 23 - 05:14 PM

George Patchell

George Patchell

Yeah me too. I think the Best Picture Noms will be:

The Social Network
True Grit
The King's Speech
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
Toy Story 3
The Town
The Kids Are All Right OR 127 Hours
Winter's Bone

And if I had my choice it would be The Social Network with The Town as a close second. I know a lot of people think The Town isn't a serious contender and I know it has no chance but I really loved it. Also loved The King's Speech, that would probably be my third choice. Inception was great but it's got next to no chance. I saw The Fighter today and it was a great film, but it will only win Supporting Acting awards, probably both, but Leo will get it not Adams. Sure Adams is good but Leo had the more dramatic role. An animated film aint gonna win against this competitions, and as much as I loved Toy Story 3, it still wasn't as good as Social or half the films that will inevitably be nominated (still a brilliant film though). Winter's Bone was unusual and not really what I was expecting, and while it wasn't as thrilling or as emotionally powerful as many of the other films, it was certainly unique and wouldn't be surprised if Granik got a Best Director Nom, but I imagine that will go to Aronofsky instead.

I'm gonna check out Black Swan and True Grit on Thursday, probably hire The Kids Are All Right tomorrow, that just leaves 127 Hours, but I have a feeling it will get left out like Blue Valentine.

Jan 24 - 02:05 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

For me it was Black Swan and True Grit as total best pictures. Thought The Social Network had better writing, but came up short on the acting, cinematography and engrossing story front. At least compared to the other two I mentioned.

Jan 24 - 08:50 AM

Hunter V.

Hunter Vallot

I with you, I want to see The Social Network take best picture.

Jan 23 - 05:14 PM

Cory

Cory B

Probably gonna check out Green Hornet some time this week.

In other news, how about those Packers? lol

Jan 23 - 05:40 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

They beat my Falcons, but I'll be pulling for them against the Steelers for darn sure.

Jan 23 - 08:44 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

PACKERS!!! Going to the Super Bowl! YEAH!

Jan 24 - 03:07 AM

Thats No MooN

joshua zimmer

me too go pack go

Jan 24 - 06:45 AM

Brian P.

Brian Peek

packers will get destroyed...inb4 shitstorm

Jan 24 - 07:57 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

*raises middle finger*

Jan 24 - 08:26 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

I originally predicted Packers 27 Bears 30 in OT in the Conference Championship game, predicted after the regular season concluded. I revised my pick last week to say 1) the Bears would lose the game 2) on an interception that was 3) thrown by Jay Cutler. I ended up being 2/3 correct. :(

Jan 24 - 08:43 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

How is it that the yahoos of GB get Brett Farve for so many years, and now has Aaron Rodgers for years to come... and yet my beloved Bears have a list of shitty QBs a mile long who are so bad, that it makes me miss Kyle Orton. How does that happen???

Jan 24 - 08:48 AM

Cory

Cory B

Elementary, dear Bears fan. The difference is management. Ted Thompson planned very carefully for Favre's departure, so when it finally happened the transfer to Rodgers almost felt well-rehearsed and methodical. It helps that the Packers have four wide receivers who would start for the Bears (Jennings, Driver, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson).

The Bears, meanwhile, have never had it all come together, and I think management is partially to blame. When they have the good QB, they don't have the talent around him to make the offense work. When they have the skill position guys, the QB they have isn't up to the task. Cutler SHOULD be a great QB for the Bears, but look at what he's working with. Rodgers has Jennings and Driver, and next year he'll get Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley back. Cutler's best receiving options are Johnny Knox and his running back, Matt Forte. The difference is pretty clear.

Jan 24 - 08:21 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

I have yet to see Tron: Legacy or Green Hornet. Despite the reviews, are those worth seeing in the theater, or wait for rental? I'm hearing very mixed reviews.
Same question for True Grit. Is that something worth seeing in the theater? Or should I wait for home viewing?

Jan 23 - 06:13 PM

Cory

Cory B

True Grit is definitely worth a trip to the theater, it's in my top five for 2010. As for Tron: Legacy, I'd say see it in theaters if you're interested. The fancy light/sound show is best enjoyed in a theater, I have a feeling it would be a letdown just watching it on a TV.

Jan 23 - 06:55 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Without spoiling anything, how "gritty" is True Grit. Or does it feel like a light-hearted Western for young adults and/or teens?

And, about Tron, I've heard that it starts out with a great action sequence, and nothing that comes later rivals it. Would you say that's true? And is the movie as bad/disappointing as many people say?

Jan 23 - 07:42 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Jesus Christ, go watch the fucking movie, it's not like you're jumping off a cliff into the watery, and potentially rocky, depths below - it's 10 bucks, dude.

Jan 23 - 07:55 PM

Cory

Cory B

I'd say Tron Legacy wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't worth all the hype. And True Grit for me felt a lot like the 3:10 to Yuma remake, only with a little less salty language (which is what got 3:10 the R rating).

Jan 23 - 09:57 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Thanks Cory B. for the tips. If I do hit the theaters, I'll likely see True Grit.

Jan 24 - 08:37 AM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

I thought True Grit was fantastic. Definitely catch it in the theater. Westerns aren't my cup-o-tea but I enjoyed it. And it has a nice mix of humor and dark elements, though not as dark as No Country. Tron, well, that's a mixed bag. I saw it in IMAX and as a movie with visuals and sound it blew me away. The movie itself, though, was quite underwhelming. Great theater experience. Not so great movie. Hope that helps.

Jan 24 - 10:51 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Thanks dj Mark. It's been awhile since I've seen a worthy Western at the theater, so I'm leaning toward seeing True Grit. Everything else out there seems like cases of "been there, seen that." I also like verbal play between characters, and True Grit seems to have that.
I would only see Tron Legacy if I'm in the mood for cool visuals. It's really too bad the makers of Legacy couldn't give it a script and acting to match the visuals. I'm really getting frustrated with the lazy, "hey, let's put all our eggs in the CGI basket" type of moviemaking.

Jan 24 - 04:57 PM

sunBAKED

J Margo

I saw True Grit in Theaters and I'd reccomend seeing it at home with subtitles because Jeff Bridges was damn hard to understand.

Jan 29 - 09:42 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Pity that that shitfest with Kutcher and Portman took in so much money. What is it with women and shit movies?

Jan 23 - 06:18 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

let's not forget the shit music.

Jan 23 - 10:19 PM

Arekusandora

Alexandra Borrero

Don't ask me. I'm glad I don't watch those kinds of movies...

Jan 24 - 05:05 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

God, don't let this get Ashton Kutcher another movie. He really needs to stop being in stuff.

Jan 24 - 08:52 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

They should give him the lead in a snuff movie.
I'd watch him get killed.

Jan 24 - 11:07 AM

Sean Y.

Sean Y.

When is No Strings Attached going to have a Critics' Consensus? It has 89 reviews.

Jan 23 - 06:33 PM

Sean Y.

Sean Y.

... and now it does.

Jan 23 - 07:15 PM

Draic K.

Draic Kin

Truly a sad day when crap like 'No Strings Attached', 'Green Hornet' and 'The Dilemma' are considered to be 'quality cinema'

Jan 23 - 06:40 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Uh..... I was talking about True Grit, Black Swan, King's Speech, and The Fighter all making a lot of money.....

Jan 23 - 07:07 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

We know what you meant....in fact, the only way you'd get confused was if you didn't bother to read the article.

Jan 23 - 08:08 PM

DKUK

Derrick Wong

That's just funny....

Jan 24 - 04:41 AM

Cory

Cory B

True Grit is definitely worth a trip to the theater, it's in my top five for 2010. As for Tron: Legacy, I'd say see it in theaters if you're interested. The fancy light/sound show is best enjoyed in a theater, I have a feeling it would be a letdown just watching it on a TV.

Jan 23 - 06:55 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Without spoiling anything, how "gritty" is True Grit. Or does it feel like a light-hearted Western for young adults and/or teens?

And, about Tron, I've heard that it starts out with a great action sequence, and nothing that comes later rivals it. Would you say that's true? And is the movie as bad/disappointing as many people say?

Jan 23 - 07:42 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Jesus Christ, go watch the fucking movie, it's not like you're jumping off a cliff into the watery, and potentially rocky, depths below - it's 10 bucks, dude.

Jan 23 - 07:55 PM

Cory

Cory B

I'd say Tron Legacy wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't worth all the hype. And True Grit for me felt a lot like the 3:10 to Yuma remake, only with a little less salty language (which is what got 3:10 the R rating).

Jan 23 - 09:57 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Thanks Cory B. for the tips. If I do hit the theaters, I'll likely see True Grit.

Jan 24 - 08:37 AM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

I thought True Grit was fantastic. Definitely catch it in the theater. Westerns aren't my cup-o-tea but I enjoyed it. And it has a nice mix of humor and dark elements, though not as dark as No Country. Tron, well, that's a mixed bag. I saw it in IMAX and as a movie with visuals and sound it blew me away. The movie itself, though, was quite underwhelming. Great theater experience. Not so great movie. Hope that helps.

Jan 24 - 10:51 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Thanks dj Mark. It's been awhile since I've seen a worthy Western at the theater, so I'm leaning toward seeing True Grit. Everything else out there seems like cases of "been there, seen that." I also like verbal play between characters, and True Grit seems to have that.
I would only see Tron Legacy if I'm in the mood for cool visuals. It's really too bad the makers of Legacy couldn't give it a script and acting to match the visuals. I'm really getting frustrated with the lazy, "hey, let's put all our eggs in the CGI basket" type of moviemaking.

Jan 24 - 04:57 PM

sunBAKED

J Margo

I saw True Grit in Theaters and I'd reccomend seeing it at home with subtitles because Jeff Bridges was damn hard to understand.

Jan 29 - 09:42 PM

The Dude

Gene Arnold

Well, The Green Hornet deserves better man. It was a hilarious fun movie that is better than any January released movie now. At least the Oscar hopefuls (The King's Speech, True Grit, The Fighter, and Black Swan) are doing better man. The Dude is looking forward to nothing this upcoming weekend.

Jan 23 - 07:06 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Uh..... I was talking about True Grit, Black Swan, King's Speech, and The Fighter all making a lot of money.....

Jan 23 - 07:07 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

We know what you meant....in fact, the only way you'd get confused was if you didn't bother to read the article.

Jan 23 - 08:08 PM

DKUK

Derrick Wong

That's just funny....

Jan 24 - 04:41 AM

Sean Y.

Sean Y.

... and now it does.

Jan 23 - 07:15 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Without spoiling anything, how "gritty" is True Grit. Or does it feel like a light-hearted Western for young adults and/or teens?

And, about Tron, I've heard that it starts out with a great action sequence, and nothing that comes later rivals it. Would you say that's true? And is the movie as bad/disappointing as many people say?

Jan 23 - 07:42 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Jesus Christ, go watch the fucking movie, it's not like you're jumping off a cliff into the watery, and potentially rocky, depths below - it's 10 bucks, dude.

Jan 23 - 07:55 PM

Cory

Cory B

I'd say Tron Legacy wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't worth all the hype. And True Grit for me felt a lot like the 3:10 to Yuma remake, only with a little less salty language (which is what got 3:10 the R rating).

Jan 23 - 09:57 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Thanks Cory B. for the tips. If I do hit the theaters, I'll likely see True Grit.

Jan 24 - 08:37 AM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

I thought True Grit was fantastic. Definitely catch it in the theater. Westerns aren't my cup-o-tea but I enjoyed it. And it has a nice mix of humor and dark elements, though not as dark as No Country. Tron, well, that's a mixed bag. I saw it in IMAX and as a movie with visuals and sound it blew me away. The movie itself, though, was quite underwhelming. Great theater experience. Not so great movie. Hope that helps.

Jan 24 - 10:51 AM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Thanks dj Mark. It's been awhile since I've seen a worthy Western at the theater, so I'm leaning toward seeing True Grit. Everything else out there seems like cases of "been there, seen that." I also like verbal play between characters, and True Grit seems to have that.
I would only see Tron Legacy if I'm in the mood for cool visuals. It's really too bad the makers of Legacy couldn't give it a script and acting to match the visuals. I'm really getting frustrated with the lazy, "hey, let's put all our eggs in the CGI basket" type of moviemaking.

Jan 24 - 04:57 PM

sunBAKED

J Margo

I saw True Grit in Theaters and I'd reccomend seeing it at home with subtitles because Jeff Bridges was damn hard to understand.

Jan 29 - 09:42 PM

The.Watcher

The Watcher

Jesus Christ, go watch the fucking movie, it's not like you're jumping off a cliff into the watery, and potentially rocky, depths below - it's 10 bucks, dude.

Jan 23 - 07:55 PM

doomzdavo

Doomz Davo

Shit weekend at the movies.

Jan 23 - 07:58 PM

Murdoch

Murdoch +

We know what you meant....in fact, the only way you'd get confused was if you didn't bother to read the article.

Jan 23 - 08:08 PM

Corey B.

Corey Beliles

I saw True Grit again this weekend, and I must say I almost completely misjudged it the first time I saw it. The first time, I thought it was really boring, the dialogue dull and inconsequential, the acting merely decent, besides Hailee Steinfield, and the lack of Josh Brolin brought me down. Then when I saw it this weekend, all of those thoughts and feelings were reversed and I thought it was an astonishing and wonderful movie. I was completely absorbed in the story and the characters, the excellent performances from the entire cast and the cinematography, music, and production design. I am definitely glad I gave it another shot and hopefully it will get Best Picture nominated, among other things.

Jan 23 - 08:29 PM

JC Martel

JC Martel

That little girl is like a smart ass Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. Her dialogue and the way she delivers it is very entertaining.

Jan 23 - 10:48 PM

Corey B.

Corey Beliles

Yeah she's gonna be a star. I hope she will be at least.

Jan 24 - 09:54 AM

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