Box Office Guru Wrapup: Real Steel Holds Off Footloose

Also, The Thing takes third, and Ides drops to fourth.

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This weekend, the worldwide protests against remakes came out in full force as the robot boxers of Real Steel squeaked out a victory over the 80s remakes of Footloose and The Thing, while the weekend's other new release The Big Year crashed and burned. Overall the box office dropped nearly 37% from last year.

Holding on for a second straight weekend at the top of the charts was the Hugh Jackman robot boxing family drama Real Steel which fell a respectable 40% from last weekend to an estimated $16.3M, bringing its total to $51.7M. With two more weeks before Puss in Boots comes gunning for the family audience, a final in the $90-100M range is likely, with that century mark a definite possibility.

The heavily hyped remake Footloose landed in second place this weekend with an estimated $16.1M from 3,549 dance halls, for a per screen average of a so-so $4,536. The film opened at #1 on Friday, but lost steam as the weekend went along and families came out to see Real Steel, which was #1 on Saturday and Sunday. With a CinemaScore of an astounding A, it seems the people who actually went out to see Footloose really liked it, but getting past the stigma of remaking a beloved 80s classic was apparently a bit too much to overcome for Paramount.

Another 80s remake landed with a thud in third place as Universal's horror flick The Thing grossed an estimated $8.7M from 2,996 screens, for a per screen average of a very sad $2,904. Other horror remakes have done reasonably well with tremendously front-loaded opening weekends before falling apart (Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street to name a couple) but it seems the name recognition of The Thing didn't have quite the cache of the others. With a CinemaScore of a B-, expect The Thing to see a quick trip to DVD.

Holdovers took the next five spots on the charts, each falling less than 31% from last weekend. Fourth place belonged to George Clooney with his political thriller The Ides of March which dropped a slim 28% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.5M, bringing its cume to $22M. A final in the $50M range seems likely unless it manages to pick up a bunch of year-end awards, at which point the idea of a re-release (or re-expansion) seems likely to happen, which could push its total higher. Fifth place went to the dolphin tale Dolphin Tale, which took in an estimated $6.3M bringing its total to $58.7M. And the film it's been running neck and neck with since their openings last month came in close behind in sixth as Moneyball took in $5.5M, according to estimates, seeing its total rise to $57.7M

Two tales of courage took seventh and eighth this weekend. The cancer dramedy 50/50 had the lowest drop in the top 10, falling only 23.7% to an estimated $4.3M, bringing its cume to $24.3M. And the religious-themed Courageous held on well in its third weekend, falling 30% to an estimated $3.4M, bringing its total to $21.4M for distributor Sony.

We had to take out a pair of binoculars to see the Steve Martin/Owen Wilson/Jack Black comedy The Big Year on the charts, but there it is, tucked into 9th place this weekend with an estimated $3.3M from 2,150 screens, for a dismal per screen average of $1,547. With a CinemaScore of a B- this is another film that won't last very long in theaters. Apparently it's not just sequels and remakes that people are protesting against. Rounding out the top 10 was the animated mega-hit The Lion King which roared its way to an estimated $2.7M in the 5th weekend of its 2-week limited release. Its total for the re-release is $90M, with its overall total now at $419M, putting it at #9 on the all-time blockbuster list, just ahead of Disney stablemate Toy Story 3 ($415M in 2010) and just behind yet another Disney film, 2006's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($423.3M).

Outside of the top 10, Sony Picture Classics had a limited release for the Pedro Almodovar thriller The Skin I Live In starring Antonio Banderas. Released on only 6 screens, the film grossed an estimated $231,000 for a scorching per screen average of $38,500.

The top ten films grossed $74.2M which was down 36.6% from last year when Jackass 3D opened in the top spot with a new October record of $50.4M; and down 40.5% from 2009 when Where the Wild Things Are debuted at number one with $32.7M.

Compared to projections, Footloose, The Thing and The Big Year all debuted below Gitesh's respective predictions of $20M, $13M and $6M.

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