This weekend, wizard fans united and sent the much-hyped fantasy sequel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 soaring to the number one spot with a massive opening weekend of $125.1M, according to estimates, making it the highest-grossing debut ever in the seven-film series. Launching ultrawide in 4,125 theaters, including a record 239 IMAX locations, the dark PG-13 adventure averaged a sensational $30,332 per site and ranks as the sixth best opening weekend of all-time behind The Dark Knight ($158.4M), Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M), The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.8M), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($135.6M), and this year's Iron Man 2 ($128.1M).
This weekend Will Ferrell's cartoon creation Megamind enjoyed supreme rule over the North American box office for a second consecutive frame as the DreamWorks Animation hit grossed an estimated $30.1M to retain the number one spot. Dropping only 35%, the PG-rated 3D flick held up very well with paying audiences almost matching the 33% sophomore dip witnessed by the company's 2007 toon Bee Movie from this same weekend. That Jerry Seinfeld pic collected 57% of its $126.6M final in the first ten days. If Megamind follows the same November-December pattern, it should end up with over $150M domestically and certainly a ton more overseas. The blue villain also had a much smaller second weekend drop than Monsters vs. Aliens which fell 45% so the animation studio must be happy with the staying power.
The holiday movie season started off with a bang as three new releases pumped in over $100M in ticket sales allowing the top ten to surge to its highest level since July. Leading the charge was the animated comedy Megamind which didn't have a mega opening, but still delivered a solid debut at number one. Premiering in second place with strength was the R-rated comedy Due Date while the Tyler Perry film For Colored Girls enjoyed a sturdy debut of its own in third place.
The horror sequel Saw 3D became the fourth installment in the seven-film series to debut at number one and led a busy Halloween weekend at the North American box office. With no other movies opening in wide release, most holdovers in the top ten remained strong with three enjoying drops of less than 30%. The top ten generated the best showing over the Halloween or pre-Halloween frame in six years thanks in part to a pair of 3D sequels in the top five charging higher ticket prices.
Moviegoers were in the mood for a good scare as the supernatural thriller Paranormal Activity 2 topped the North American box office beating out high expectations and generated the biggest opening ever for a horror film in the Halloween month of October. Paramount captured the top two spots as its other fall sequel Jackass 3D fell sharply from its opening last weekend but still kept bringing in the cash with a strong second place finish. The studio's dynamic duo accounted for half of all ticket sales for the Top 20. Clint Eastwood's Hereafter enjoyed a moderate debut in fourth place as it went nationwide while most holdovers remained solid with declines of less than 35%.
This weekend proved once again that film audiences enjoy the lowest common denominator, as Jackass 3D destroyed the rest of the box office this weekend, setting a new record for the month of October, while fellow newcomer Red also posted a positive result.
Strong word-of-mouth allowed The Social Network to remain at number one at the North American box office and beat out three new releases. The Katherine Heigl comedy Life As We Know It and the Diane Lane drama Secretariat both scored decent debuts but neither was big enough to unseat the buzzworthy Facebook film which enjoyed the smallest second weekend drop of any film opening at number one this year. More bad news for Universal and the 3D movement came from the poor performance of the horror film My Soul to Take which barely debuted in the top five. Overall the marketplace was sluggish with the Top 20 taking in just $88M for a double-digit fall compared to last year.
Following weeks of tremendous buzz and critical raves, Sony's The Social Network led the box office this weekend bringing in an estimated $23M from 2,771 screens for a per screen average of $8,300. The film, which follows the creation of the popular social networking site Facebook through the eyes of those involved, has gotten some of the loudest buzz of any movie of 2010. Already considered an early front-runner in the Oscar race, the tale of Mark Zuckerberg and company opened with around the same numbers as other adult films released this same time of year. Just a few weeks ago The Town opened with $23.8M and an almost identical per screen average. And four years ago another early Oscar heavyweight, The Departed, opened the first weekend of October to $26.9M on its way to a total gross of $132.4M and of course, a Best Picture win. Exit surveys for The Social Network showed the audience was 53% female and 55% were over the age of 25. A solid B+ from Cinemascore shows that so far audiences are enjoying what they're seeing, but only time will tell if the movie can carry this momentum throughout the rest of the year.
This weekend, Michael Douglas and director Oliver Stone reteamed for the financial crisis drama Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and scored the best openings of their careers with an estimated $19M topping a sluggish box office that saw the top ten fail to break $90M for the fifth consecutive weekend. The PG-13 film marking the return of corporate raider Gordon Gekko (a role that won Douglas the Best Actor Oscar) averaged a decent $5,330 from 3,565 theaters for Fox. Stone's previous best opening was $18.7M for World Trade Center which bowed on a Wednesday in August 2006 while Douglas beat his previous high (in a lead role) of $17.1M for the kidnapping thriller Don't Say A Word which bowed this very weekend in 2001 when it led a box office resurgence just weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
This weekend, moviegoers listened to film critics as the acclaimed new releases The Town starring Ben Affleck and Easy A with Emma Stone debuted in the top two spots with strong ticket sales by appealing to older men and younger women, respectively. Meanwhile, the new Hollywood offerings with bad reviews - the horror pic Devil and the 3D animated film Alpha and Omega - struggled to find ticket buyers over what was a relatively active weekend for mid-September.
The 3D zombie sequel Resident Evil: Afterlife easily topped the North American box office on its opening frame leading a sluggish marketplace that delivered the worst ticket sales in over two years. Grossing more than the next six films combined, the R-rated action pic from Sony's Screen Gems unit debuted to an estimated $27.7M helped, of course, by 3D surcharges. The fourth in the successful line of Milla Jovovich films averaged a muscular $8,648 from 3,203 theaters outgunning the $23.7M of the last film in the series, 2007's Resident Evil: Extinction, which was the previous franchise high. Admissions remained mostly the same with just over three million tickets sold.
This weekend, the summer movie season closed quietly as the top ten slumped to its worst performance of 2010 with audiences finding other ways to spend their Labor Day holiday weekend. Two of the three new releases - George Clooney's assassin pic The American and Robert Rodriguez's violent revenge actioner Machete - met with moderate bows while Drew Barrymore's romantic comedy Going the Distance failed to attract business. The top ten films tumbled to less than $75M (over the Friday-to-Sunday period) making for the lowest performance in nearly one year giving the marketplace very little momentum going into the fall season.
This weekend, the summer movie season saw its first - and last - horror title to debut at number one with the devilish thriller The Last Exorcism which edged out an equally impressive debut by the heist thriller Takers which enjoyed a solid bow of its own in second place while playing in fewer theaters. With a razor-thin $300,000 margin between the two, rankings could change on Monday when final grosses are counted. Characteristic of the final weekend of August, box office sales slumped to their worst level of the entire summer with the top ten failing to break the $100M mark - and even the $90M mark - for the first time all season.
In a battle of the sexes, Sylvester Stallone's testosterone-filled action flick opened impressively at number one beating out the Julia Roberts globe-trotting drama which enjoyed a solid debut of its own in the number two spot. The teen offering flopped landing in fifth place in its first weekend of release while the overall marketplace was up versus last year despite being the first frame since October to not have any 3D movies in the Top Five.
Moviegoers were in the mood for a laugh as the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg action-comedy The Other Guys debuted at number one ending the three-week run at the top of the popular crime thriller Inception which still attracted strong business in second place. The dance sequel Step Up 3D opened in third with the lowest debut of the series while the overall marketplace lagged behind year-ago levels.
Three new intruders couldn't keep fans away from Leonardo DiCaprio's hit thriller Inception which captured the number one spot in North America for the third straight time. Among new releases, the Steve Carell-Paul Rudd comedy Dinner for Schmucks delivered a good opening in the runnerup spot while the 3D family film Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and the teen melodrama Charlie St. Cloud both disappointed in their debuts. Christopher Nolan's mind games on moviegoers continued with Inception pulling in an estimated $27.5M in its third weekend to rule the box office once again. The Warner Bros. sensation dropped only 36% and boosted its 17-day total to a stellar $193.3M with the $200M barrier set to fall on Tuesday in its 19th day of release.
This weekend, Warner Bros. enjoyed a sensational second weekend for its sci-fi thriller Inception which capitalized on amazing buzz to remain the most popular film in North America. Angelina Jolie's new action pic Salt had to settle for second place but the spy thriller still generated a healthy opening. Like last weekend, funny films had the best holds while everything else dropped harder.
Moviegoers were in the mood for using their brains as the smart sci-fi thriller Inception debuted atop the North American box office chart while the generic effects-driven action pic The Sorcerer's Apprentice was utterly rejected stumbling into third place with a weak showing. Funny holdovers held up well while most others fell sharply as the overall marketplace remained strong. Following much anticipation, Warner Bros. unleashed its Leonardo DiCaprio-led crime thriller Inception and was met with a strong response from ticket buyers taking in an estimated $60.4M in its opening weekend. The studio released the Christopher Nolan-directed pic in 3,792 theaters including a record 197 IMAX sites and averaged a sizzling $15,928 per location.
This weekend, moviegoers flooded the multiplexes spending plenty of cash on a variety of movies led by the better-than-expected opening for the 3D animated comedy Despicable Me which easily took control of the number one spot. The sci-fi action pic Predators also debuted well taking third place while most holdovers showed considerable strength suffering only small declines. The top ten surged to its second best showing of the year with a powerful $191M in ticket sales.
Vampires and werewolves, and a certain mortal gal in between, ruled the Independence Day holiday frame as The Twilight Saga: Eclipse exploded with a massive top spot debut. Also generating muscular results by bringing a property with a large built-in fan base to the big screen was The Last Airbender which counter-programmed Bella and company by appealing to boys resulting in a strong finish in the runner-up spot despite some of the year's worst reviews. With Toy Story 3 still attracting large crowds, the overall marketplace swelled delivering spectacular results to kick off the second half of 2010.