Box Office Guru Wrap-Up: Audiences flock to Zombieland

Plus, the #2 spot stays Cloudy, and Whip It gets whipped.

This weekend Sony ruled the North American box office with an unlikely pair of hit comedies that led the way over a crowded frame that saw five films, each offering its share of laughs, shove their way into wide release. The violent horror-comedy Zombieland enjoyed a strong debut in first place bumping the studio's animated 3D pic Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs into second after two weeks on top. But some other studios collected a bit of cash too. Disney's double feature Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (3D) drew impressive numbers in third while Warner Bros. saw lackluster results for its Ricky Gervais comedy The Invention of Lying in fourth. Debuting less impressively were Drew Barrymore's roller derby flick Whip It and Michael Moore's documentary Capitalism: A Love Story which both tied for sixth.

Audiences didn't skip their latest chance to see characters find new ways to rid the world of the undead as Zombieland powered its way to an estimated $25M this weekend from 3,036 theaters for a muscular $8,235 average. The R-rated film starring Woody Harrelson ended a month-long streak of horror films failing miserably at the box office. In fact, Zombieland fared better than the openings of September's Pandorum, Jennifer's Body, White Out, and Sorority Row - combined.

The comical story of human survivors outsmarting an endless string of zombies appealed to moviegoers as did a quirky marketing campaign. Reviews were extraordinarily positive with many critics calling it the American answer to the British cult hit Shaun of the Dead. Studio research showed that the audience was 56% male and 58% under 25 which was not surprising for this type of pic. With a $24M budget, and early word-of-mouth being positive, Zombieland looks to become a moneymaker. In a business dominated by sequels and tentpoles, Sony has been on fire lately with a series of relatively low-cost hits including District 9, Julie & Julia, and The Ugly Truth.

After two weeks on top of the box office menu, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs slipped to second but only lost one-third of its business to gross an estimated $16.7M in its third course. The Sony hit toon suffered a decline that was twice as big as last weekend's when it dipped by a mere 17%. However, with Disney stealing away 3D screens and audience attention with Toy Story, the Meatballs drop was commendable. With a stellar cume of $82.4M in 17 days, Cloudy could still go on to reach $130-140M.

Families flocked to the three-hour double feature Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (3D) spending an estimated $12.5M to see a pair of films that have been available on video for years. The Disney stunt generated a strong $7,163 average from 1,745 digital 3D locations as the studio successfully hyped up the event nature of the release. In addition to the 3D upgrade, moviegoers got two modern classics for the price of one and enjoyed a preview of next summer's Toy Story 3 in the middle. Disney promoted this as a two-week-only event so moviegoers responded to the limited time offer. The performance was impressive given the staying power of the new 3D hit Meatballs which is playing to the exact same audience.

Ricky Gervais saw good news and bad news this weekend with his latest comedy opening better than his last, but still not putting much of a dent into the overall box office. The well-reviewed The Invention of Lying bowed to an estimated $7.4M from 1,707 playdates for a mediocre $4,306 average. Compared to last fall's Ghost Town which debuted to only $5M, Lying's weekend was 47% better and its average was up 29%. But the tale of the first man in history who learns how to lie showed once again that Gervais, though highly respected, is still no bankable star at the multiplexes on this side of the Atlantic. Lying also launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland this weekend with preliminary estimates showing it in a two-way race for first place with Fame.

Fifth place was claimed by Bruce Willis and android Bruce Willis who joined forces in the sci-fi pic Surrogates which fell 51% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.3M. After ten days, the Buena Vista release has grossed a disappointing $26.4M and seems headed for a $40-45M final. The action film cost $80M to produce.

Two new wide openers tied for sixth place with an estimated $4.9M each. Drew Barrymore's directorial debut Whip It didn't whip up too much excitement averaging a mild $2,820 from 1,720 sites. The roller derby pic was released by Fox Searchlight and garnered strong reviews. Also faring well with critics but not paying moviegoers was Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story which expanded nationally after a sizzling limited bow last week. The filmmaker's latest doc averaged $5,042 from 962 theaters seeing just moderate results that did not match up to Moore's previous hits. 2007's Sicko also expanded wide in the second weekend and grossed a similar $4.5M but from a more narrow release in 441 locations for a solid $10,208 average. Capitalism may have gone too wide, too fast. Cume is $5.3M.

MGM's dance remake Fame stumbled 53% in its second weekend grossing an estimated $4.8M. The $18M-budgeted film has grossed $16.6M in ten days and should end its run with roughly $25M. Matt Damon followed with The Informant! which collected an estimated $3.8M, off 43%, for a $26.6M total for Warner Bros. Jennifer Aniston's Love Happens rounded out the top ten dipping 36% to an estimated $2.8M giving Universal a weak $18.9M to date.

In limited release, Paramount saw sensational results for its unorthodox release of the no-budget horror film Paranormal Activity which is only playing midnight shows in selected theaters. The Slamdance hit sold out every one of those showings grossing an estimated $535,000 from only 33 locations for an amazing $16,212 average. Paramount will expand on Friday to over 40 cities with theaters playing the film throughout the day with normal showtimes in hopes of a bigger breakout hit in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $89.9M which was off 1% from last year when Beverly Hills Chihuahua opened in the top spot with $29.3M; but up a healthy 42% from 2007 when The Game Plan remained at number one with $16.6M.

Comments

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philipiah

cool

Oct 4 - 04:51 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Not really homeskillet. Michael Moore flopped. And while I have issues with the filmaker, I still wish the best for his films. At least "Zombieland" and "Toy Story" did good.

Oct 4 - 05:01 PM

Battle Pancake

Justin Muldowney

A documentary placing sixth in the box office =/= bombing.

Oct 4 - 09:44 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Not really homeskillet. Michael Moore flopped. And while I have issues with the filmaker, I still wish the best for his films. At least "Zombieland" and "Toy Story" did good.

I have to double post now.

Oct 4 - 05:06 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Not really homeskillet. Michael Moore flopped. And while I have issues with the filmaker, I still wish the best for his films. At least "Zombieland" and "Toy Story" did good.

Oct 4 - 05:01 PM

Battle Pancake

Justin Muldowney

A documentary placing sixth in the box office =/= bombing.

Oct 4 - 09:44 PM

thedownstar

ryan brown

A very stellar weekend for new movies; wish that the "Invention of Lying" did better, but glad that all of the new releases were in the top 10. We need more of these weekends in the Fall, bravo to quality!

Oct 4 - 05:03 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Not really homeskillet. Michael Moore flopped. And while I have issues with the filmaker, I still wish the best for his films. At least "Zombieland" and "Toy Story" did good.

I have to double post now.

Oct 4 - 05:06 PM

gizgoo

anthony rod

Zombieland was awesome, that and Inglorious Basterds were the most fun I had at the movies all year. It also had maybe the best cameo ive ever seen before in a movie, pure genious.

Oct 4 - 05:12 PM

TheCriticAlex

Stanley Beans

Well im glad Zombieland was number one cause it was a fun and entertaining movie to watch in theaters ,and this movie makes me want to buy a box of twinkies!

Oct 4 - 05:19 PM

Daniel W.

Daniel Wolf

There was not a Toy Story 3 preview between the two Toy Story movies, instead it was a quiz type of countdown. The Toy Story 3 preview was a trailer. The person who wrote this article obviously did not attend the double feature or did he/she do the proper research before writing it.

Oct 4 - 05:36 PM

Cutler to the rescue

Ted kruts

Glad people did not give that fat pile of crap Micheal Moore their money, burn baby burn, EPIC FAILURE

Go see I hope they serve beer in hell, really funny and if you went to college you would know why.

Oct 4 - 05:50 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Captain, it is you. I needed more solid evidence before, but I have it. Hating on Michael Moore, with a weak argument. Classic.

And you liked "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell"? Yeah, I read the book and hated it. So I'd rather have my feet torn off and then eat them than see the film. And now I'm worried about how many people you raped in Colloege, if you relate the film to College.

Oct 4 - 06:12 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Captain, it is you. I needed more solid evidence before, but I have it. Hating on Michael Moore, with a weak argument. Classic.

And you liked "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell"? Yeah, I read the book and hated it. So I'd rather have my feet torn off and then eat them than see the film. And now I'm worried about how many people you raped in Colloege, if you relate the film to College.

Oct 4 - 06:12 PM

Jack Waters

zachary leeman

I saw Zombieland this weekend and was really bored the whole way through. Everything seemed funny in concept, but in execution...I don't know. Just wasn't my cup of tea. But those I went with and the rest of the theater loved it...so no suprise there. I'm also glad to see Surrogates didn't entirely fail in its second weekend(at least it beat the fat naive demon they call Michael Moore). It's a strong sci-fi flick. I'm gonna get the graphic novel this week as soon as I finish Nick Cave's novel(great btw). And btw, I realize these statements put me in the minority, but I'm just trying to be honest.

Oct 4 - 06:16 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I love Nick Cave,
and THE PROPOSITION was amazing.

I need to go read that book. . .

Oct 4 - 06:21 PM

Jack Waters

zachary leeman

You should It's pretty great and I loved The Proposition too. It's called The Death of Bunny Munroe. Great read.

Oct 4 - 06:24 PM

Jack Waters

zachary leeman

You should It's pretty great and I loved The Proposition too. It's called The Death of Bunny Munroe. Great read.

Oct 4 - 06:24 PM

Cutler to the rescue

Ted kruts

Weak argument? You mean the fact the he smudges facts, attacks and ambushes people for interviews, edits out the parts where is he is wrong, and creates propaganda? And who is the captain?

Yeah name one time in the book where Tucker Max raped anyone? He is a douche, but he knows that he is a douche and he knows that he is going to hell so that is what makes it funny. He is basically saying dont be like me. His friends are classic and unlike frat boys he is smart. The film and the book is college to a T, if you think otherwise you went to BYU

Oct 4 - 07:06 PM

BCENS

B Cens

If you don't like what he says, do your research and disprove him. Be sure to list your sources. Otherwise, your post is merely your worthless opinion.

No one will change their mind about him solely because of your personal beliefs.

Oct 4 - 07:51 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Max has mentioned getting women intoxicated, and then sleeping with them. Rape is sexual intercourse without a person's consent. It's just not entertaining, and he should be put in jail. Yet, all he gets is a book published and a movie released. And raping women in college isn't something most guys do. Have sex? Sure, that starts in High School or sooner, but not rape, that's completely different. Although you could say BYU is almost as bad as rape, but that's beside the point.

As for Michael Moore, of course he "Ambushes" people, (interviews them is the right word), and he asks ACTUAL questions, that might be "Hot button issues". And you have no proof he edits parts where he's wrong, and he dosen't "Smudge" facts. Propaganda? Sure it is. But Uncle Sam is Propaganda incarnate, yet people say "He's America incarnate". Like I said in a previous thread or somethin', I find Michael Moore to be a hypocrite, but I still find his films to be entertaining.



Oct 4 - 08:06 PM

Andrew W.

Andrew Whitefield

A friend of mine got that book "...Beer in Hell", he thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. I read a few pages and thought it was pathetic. It worries me how Hollywood rewards bad behavior. I accused my friend of having really bad taste in his entertainment choices.

Oct 5 - 08:19 AM

Almost.Famous

adam ramberg

Can someone tell me why people care so much about a movies grosses. I mean its not their money?

Quite hypocritical of myself though since I usually read these articals

Oct 4 - 07:35 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

The problem Toy Story and Toy Story 2 faced was the double feature, which means only half the available showings as Meatballs. I'll be seeing the two tomorrow. But I did notice that Meatballs has six showings while Toy Story 1/2 only have three. I doubt the movies are going to make a whole lot of money, but I doubt they really need it.

My friend and his girlfriend (that in itself is a miracle if you knew him) saw Zombieland and loved it. If I wasn't so afraid of zombies and couldn't stand zombie movies I'd go see it.

I'll try to see Capitalism next week. I find all of Moore's movies entertaining at the very least, and usually thought provoking.

I haven't seen Ghost Town or Lying but I like Ricky Gervais' comedy act. He's like Dane Cook and Kevin James, funny but needs the proper movie.

Oct 4 - 07:48 PM

BCENS

B Cens

If you don't like what he says, do your research and disprove him. Be sure to list your sources. Otherwise, your post is merely your worthless opinion.

No one will change their mind about him solely because of your personal beliefs.

Oct 4 - 07:51 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Max has mentioned getting women intoxicated, and then sleeping with them. Rape is sexual intercourse without a person's consent. It's just not entertaining, and he should be put in jail. Yet, all he gets is a book published and a movie released. And raping women in college isn't something most guys do. Have sex? Sure, that starts in High School or sooner, but not rape, that's completely different. Although you could say BYU is almost as bad as rape, but that's beside the point.

As for Michael Moore, of course he "Ambushes" people, (interviews them is the right word), and he asks ACTUAL questions, that might be "Hot button issues". And you have no proof he edits parts where he's wrong, and he dosen't "Smudge" facts. Propaganda? Sure it is. But Uncle Sam is Propaganda incarnate, yet people say "He's America incarnate". Like I said in a previous thread or somethin', I find Michael Moore to be a hypocrite, but I still find his films to be entertaining.



Oct 4 - 08:06 PM

Andrew W.

Andrew Whitefield

A friend of mine got that book "...Beer in Hell", he thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. I read a few pages and thought it was pathetic. It worries me how Hollywood rewards bad behavior. I accused my friend of having really bad taste in his entertainment choices.

Oct 5 - 08:19 AM

Nick V.

Nick Vespe

The invention of lying was amazing!
Even though the 3D in toy story wasn't as good as meatballs, just about everything eles was, Toy Story 1 & 2 are simply stunning and you should see them next weekend for your last chance to see them in a theater.

Oct 4 - 08:39 PM

King Thor

Chris Kalmin

oh my...getting drunk and having sex is not rape. people do it all the time. and just because they are drunk doesn't mean they don't give consent. your anti-rape message (a good message) is being used against the wrong person.

I can't wait to see Zombieland...everything i've read and heard is very positive and sounds like an extremely fun movie.

Oct 4 - 08:44 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Getting drunk isn't. Getting someone else deunk, or drugged, is.

Oct 4 - 09:16 PM

Tlincali

A K

Taking advantage of someone while they are passed out is not consent. It's rape plain and simple. No gray area there...NONE.

Oct 5 - 04:03 AM

John R.

John Ryan

Getting someone else intoxicated drunk while not being as drunk yourself is rape.

Oct 5 - 06:48 AM

Jon C.

Jon Cox

great turnout this weekend!

Oct 4 - 08:45 PM

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